What I like about camping is you can get really dirty. Either you're all by yourself, so no one else sees you, or everyone you're with is just as dirty as you are, so nobody cares.
~Anonymous former Boy Scout
A few weeks ago we were camping at the Grand Tetons in a National Park campground with no electric/water/sewer hookups. We had a picnic table, a fire ring and a spot of dirt to park on. We were surrounded by trees and the smell of campfire and burning hotdogs. Since we had no water hookup we had to pack up our towel and shampoo and go down the street to the campground communal shower and pay to clean ourselves (which we hadn't done in three days). As we were headed back to our campsite my son was examining the campground and with a tone of envy announced that he "wanted to camp, too". Anybody see the irony in this? How do you explain to a four year old that he camps for a living?
Last week we were staying/living/camping in San Diego and once again we were surrounded by tents, campfires and hotdogs. Once again he announced that he wanted to "camp". As full-timers we typically cook "normal" meals in our "normal" kitchen, sit at the dinner table, say grace, eat and do the dishes... sans fire pit. We don't camp. Quite honestly, I don't even like the smell of campfire stinking up the house. However, since we are kindof on vacation right now we promised him an evening of stinky campfire, toasty hotdogs and burnt marshmallows.
It had previously rained but we had some wood that didn't seem TOO wet. We had a firestarter log but I didn't want to cook over the chemicals contained within. So we stacked the damp logs and pulled out some scrap paper and a cardboard beer carton and attempted to start our fire. We lit and blew and lit and blew and went inside for come more paper and lit and blew and lit and blew. We were sweating and choking, we stunk like campfire and we had exhausted our supply of scrap paper and had started burning the important stuff...but we were determined to give our son a camping experience. The fire gods finally shined down on us and we had a fire!! Then Caleb announced that he would really just rather eat his hotdog cold (cut up and with ketchup, please). However, like good parents, we stuck his hotdog on a stick and made him at least attempt to raost it!! And don't even get me started on the shopping trip we took just to buy marshmallows for him so he could gouge them in the fire and fling them just to watch them burn (which really was kind of fun for us all!)
To him we don't camp in our BigTruckNewHouse, we live. To him our life has wheels and our front yard changes....from the mountains to the the Pacific to a casino parking lot. To some our life would be an unbearably rustic experience but to him it is not even camping....and he wants to "camp".
I think this means he wants to sleep in a tent but it might just mean he wants to watch his parents huff and puff while he sits quietly and eats a cold hotdog. Brian has promised Caleb they will "camp" in a tent when we get to Grandma's. Have a campfire, get dirty, gaze at the stars, pee outside. He's very excited. I think I'll just stay inside the cozy, clean camper while the boys go outside and camp...and I'm betting I'll have a little warm body next to me before dawn...and I hope he smells like campfire and burnt marshmallows.