The love and hate of camping

I really hate camping. Well, actually, no. I like camping — quite a bit in fact. I suppose it’s a love and hate kind of thing. The preparation, the clean up, all of it is a pretty fair pain in everyone’s butt.

But. There is a but, and it’s the massive amount of enjoyment that comes from communing with nature, using crusty port-a-potties and splashing on a little ice-cold water on brisk early mornings. As a boy, and as an adult, some of my fondest memories have come outside the zipped up tent door: chewing on politics with my friend over the fire; waking up on New Year’s Day in Death Valley, warm and toasty in a two-person tent.

Memories. Making them is what camping is all about, and by camping I don’t mean glamping. Or RV-camping. I mean to say tent camping, that fly-bedeviled, hot and dirty experience that drives the point home. Camping where there ain’t no showers, just spit and a towel. According to Wikipedia and other sites such as www.campinginfo.org, the practice was started by Thomas Hiram Holding in the early 1800s. Holding was a Brit (figures) who went camping with his parents, liked it, and wrote a few books about it, including The Campers Handbook. That guide, along with others (one about cycling in Ireland) wound up influencing loads of people including Sir Baden Powell. Powell, of course, is to blame for spreading camping across America (As an Eagle Scout, I stand so infected) .

Today, millions of people go camping, get crusty and have some fun attempting to cook scrambled eggs on tiny propane stoves. The thing I like about camping is that it makes us all get along a little bit better, work together a little more and spend a little more time with each other, away from our mobile phone addled lives.

Shoot. I kinda love camping.

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