Camping: the Good and the Bad

Hi. Just got back from Oregon mountain/river country. Here are some thoughts about the lovely thing that is camping.


Cooking: Sure, you can throw a can of baked beans on the coals and then later slurp it down, but I like to pack in a ton of reeeeally delicious food and then take my time preparing. Food is a huge comfort in the wilderness, especially if you’ve hiked to the point of physical exhaustion. Also, due to lack of TV and other time wasters, you have PLENTY of idle moments once camp is made to simmer up something good. It’s an art, cooking over the open fire or on a Coleman stove—learn it!


Campfires: The campfire is more than just a pile of incinerating wood. It’s warmth and comfort. It’s a gathering place for discourse and camaraderie. It’s a void where you can stare, solitarily, and contemplate what’s inside yourself.


Mornings: Mornings are my absolute favorite thing about camping, hands down. Waking up with the dawn, the way the forest smells all wet with dew, the richness and snap of hot camp coffee, a fire to fight off the chill, the sounds and smells of breakfast floating through the campground, the way the sun feels when it hits your back for the first time that day. Magic—all of it.



Sleeping: I usually spend the daytimes of camping trips in a haze of cottony sleep deprivation. This is because overnighting on an inch thick pad with nothing ‘tween you and the savage wilderness but a thin layer of ripstop nylon is, for a light sleeper like me, next to impossible. If you’re car camping, air mattresses are a go until they get a hole and then you wake up wedged in between gnarled tree roots and the heavy body of whoever you are sharing the tent with. Not fun.


Being Scared: Lance and I backpacked in a couple miles and set up camp. After dinner and fire, we were inside our sleeping bags tittering like chipmunks about stupid jokes when suddenly something whacked the side of the tent. I have no idea what it was—it sounded like a psycho killer had thwacked the tent with the dull end of his machete. We were both instantly and oddly terrified. And shining a dollar-store flashlight out into the pitch dark didn’t help—it just brought to mind desperate scenes from horror movies. Now, in the daylight, in the city, we can laugh about it—but at the time … pretty skeeeery.


Bathroom Things: Sure, guys can whip it out and take a leak wherever they want—and ultimately, it’s not so bad for us females to tip toe behind a tree and do the same. But when it comes to OTHER bathroom things that need to get done—things involving toilet paper and small, furtive holes being dug and then quickly filled back in with dirt and leaves—doing this in the outdoors just, well, sucks.