I’ve always wished I were more of a live-off-the-land ‘outdoorsy’ girl who wasn’t afraid of “roughing it” in the woods and create tasty meals over red hot coals. But a camper I am not!
No matter how old I was, where I camped, or how much padding was underneath me as I tried unsuccessfully to sleep under the stars, camping never found favor with my body. Long, restless nights of shifting around in my sleeping bag to find a more comfy position were the norm (think ‘rock bed’ and you get the idea). And, even though caffeine-free, my mind always got stuck in overdrive, straining to hear every hooting owl, buzzing bugs, croaking frogs, tree limbs rubbing together, or cars on a distant road. And, that rustling noise, could it be a snake, maybe? Did I ever sleep while camping? No. Never. I just envied everyone around me softly and blissfully snoring.
One short camping trip stands out in my mind. My husband and I, along with our oldest son, drove to northern Minnesota in our small truck. The camp location seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. We crossed a nearly dry creek, bumped over cut fields of hay, and finally bounced along to a very remote public camping area, which was empty except for us. It seemed kind of isolated and creepy to me, and it didn’t help that there were large (think giant) wood ticks crawling on the green canvas outside of our tent. No way could I rest and sleep with those creatures around! Mosquitoes, gnats and horseflies also paid us a visit. And houseflies love to taste food before campers eat it. All in all, it wasn’t a precious memory. (This was years ago, but if I recall correctly, I think we ended up staying in a motel for the night.)
Unlike me, my adventurous husband and sons are avid campers, and they make it look so easy. One plus about camping, though, is that my husband, the designated camp cook, would always cook bacon over an open fire. Nothing smells better on a summer day than bacon sizzling in a frying pan. And those roasted hot dogs, toasted marshmallows, and s’mores. Mmm! It seems the only thing about camping that I really enjoy is the campfire cooking that produces the most delicious foods.
I doubt that I’ll ever become a great camper. It might be worth it to try it again, though, especially when I think of those yummy goodies created by campfire cooking. And I’m getting older, so maybe my tired body will finally give in and get a restful night’s sleep, even on a sultry summer night.
Belle Plaine, Minnesota
Read more stories about summer activities in Stories of Camping Adventures.
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