Some of my coworkers are planning a camping trip to Moab over Memorial Day at the end of the month and have invited me to come along. At first thought it sounded like a blast: a chance to go to Arches again, get some sun, try not to come back looking like a lobster (you can get really sick of people trying to spread butter on you and crack open your shell), and jamming out to music road trip style. You know, the perfect summer vacation weekend trip. As I was contemplating again this morning the pros and cons of joining the trip, I realized something rather surprising:
I have only been "real" camping a handful of times and only twice that I can remember where it wasn't something church related where the leaders of my church group planned everything for us and supplied the important things like tents and marshmallows.
My family has never been the camping type or to be completely honest, the "let's-go-outside-in-the-mountains-and-have-family-bonding-experiences" type. For recreation we would rather go play a game of three on three basketball at the church (where my dad just stuffs everyone and we foul uncontrollably) or even better, watch BYU basketball on TV and dream about the Jimmer glory days.
We see hiking the "Y" in Provo as a challenge.
Going on a "bike ride" = a couple turns around the cul-de-sac.
Climbing is only mentioned when stairs are involved.
So what are the two camping experiences my family has had you might ask? Well, let me 'splain.
I honestly don't remember much of this experience. I was only 6 or 7 at the time, it was a ward camp-out, we probably ate some smores, pretty sure my mom didn't sleep at all, and I recall a lot of snoring. Not sure if the snoring was from my father or other ward members. Possibly both.
We also have some excellent home video footage of all of us wide awake in our tent at 11pm (my little brother and I can hardly hold in our excitement at the chance to sleep on cots, in a tent, in the mountains, which of course equals two wired children not even close to falling asleep), 1am (my little brother is asleep, I'm getting there and my mom has that "we are never doing this again" look in her eye and some awesome 80's inspired glasses adorning the look), and then somewhere around 3am (mom and dad are still awake, but to their relief I am sure, the kidos have drifted off to dreamland and my dad blinds my mom with the video camera light which results in much squinting and whispered complaints).
I guess my mom and dad either had some sort of out of body experience that made them forget how horrible the first camping experience was, or decided to give camping the benefit of the doubt and accept it's request of a second date--"everyone deserves a second chance"--because when ward camp-out time rolled around, we were packing our sleeping bags. I had my baby bags full of enough toys to entertain myself for months, let alone two days and one night, my childhood innocence having masked just how uncomfortable those cots really were.
I'm sure the majority of the first day went much like the year before: exploring, dinner, smores, campfire, bugs, bear sightings (I wish) and restless excitement when bedtime rolled around. There was also probably some snoring and blinding from the video camera lazer light.
But there was one difference: the rain.
And I'm not talking a soft sprinkling, I'm talking a wash-away-your-cat-down-the-gutter type of downpour. At one time in the past (stone age maybe?) our tent had been waterproofed, but needless to say any preemptive actions had long ago been washed away (pun intended). We didn't really understand just how bad the situation was until pools of rainwater started forming on top of our tent...and the dripping began. Then the rain came down and the floods came up and the bottom of our tent was starting to dampen our backsides. This was not good. In my 6 or 7 year old memories I imagine it looking something like this:
We waved goodbye to our tents, gunned the engine, and headed home in the downpour. I like to think that the other ward members woke up the next morning in their dry little tents and came out to see our abandoned campsite and panicked, thinking it must have been a bear attack that took us away. I mean, nothing else would make you leave a perfectly good campsite in the middle of the night, and abandon your tents right?
I guess my parents learned their lesson the second time because we have not joined in on a full fledged camping trip in the mountains ever since (at least that I can remember...my mom will probably remind me of some later that have been erased from my remembrance). I feel as if I can rightly blame my parents for my lack of interest and participation in anything that has to do with sleeping on the ground.
I guess you could call me deprived. But maybe I'm just lucky.