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Monday, August 11, 2014

If You're Not A Camper, You Don't Know What You're Missing

My kids and I camp every year. They fall blissfully asleep in the tent after a day of biking and swimming that culminated in s'more and popcorn and in the morning, the birds are singing and the air is crisp and fresh.

It's wonderful.

And if you're one of those "camping is not for me" types (and curiously a huge amount of my women friends are), you don't know what you're missing.

In the morning, I'll fire up the campstove and make the best damn bacon and eggs any of us will ever taste in your lives because everything just tastes better in the outdoors. Honest to God, it does. And then it's back into bathing suits and frolicking at the pool.

There are some hardcore camping types who would be quick to tell me that this is hardly camping. We're at a camping resort with flush toilets and hot showers and electric and water onsite and free Wi-Fi. It has a huge pool complex that's more like a water park and they have a fully stocked camp store and even a little cafe that we could eat all our meals in if we wanted to.

We take advantage of some of that - the electric and Wi-Fi come in really handy at night when the kids want to watch a movie and in the early morning when Mom needs to blog. And the cafe is a lot more convenient when we break for lunch than biking from the pool all the way back to the campsite for a sandwich. Plus, I don't have to smell pit toilets and I can wash off the grime that seems to always come with camping in a nice hot shower at the end of the night.

I have friends who camp in the truest sense of the word, hiking to places you'd never see from a car window. I even know one who camped in some nature reserve once and had to carry a ziploc bag to hold her own feces and toilet paper because she wasn't allowed to leave it there.

You're making the same face I am reading that, I know you are. But she wouldn't trade the rest of that experience for the world.

I, however, have a teen girl who can't live without her iPhone and a boy with autism who would run shrieking from a pit toilet, so here we are. And we are loving it.

We all love to hop on our bikes and ride and ride and ride all over this place, down by the lake, through every shady lane, and almost all of the people we pass will be friendly and waving and calling out hello, because that's how people in campgrounds are.

Then it's back to the fire, and the laughter, and the s'mores, before climbing into our sleeping bags (and yes, Mom's is on an air mattress) and get a great night's sleep in the cool, clean air.

My kids will remember these times for the rest of their lives. I know. We camped almost every year when I was a kid, and those memories are still warm inside me today. I'll just keep strengthening the chain, and someday, when I have grandkids, we'll do it all again.

And none of us would trade it for the world.

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