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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My Camping Curse

When my hubby and I were first married we told everyone we loved to camp. We had both camped at teenagers (not together, okay, well, once together--maybe twice) and considered ourselves GOOD campers. I would like it on record, however, that the first fire ever lit when we were together was started by moi, when he went through half a dozen matches trying. I'm a girl scout you know.

Anyway, our first few years of marriage were chaotic. We did elderly care in our home AND were raising Lee's niece AND had our first child a year after the wedding. We had the 'cute apartment with just the two of us' for exactly two weeks, from that point on we were sharing habitation with one or more people that depended on us for care. We didn't get out much. When child #1 came along we snuck away with her for a weekend while our niece went to a family member's home and a friend came to our home to watch over the elderly gentleman we were taking care of. We went to Kamas in our 1974 blazer, took the back seat out to put by the fire and took naps, walks, ate PB & J, read books and went to a mud bog in town. Seeing as how the baby was 3 months old, she didn't cause much trouble and it was a great time. We spent exactly $40 to camp all weekend and it was fun. We smiled at one another and said, "yep, we're campers."

Three years later, having had no opportunity to camp during that time, we went camping again with our two daughters ages 3 1/2 and 18 months. We rented a boat--the girls cried and hated it. We made cowboy dinners, the girls cried and hated it. We slept all together in two sleeping bags zipped together--I whined, didn't sleep a bit, and hated it. The second night it rained, and rained and rained until the water was coming into the tent in rivers. We promptly loaded all the wet stuff in the car and went to a hotel. The weekend cost us somewhere around $300 and we were sick to our stomachs and miserable. We glared at one another and said, "this is all your fault."

Seven non-camping years after this episode I decided we were ready to try again. We had four kids now, ages 6 months, 4, 7, and 9. Good camping ages, right? So I spent the day getting ready and we went about 15 miles from home. We brought the four wheelers and within an hour I had crashed, sending child #2 on my lap over the handlebars, the same child had peed all over herself after failing to heed my instructions about how to pee in the woods, and the 6 month old was wailing. Husband said we should go home. I was not about to conceed defeat and told him he could go home, but I was staying. He could come get me in the morning if he was so determined. Note to men: phrases such as that are specifically engeneered for the following response "No dear, I won't leave you on the mountain alone, let's snuggle." Instead husband said, "Catch ya in the morning, I'll buy some donuts on the way up." Now, we had brought two cars so he didn't totally abandon me. The kids grumbled, the older girls insisting they sleep in the car. Whatever. So me and da'boy (4 years old) took the tent which was missing the rain fly, but it wasn't going to rain. It was July.

It rained.

Around two o'clock in the morning I'm running through the mud with the four year old, throwing him in the van and we're on our way home--leaving everything there to get rained on. The next morning, gloating husband and myself return to the mountain and rescue the muddy equipment. We looked at each other and both admit this one was squarely on my shoulders.

Another four years go by, we've managed a few Kamping Kabin experiences that weren't so bad and decide to attempt tent camping once again. So last Memorial day we set off for City of Rocks--a very cool campground in Southern Idaho. Some of my family joined us and we were exicted for the weekend. We got all set up in time for the rain the first day. The next day we had a nice morning before the rain and snow set in for nearly six hours. But it did stop. The third day we had another nice morning before the wind picked up and the clouds got darker. Husband and myself looked at each other and said "What were you thinking?"

One would think I'd learned my lesson. Nope. We decided to go camping for Labor day with Lee's brother's family. Yes, the forcast talked about rain but, really, would fate do that to us AGAIN? In the last fifteen years we've been rained out every single time we've camped as a family. Surely, this time would be different. And it was, for the first 36 hours or so. And then it started to rain. And rain. And rain. We went into town for dinner and hoped it would let up. We got back to find Lee's brother's tent leaking, one of our tents pooling water, and 30 minutes of daylight left. You've never seen camp broken that fast. Monday was spent drying everything out and spraying the tents with waterproofer. Tuesday was spent organizing camping boxes and putting away the dry stuff. Today was spent rolling up the tents and re-organizing the camping stuff. Husband and I look at each other and say . . . nothing. What can we say?

So, we're cursed, but in true Kilpack fashion we are not diswayed. We've decided it's not us, it's the kids. And so next summer we plan to take a backpacking trip, just the two of us, in hopes to prove that it has nothing to do with us. Wish us luck.

Incidently, child #2 had to fill out a 'get-to-know-me' thing for school and in her 'dislikes' the only thing she wrote was 'Camping with my family'. Talk about bad Karma.

14 comments:

Kimberly said...

My husband sometimes gets wistful about the idea of family camping. I think I'll have him read this. Thank you in advance!

Heather B. Moore said...

Last time we went camping the temperature dropped below freezing at night. It's just so much work! And so dirty! And just plain dangerous trying to keep track of the kids. But I guess it's great for other reasons. Maybe renting an RV is worth the money.

Sandra said...

I hate camping. And, if we ever are in the same campground at the same time, remind me to go home right away ;)

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Even if the experiences weren't great, they make funny stories. It rains just about every time I go camping too.

Karlene said...

I bet we're not supposed to laugh, huh?

I camped as a teenager, but no more. I want indoor plumbing and padded matresses!

Crystal said...

I loved reading this! You Kilpacks are a crack up, but seriously how can your luck be THAT bad?! It's the kids, well maybe not Nana since her first campout was smooth sailing, but the other 3? Yep it's the kids--but tell me when & where you are backpacking, so I can direct search & rescue.......ya know, just in case.

Rachelle said...

Well I guess we can't all be lucky in everything right? Thanks for the good laughs, sorry they came at such an expense. :) We've actually had pretty good luck camping but that's probably because we often go with my husband's parents who are 40 year verterans of the camping experience--they have it down pat.
Good luck next year.

Jenna Consolo said...

You are awesome! You tell a story so well! I was cracking up over this post. Camping is highly overrated. Especially when kids are involved. Fun, but not the dream we remember from years past. Good for you for not giving up though.

Anna said...

I loved camping when I was younger. At the moment, I am not a big fan of it. But I do have a 4 and 2 year old, and it's more me telling them to quit doing what they are doing or they are going to get hurt/hit/ran over/wet/muddy/ etc.

We occasionally go to the canyon and hang out for the day. But sleeping with the kids is awful right now. We bought a tent trailer in hopes that it will make camping easier. Of course, I don't want to go right now, because I am pregnant, and hate camping when pregnant.

Maybe someday it will be fun for me again.

Michele Holmes said...

Too funny, Josi---and so close to home.

The last time our family camped in a tent it was Fourth of July weekend, and we were at the Grand Canyon. The temp dropped below freezing. We had fifty degree bags, and no campfires were allowed because of high fire danger. The tent zipper broke, and about five zillion mosquitos joined us. My baby at the time cried all night unless I nursed her (on the left side only, mind you). And, in the middle of the night our son--half asleep--stood up and peed on his sister.

We came home two days early, and I promptly threw the tent in the garbage and said, "no more!"

Shortly after that we purchased a trailer--all the difference in the world. We love camping . . . in a warm, dry trailer with a bathroom.

The great outdoors is only great when a mom can keep reasonably kids clean, dry, and warm.

melissa c said...

This is hilarious! Seriously! That is too funny! You need to come camping with us. We seldom get rained out!

We have other horrible things happen in our lives but the camping is great! lol

Great post by the way!

melissa c said...

P.S. Camping is much more fun once the kids are teenagers and can do some of the work!

I will never camp with a baby again and I have to have some sort of camper now. I'm too old for the cold, dark ground!

Kristi said...

Oh man! I kept giggling at your description of your camping experience. One of our first camp experiences our baby was 18 months old, and we got out of the car and he fell right into the fire pit full of ashes. Talk about trying to clean that up out in the middle of nowhere. The air mattress had a leak, a cold front moved in so we were all shivering together....yeah...camping...good ole family times. We bought all the camping stuff, and havent' used it since.

alisha said...

Funny, funny, funny. I was laughing out loud. (I can say that now that it's after the fact!) I can't believe there are so many people who don't like camping...it is one of our most favorite things (even with kids).

Do we dare go with you sometime, or do we avoid your curse like the plague?

Good luck on the backpacking trip. I can't wait to hear how it goes. :)