Friday 22 September 2017

Me vs Voluntarily Living Without Amenitites

Every summer, for most of my childhood, our family would go camping for two weeks in the Okanagan. As an adult, taking my family camping, I've come to realize that these were some of the most spectacularly organized camps of my life; really, of anyone's life. My mother is the most tidy, coordinated, and organized camper of all time.

Now I can also run a camping trip; I've been doing it my whole life. I've slept on the ground under a shitty tarp at a Guiding camp while bugs crawled across my not-sleeping face (don't do this, it's terrible, and I got zero actual sleep), to tenting in thunderstorms with racoons running black ops missions to gain access to your sleeping quarters (also terrible, also no sleep).  I've been trailer camping (Please don't mistake this with a large modern trailer; mine is very tiny and old, and a lot of things in it don't work), and I've been camping in the rain more times than I care to count. 

The current tiny trailer
I've gone on school camping trips with my very own cast of mean girls, one of whom forgot her sleeping bag. She thought I should share mine. I did not. She also didn't think that eating ketchup chips in the tent in a known and very active bear area was a problem. It turned out not to have been a problem that one night, but the risk alone! I kind of wished one had eaten her. She would have been so much better for it.

But at no time in my life would anyone ever accuse me of being half as organized a camper as my mom. It causes me an absurd amount of stress getting packed up; it takes me days to do, and I never forget less than 4 items. Two of which are generally critical (see below). 

And I've certainly never pulled off a two week trip to anywhere. The most I've managed is 10 days, and by the end we had devolved into eating out at least one meal a day because I couldn't get it together for long enough to coherently plan 3 complete meals. It almost resulted in a reenactment of Lord of the Flies.

And if only food disorganization was my greatest fail....

Two years ago we went camping with some people from work.  I'm confident this trip led to some concerns about my mental faculties, which were already up for debate based on an earlier instance where we'd shown up to a campfire party without shoes for our toddler.  (and while this has led to ongoing hassling, it did serve to keep an otherwise busy toddler confined to a chair so I always knew where he was...maybe less of a problem than originally thought, hmmmm)

I also have mad skills when it
comes to adding thumbs to pictures  
We pulled up with our tent trailer and parked beside their Taj Mahal-ish trailers (some size envy on my part), and reached for the crank to creakily, shakily raise the beast. Guess what we didn't have. Yeah. That.  So with otherwise no way to raise the trailer, Husband unhooked it, turned around, and drove back home to get the missing link.  

A few hours, and some harassment about our pathetic camping skills later, the trailer went up. In an effort to redeem myself with a gourmet meal (see here as an indication of my cooking skillz), I went inside to fill up a pot of water to get dinner going. It was at roughly this point I discovered that the antifreeze we put in to discourage the pipes from bursting, was now discouraging us from using the water.  I swear we cleaned that tank out multiple times before heading out, and yet the water was completely unusable. 

(Pro tip: even if you don't use the hot water in the trailer, the son of a bitch hot water tank will still fuck with your water supply and contaminate your regular tank. The more you know 🌠 )

In normal circumstances, no water would be fine. I've only had a trailer for a few years, and part of camping for me has always been lugging water jugs down to the faucet to fill up.  This, along with washing dishes, is why parents bring kids camping, right?  It's just part of their job description. Well, because we were in a forestry camp, there was no running water. We had to rely on the kindness of those around us for our water needs for the rest of the trip. I felt like Oliver Twist: Please sir, may I have some more?

This did very little to improve my standing as a competent camper.  Although at least this time I remembered shoes. 

So, before I ramble into the realm of TL;DR, I'll wrap this up saying that while I've done a lot of camping, my technique leaves a bit to be desired. I can promise that I will be sticking to the shorter camping trips until I've developed the necessary skill level required to attempt anything longer.  And so help me, I'll make sure to pack some
damn shoes. 

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