Years and years ago, I went camping. It was absolutely awful; the first night it stormed like crazy. I’m not a fan of storms when I am in a nice solid house, so being in a tent, in the woods, didn’t go over so well. And then after the storm finally stopped and someone came to see if I wanted to spend the rest of the night in their trailer? I was convinced they were actually a murderer that was going to kill me since the storm didn’t. The following day was wet and miserable, and then that night was full of drunk ATV riders who were shooting guns into the air. It was miserable and I swore never, ever again.
Then I went and married a Camping Person. I had managed to avoid it even being an issue the entire time we lived in Phoenix since camping isn’t exactly a convenient hobby down there. Even the first year we lived up here the idea was thrown around and shot down over and over, until he met The Camping People. His friends are campers, frequent and enthusiastic campers. Before this weekend, Adeline had been camping twice, which meant in her three years of life, she had been camping twice as much as I had in my thirty years. So, to even the field a bit, I agreed to go camping for a weekend. Me, Jake, two toddlers, and infant, and a small dog.
We went a day before the rest of them, because I knew that the frenzy of everyone showing up and setting up would make me crazy. The drive down was interesting to say the least, the road stops being paved and then stops being a road. Poor Lucy got carsick about six seconds before I could get t her, and had to make more than half of the drive draped in receiving blankets because I couldn’t get to the extra clothes. She glared at me for a few miles and then fell asleep. As much as it was lost on the kids, the drive really is pretty.
We made hotdogs for dinner and even had a little campfire.
After everyone else showed up, Lucy kind of lost it a bit. There were lots of loud vehicles that she found terrifying, and then there were the dogs-oh, the dogs. She loved the dogs, but with the excitement of being there, and the fear of the engines she was freaking out. There was just so, so much going on. The baby wouldn’t settle down, Lucy was constantly taking off, it was loud and hectic. There wasn’t a single second I could relax, mostly from trying to keep Lucy from getting overly friendly with some poor dog. That kid is relentless in her love of dogs, but I am quite sure most of them don’t return her affection. All of them tolerated her though, without even a hint of annoyance. Even the dog we knew was not particularly kid-friendly was fine. But following her around and redirecting her from those dogs was exhausting. This was probably one of the first times since Hazel was born that I really felt how outnumbered we are by these children. I couldn’t figure out how any of it was supposed to be fun. That night though, went better. It was warmer and I don’t know if I was just exhausted or more relaxed (riiiight…) but I got some actual sleep, even though the arrangement of me and all the kids plus the dog in the smaller bed repeated itself despite our best efforts.
Sunday morning we were the first ones up (sweet Lucy woke up at 5:30) and Jake agreed we could pack up and go home. We got everything packed up by the time the others woke up. There were less people at this point, since not everyone from the day before stayed overnight. I figured we’d eat and go, but the kids started playing and everything was just calmer and (I’ll admit it) fun. I actually got to sit and talk a little bit, and the kids were having a blast. Jake’s friends have this fantastic lab that Lucy was just head over heels for, and it was so fun watching her run around yelling “doggie!” and I swear she added two new words over the weekend-wait and the dog’s name. The entire atmosphere was so much calmer, everything was easier and the day actually went by really quickly. Since we had packed up first thing, when we were ready to go, we just left. It wasn’t a bad way to end the trip. I was still very, very happy to be home though.
All in all, it was a good time. Jake’s (I guess I should say our) friends are just Good People. I’m still not declaring myself a Camping Person, but I’m willing to give it a few more tries to see if it grows on me.