St. Petersburg Garden

St. Petersburg Garden

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Way Camping Should Be

I've always loved camping. Been doing it all my life. Literally. From the time I was a baby I've been hitting those woods. Sleeping bags, tents, firewood, roasting marshmallows over an open fire, yes, it's an old familiar feeling to me. I've always been a big fan. When I was growing up I couldn't wait to get out in those woods. The campsite we used to go to had so many things to do - even blueberry picking. That was one of my favorites. I love berry picking.

Even now when I smell wood burning the first thing I say is ooh it smells like camping. It's a great smell. It takes me back to good old Mongaup Pond in the Catskills of New York State. We used to go there every summer. Or at least it seemed that way. It was almost like a home away from home. The crisp, fresh air. The cool, clean lake. Relaxing in the hammock. That was good stuff. Until one day it all changed. Mosquitoes? Humidity? Sweat and dirt? Where the hell did all this come from? Where was the fun? Where was the relaxation and zen-like aura? Was this what camping was now all about? I think we might have a problem.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind getting a little dirty here and there. I like to play. I'm all for adventure. But I have to draw the line somewhere. At this stage in the game, do I really want to go on vacation and "rough it"? I don't think so. But I was willing to give it a try again. Last year we really did try to go camping. A new way. On the beach. We'd never been beach camping and we thought it might be fun. Apparently so did everyone else. All of the sites were booked. So we did what every normal person would do - we improvised and went camping in our backyard. It was a perfect plan really. We already had a fire pit. We had the s'mores and everyone knows that this is really the most important part to any camping adventure. We had the tent, the air mattress, our sleeping bags and we were all set. We got our pillows, put little Charlie Brown inside and we were all set. What could go wrong?

Apparently someone forgot to tell the flea that he was not invited. Damn. Just when you think you're safe from all the perils of regular camping, you can't even make it without a scratch from backyard camping. What had happened since I was younger? It was all so innocent and fun. I knew those days were over. We had to change our tactics if we ever wanted to use our tent again. We had to clean the sleeping bag and air out the tent well. All because of one uninvited guest. Charlie wasn't too happy either. He had to go to the doctor. It was his first camping experience and I'm pretty sure he was done with it. We packed up our equipment and were done with the tent.

Until one year later. An idea came to me. They generally do. I like to entertain myself. Sometimes others. But mostly I need to keep myself entertained so this is why I am always coming up with new things to do. This time it was camping. In the living room. Why not? Bug-free, heat-free and it was a nice change of pace. I told Mike my idea and we ran with it. He moved all of the furniture into the office and we set the tent up. Charlie wasn't happy at all. He remembered his nemesis. He could have done without the tent - inside or out. But hey, we were loving it.

It was perfect for a couch too. A couple of snack tray tables and we were good to go. I've decided that maybe this is the way to go - who says camping has to be in the woods? Camping is all in what you decide to make of it. I can camp out where ever I want. I used to love making tents in my room with my brother when I was little. Who says you have to stop? The only difference now is that we can use an actual tent in my room. Brilliant I say. Want s'mores? Just use that fire pit in the backyard. Same results, same smoky campfire smell. Then run back into your tent in the living room. With the air conditioner keeping you cool. Luxury camping. Now this is much more like it.

For an alternate ending and for different pictures, go to my other blog at:

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