Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hardcore Camping

Growing up, my family and I never went camping. For my parents who come from a country where living in leaky banana leaf homes and experiencing hunger on a daily basis were a reality, camping never crossed their minds as a vacation. The concept of choosing to live out in the wilderness without amenities and be gross for a few days was pretty bizarre to them. I don't blame them. It's funny to think that those of us who live in the luxury of modern day conveniences would need breaks from that to get in touch with nature and ourselves. But I argue that camping has become a way of adventure, and we who like to think of ourselves as adventurers pursue it as often as we can. We like to switch things up a little. We find thrill in the unknown. We like to put our level of preparedness to the test. We thrive on making it with what we have with us at the time. Camping is a way of becoming disconnected with the overabundance of technology to get reconnected to simple nature life. 

This weekend we got together with a couple of friends and their children for some time away from the city. We headed up Provo Canyon to a secluded camp ground where the view of the city was in sight but the outdoors was the main attraction. I've been waiting all summer to go camping; we purchased some new gear earlier in the summer to prepare ourselves and we were finally doing it. There's just something about leaving the daily routine at home and seeking out adventure that gets me so excited about camping. I like the different perspective I get from being surrounded by mountains and trees. I enjoy feeling like I'm living the life of a mountain woman. I like sleeping in a new bed placed somewhere out of the ordinary, or better yet, getting to sleep under the blanket of twinkling stars that remind me that I'm part of a magnificent and grand universe. I just loved being up there. I savored every little bit while we were up there. We talked, we laughed, we watched our kids share and play together (Boston was following M. to mischief everywhere and stumbling over rocks and twigs), 
we relaxed (I got to read and practice holding two babies, not easy at all so I think I can handle waiting), 

 we smelled fresh trees and campfire (and Boston got totally sticky thanks to Daddy),

 we were productive,

and we ate well--we ate things like delicious s'mores made to perfection, steak, cheesy potatoes, and a dutch oven cream cheese pumpkin cake (oh my gosh, drooling!) made by J. (how she does it all still amazes me). It was all awesome. And then, it rained. 

Camping in the rain. You know what that means, right? Wet clothes, cold noses, muddy wheels, and messy gear. Wow. I don't know about you, but that was pretty hardcore camping for me. I had never done anything like it. Instead of staring up at the night's sky, we talked for hours under our canopy and apparently rain drops snuck their way into my Fossil bag which was hanging on the back of my chair at the time (*note* don't bring nice bags camping. I had totally forgotten to put that away).

I laid for hours in my tent, listening to the rain with my eyes closed. I later learned that I wasn't the only one. The storm was so loud that it kept us all awake, except for Boston (thank goodness! it would have been extra miserable with a grumpy baby). The lightning was so sharp that it's brightness shone through my closed eyes. I would count the seconds before I heard thunder, "one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, four-one thousand" and it would stop. My, the thunder would stop there. It was a bit mind boggling how close we were to possible danger. I guess that comes with "hardcore camping." I'm not going to lie. It was a little chilling the thought of being struck by lightning. In my mind, I prepared an escape plan for if the thunder got any closer than three seconds away. We would all hop in our Jeep and book it out of there, leaving all of our belongings behind 'til morning. I'm glad we never had to resort to that. 

Camping offers us time to think, ponder, and grow. Amidst my plan of escape came various other thoughts mainly of gratitude for the wonderful things in my life; shelter and warm covers in a time like this, beauty in this earth and how it regenerates itself, mountains to escape to, my safety net of family and friends to do funs things and create memories with, and my God for making all of this possible. I fell asleep to the sound of rain drops over my tent that night.