We go camping once a year, one night in a tent. Dirty and smelling of smoke the next morning, we wake up too early, pack as fast as we can and drive off into the dawn sun.
I don’t like camping. It’s hard work. I don’t sleep because of the cold and because I’m wrapped up like some kind of frozen burrito. I don’t like sleeping with three other human beings also wrapped up like burritos and making wheezing, rolling and generally weird sleep noises all night. I don’t sleep!
Every year we go camping. Not because I love camping but because my children light up like it is Christmas morning at the mention of a camping trip, new adventure.
So, every year my husband packs up all the camping gear while I make sure there is food and water and warm clothes. The car fills to the brim and every time we ask each other why one night of camping requires so much stuff. We drive into the woods. We set up our tent. We build a fire and roast marshmallows. My husband tells stories about creatures that live in the woods. And then we drift off to sleep, one by one. Except me, because I do not sleep.
This summer has been busy, that combined with the excessive rain we’ve been having prevented us from getting to the mountains until well into July. So, we decided that instead of tent camping we would try teepee camping. There’s a beautiful place that has cabins and teepees right on the lake. Sure, why pack a tent when you can camp in a teepee. My daughter was ecstatic. My son packed his pocketknife.
My husband packed the car with all our camping gear, minus tent. I packed food and water, marshmallows and granola bars. The car was full to the brim. We looked at each other and asked why we packed so much for one night, in a teepee. We drove off.
The lake was as beautiful as we remembered. The cabins and teepees picturesque in the midst of their surroundings. We were happy we didn’t have to put up a tent. My husband built a fire and the kids roasted marshmallows. We brushed our teeth and tucked up for the night. One by one, the breathing turned steady and light as they drifted off to sleep. All except me. The rain came, loud and hard against the teepee walls. I burrowed into my burrito bag and stayed cold. I did not sleep!
The next morning dawned bright and beautiful, unless you are a person who does not want to be awake at 6am. I was grumpy, dirty, sleep deprived and hungry. We packed up and drove down the mountain to have breakfast. Oh, hot tea and biscuits. When we were all sufficiently nourished, we smiled at each other, went on a hike and planned our next camping trip.
Yeah, camping is not my thing but seeing my family smiling and excited, if a little grimy, is worth going one night without sleep. I’ll let you know how it goes the next time.