My father's camping experience last weekend involved him driving to his girlfriend's place, walking up her drive way and climbing into the tent trailer parked near the garage. I think that is the type of roughing it that even Katie and I could handle (Especially if Katie knew there is a Starbucks just a few blocks away).
As he told me this last night it reminded me of a time I went camping as a boy scout. It was one of the preparation trips for the 100 mile bike trip we would be taking during the summer. We went to the top of Mt. Diablo to sleep over and would be would be biking down. There were five of us going: Michael, Brian, Alan, Russel, and me. I think this is an important time to mention that Alan and Brian are brothers. Brian told Russel that he was going to bring the family 2 1/2 person tent. Alan told Michael that he was going to bring the family 2 1/2 person tent. I told my self to bring the super easy to set up 3 person tent for myself.
Almost as soon as we got to the top of the hill the fun started. We left late (evidently there was some sort of argument at Brian & Alan's house that made them late) and arrived after it was already dark. As Brian and Alan set up the family tent, Mike & I started dinner. Mike was put in charge of the stuffing. He decided to skip reading the directions and instead of waiting for the water to boil before adding the bread crumbs he just dumped the seasoning, crumbs, & butter into the water. That night we feasted on liquid stuffing and burnt chicken.
As we were eating, a teenager in black clothing and black make-up crawled out from under the picnic table and said "You guys aren't very observant. I've been down there for 20 minutes. Let's go guys." At which point one guy drops out of a tree and another comes out from behind a tree. It was one of the weirdest camping experience I have ever had. I locked my tent that night.
As the evening drew on, we prepared for bed. At this point the rain was coming down in buckets. I put a towel on the out side of my tent to wipe my feet on and a towel on the inside to dry. I hung up a close line and got into my sleeping bag. About 10 feet away the other four got into their tent. Do you know what happens when you touch the side of a nylon tent when it is raining? As those four boys cramped in the tent started pouring in water. And then the yelling started. "Mike stop touching the sides - you're letting water in." "Me? Well if you didn't take up so much room in the center I wouldn't be pushing on the sides." "What do you mean you're pushed into the side? Brian and Alan are pushing me into my side - you should have it easy!"
And so on for about 20 minutes before I figured out they weren't going to stop. So I yelled over, "Hey. Each of you think of a number between 1 and 20." Numbers were drawn and Alan came out the closest. I unlocked my tent and told him he could come over. I told Alan to sleep by the door while I slept near the window. (I didn't tell him it was because I thought the black make-up guys were going to open the door and kill us in our sleep - but that was the reason.) He thought I was being secretive because I had the clothes line up. I just let him think that.
In the morning it was decided we weren't going to ride down because of the still pouring rain. After that was decided our scoutmaster gave us two options: make breakfast as planned or pack up in a hurry and go home. We were on our way home in less than 20 minutes.
Except for the time Jed almost got hypothermia - it was my worse time camping. The time the bears came and ate 1/3 of our food and brushed up against my tent was close, but still not as annoying as this time.
However there is one highlight. My mother bought me a donut when I got back. Life is always better with a "mom-bought" donut.
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