Friday, August 28, 2009

Camping

My parents next to our HILO trailer


My parents first introduced me to camping when I was one year old.
I do not remember the tent camping stage of that part of my childhood, but I do remember our old Starcraft pop up trailer. I had my own bunk and I couldn't touch the canvas if it was raining or I'd get wet. I loved my little corner of the trailer. We also had a screen house we would set up that would help to keep out the mosquitoes and rain- so we could have our meals in relative comfort. I loved the outdoor cooking, the smell of the meat on the grill, helping my mother shuck (sp) the corn..the campfire popcorn, marshmellows, sometimes strawberries and cream. I loved being outside in nature, the peace, the time to relax and read a book by a lake or river. I loved the nature walks and ampatheater shows/talks, and the new places we were able to explore. Hiking with my dad. Cooking with my mom. Occasionally, we would go camping with my father's parents. I remember exchanging stories with my grandmother as I helped her walk to the bathroom. (she was not very steady on her feet) I remember singing to her "who's afraid of the big bad wolf" (She was very patient and never seemed to mind) Sometimes I'd lie down beside her when she had to put eye medecine and wait for it to work into her eyes and we'd share stories again-episodes of the Waltons or Little House on the Prairie. I remember her telling me that she liked the earlier Walton episodes better before they started drinking. I remember clipping some of blond hair into her hair thinking it would make her gray/white hair change back into younger hair and this would make her reverse in age.




Each camping trip was an unique experience. Each was special in its own way and each had its challenges too. When I was about ten, we sold the Starcraft and my parents bought a HILO trailer that would raise with a hydraulic system. As I entered my independent teen stage; I opted to be in my tent and I loved my "own space". I loved listening to the sound of the rain pattering on the canvas as I read or wrote poems or thoughts into my diary. Ahhhh..the endless hours I could spend in my own thoughts back then... (is that child calling to me NOW?)-



my tent on the right


Even after graduating from high school, during college I'd go camping a little by myself. My parents worried, I know when I was on my own..It wasn't quite as fun alone...


One of the first traditions I wished to preserve after getting married was to go camping every summer. We have done that (almost). We tent camp. (I prefer using a tent.) My husband and I camped across the country back in 2002. Then when our son was 3 1/2 months old, we went camping for 8 nights in Florence, Oregon. (a tricky experience because it was cold and we had to lug our food and equipement in a wheelbarrow every mealtime) Our daughter had her first camping experience when she was one. This year we went to the Redwoods for a week and a half. My father was able to join us which felt really special as I owe this important aspect of my life currently to him and my grandfather.
Camping with young children (as parent) isn't the same as when I was a child/teen...It is MUCH more work and less relaxing, but still, it always feels worth the effort as I see my children gain from the experience. Each year, they seem to learn something about nature or become stronger more mature/wise. My son especially is very much at home "outside". My daughter also toughened up quite a bit this summer as we did a lot of "kid hikes" It is good to get away from the TV, the computer, the landline phone..the housecleaning, the toys, the the the... and simplify life a bit..



My father, myself, and my 2 children


My father told me the story of how he started camping. It was my grandfather's idea after reading a magazine. I think my father was about 14-15 when they first went...so that would have been the early 1950's.
They found an old tent that my great-grandfather had collected when he was working as a janitor. The rest of the equipment they made themselves.. I think it was very cold/hard sleeping on the bare ground/
I guess that parks were just being built as a way to boost the economy-getting families to sight-see, to travel, spend money, etc..
In any case, it has become our family tradition; and I hope it continues for more generations to come.. I hope we preserve enough of our parks that my great-grandchildren can also experience the awe and spiritual relationship to our world.


my husband and children (drawing/writing in their journals).
Poem I wrote while in my tent and listening to a storm outside:
The Test of Life (8/21/89) 16 years old.
The violent storm raged
Gales of wind whipped the ocean
as lashes struck each wave
A war between land
that wanted to be constant
and forces that made change
The clouds covered the earth
with black malicious eyes
and loud striking commands
So much hate, yet the earth's world is a mirror
of the spiritual trials we follow
The cruel attacking
The merciless striking of lightening
leaving a shock of pain
To look at the clouds
No realization of the malice
that could break you
because you cannot really see
Until it hits you
you can ignore the clouds
fight the wind
but you cannot obstruct the lightening
all their lives
people fight the wind
and deal with lightening
as it strikes close by
If they fight hard enough
they will survive the storm
to be rewarded with a definition
stronger than the hurt
The sunny day seems so much brighter
And the person
so much more whole, confident,
and less wary of survival
If this can be gained
how could those hateful clouds
be seen as so hateful
when they give us a gift
nothing else could giveenjoying nature (me at 14 yrs.)
A little blurb on the history of camping:http://www.talkcamping.co.uk/guides/history_of_camping.html

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