Sunday, June 10, 2012

Faire du Camping

I love camping. Mom and I went to Lake Itasca State Park, where the headwaters to the Mississippi are located. It was a good time, even though we were down by a family member (brother, who was being a dutiful son to our dad and stepmom).

One thing I love about camping is the fire. Even when we don't need to heat anything over the fire, or roast any marshmallows, there is something comforting and traditional about a campfire. Make one first thing in the morning, even when it's plenty warm, to sip your coffee by. Or use to cook your hashbrowns, eggs and beans in the morning. At night, make it to eat dinner by, and to prepare the dessert. Smores, every evening. Who cares if you're full or are sick of marshmallows? You're camping. Smores are a must! A campfire is a good start and end to the day, and usually a good middle to the day.

I also love all the exercise. Even when you just hang around the campsite all day, you still need to walk to the bathroom, to the water pump, etc. Unless you're in an RV or something, camping means roughing it. You need to lug water, you need to stand up and stretch because your butt hurts from sitting on uncomfortable wooden benches and sleeping on rocky ground. Plus, there's hiking, bike rides, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and climbing. We went for a sixteen mile bike ride. My butt still hurts!

The wildlife is also fun. From a big, lazy raccoon looking for handouts from all the campsites to a grouse who needs to look where he's flying before he takes off, we saw quite a few cool animals. Even the multitude of tent caterpillars (including several on our tent, coincidentally), and the many adorable chipmunks and squirrels entertain me to no end. I'd love to have seen more animals, as the park also has moose, wolves and bears, but being in the middle of the campgrounds, the only animals we're likely to see are the ones who want something from people. The grouse however, seemed just surprised as we were to see us in the middle of his flight path.

Camping is a great escape. It's a literal happy place. Even with rain, and forgotten items, and unexpected events, it's hard to not have a good time while you're camping.