When we first started camping, it was FUN to pack up all the crap, drive 20 min, unload, set up camp, sleep, pack up, and drive home. That was camping. And camping is fun. Then we started doing longer trips–3 days 4 hours away. 7 days 18 hours away. And now a one-night trip seems stooopid. Esp. when it rains.
We had yet another rainy 4-H campout. Same camp site as last year’s wet adventure, slightly different group of kids (I had Ben this time instead of Julianna). Packing up is pretty easy, I have a camping box of all the stuff we need, so I just load in the tent, pads, bags, and box and all we have to do is add food and clothing. Setting up camp is also easy, my tent is simple to set up, pads self-inflate, bags unroll, presto! But then the rains come, and everything is wet and muddy. And the rain continues all night and all morning, so that it’s still wet and muddy when you pack up. That means that when you get home, it all has to be UNpacked and strewn around the porch for drying. yuck. Opening that tent bag and releasing tent, rainwater, mud, and 30 stow-away daddy longlegs is dispiriting. Luckily, the smell of nylon and woodsmoke is some kind of serotonin-releaser for me, so I keep doing it.
Of course, you can’t discount the camaraderie born of sticking it out together. Esp if there’s more than just weather causing trouble… There’s this family. We’ll call them the Buttpain family (it’s French. pronounced BuPAHN). The dad has caused my eyes to be a bit rolly in the past. First it was the way he won’t let us close his doors in car line b/c we close them too hard. It’s a fargin’ late 90s Honda Accord dude. Get over yourself. Or, you know, park and don’t use car line. Then it was rock climbing, when he inserted himself into the line of kids, saying “They’ve all had a climb.” It’s a 4-H activity. You age out of 4-H at 18. Then, yesterday, it was the fire-building Leave No Trace activity: The kids were given a coated paper card and told to make a fire that would burn two popsicle sticks, but not harm the paper. Parents were asked to watch to be sure the kids were being safe. M. Buttpain would not let the kids light the matches and micromanaged how they built their fire. Then, when one group of kids successfully burned the sticks and protected the card by covering it with a stone and dirt, he cried that it was “cheating” and “against the rules.” It was pointed out that the stated rules were “burn the sticks, protect the paper.” And he said something like “well if I’d known I could do THAT…” Dude. Not. For. You. I suspect he trick or treats, too. Then, dinner time rolls around and we start moving over to the pavillion to start cooking. M. Buttpain shows up, 30 min later, family in tow, complaining that no one told them we were going over there. It’s about 100 yards away, first of all, and there was no conspiracy to sneak off, we just went over. Everyone else was out of their tents. Preparing to eat b/c it was dinner time. He clearly thought it was some sort of Plan, though. Lord knows it was within our rights by that point. Then this morning, breakfast. it’s rainy and miserable and most of the crew got wet overnight (not us! yay REI tents!). The Buttpain family agreed to bring pancake mix for all. They were still in their tent, however, so we all had the warm beverage of our choice. Told the kids we were waiting for the scouting groups to finish using the pavillion (there are 3 youth sites that share the pavillion) so that we weren’t all squished in together. Nothing. The scouts leave, we head over, start cooking eggs at least. Nothing. Finally send an outgoing child to rouse the Buttpains. M. Buttpain arrives with his bag of mix…which he sets down and begins making himself and his family breakfast burritos. “Can we have pancakes now, M. Buttpain?” “In a bit.” Other adults step in and make the fargin’ pancakes. Other Buttpain delights: only 3 cars can be at the campsite, one for each group. M.Buttpain brings his car up anyway, as Mme Buttpain has “a bum knee.” The rangers show up, say there are too many cars, M. Buttpain must be escorted down and driven back w/o his car; Mme Buttpain claims she needs to take the car to “run errands” (we’re here less than 24 hours. What can’t wait?) which really means “drive around until the rangers are gone” and brings the car back to the site b/c, with the knee, she cannot walk up from the parking lot. Rangers return, car must be escorted down AGAIN. Also, setting up camp involved LOTS of yelling at his kids, which was charming. Upside: the rest of us got to unite in our eye rolling and gaze-meeting. But seriously, how can you be a 40 something adult and that clueless?