August 11, 2010

Ode To Camping

Growing up with a campground as my childhood home pretty much makes me part of an elite and exclusive group. I choose the word elite only because there are so many ways in which the campground has molded me into who I am today and I can't think of a better way to raise a child. I lived there from an early age of four to my highschool years. One could say my formative years. In retrospect I have appreciated that experience to the Nth degree... So much more than I can ever say or express. So much, in fact, that I am brought to tears every time I think of memories...
 I don't even know if my siblings have had the same degree of joy as I have had. The campground gave me space to be independent, to roam, bike, and enjoy nature. I learned to be an introvert and an extrovert. It provided me with constant friendships. cMy daily chores of leaning the bathhouse and picking up sticks taught me the nature of a good work ethic. I learned how to drive on the golf cart when I was just a wee one. I got to speed around in a HUGE lawn mower too (except the seat needed a certain amount of weight on it for the mower to start. I was so small I would have to jump on the seat and push down with all my might just to make it go!). I was able to watch my parents work their butts off just to make it a success. Thanks Mom and Dad!
So, when Andrew and I decided to go camping for our second anniversary this past weekend, I was stoked. We went to Elk Neck State Park by the Chesapeake Bay (does anyone else have a hard time spelling Chesapeake?? After spending three minutes trying to sound it out, I finally gave in and googled it). I was ready to feel at home once more. To feel the peacefulness of nature envelope me. To feel like a kid again. I knew a certain part of me had romanticized my upbringing, but didn't realize how much I had done that. Or maybe it is because I've grown up and got used to a soft bed, air conditioning, and a roof over my head. Needless to say, my thoughts have changed in the past week about camping. Here are a few of them [mind you, read this, as well as all of my writings, with a sarcastic mind]...
1. Yuck. Bugs are gross. Whether its the spider in the shower, the inchworm hanging at eye level from the tree (ready to get stuck in my hair), or the fly and mosquito bites... Well, I yelped a lot this trip. Bugs in my hair.... my family can attest that there's a huge history there. You'll have to ask to find out. Let's just say I don't like bugs in my hair.
2. I forgot the hot dogs and that was a bummer. Who camps without roasting hot dogs? I brought everything else- kraut, condiments, onions, cheese, chili, buns... but no dogs. In the old days, I would have solved that by racing the golf cart up to the house, grabbing the dogs out of the fridge and speeding back. No way was I going to actually walk down to the campground store in the humidity and actually spend money buying new hot dogs. We can make great sandwiches without the meat, thank you very much. Heck, it's probably healthier for us anyways NOT to eat whatever hot dogs are made from.
3. Ugh. The heat. The humidity. Gross. Sticky. Smelly. Nasty. Only one word sentences are coming to mind. Growing up I could just grab a soda from the machine, an ice cream from the store, or hop in the pool as much as I wanted. On our camping trip this past weekend, the only relief I got from the heat was a quick drive to the camp store for a bag of ice. Ugh.
4. Crickets, locusts, and loud Amish neighbors in the site across the street do not replace a noise machine.
5. Ear plugs and eye masks can only do so much. Especially if it's too hot to wear them.
6. Squirrels are buttheads. Apparently they like bread and chocolate just as much as i do.
7. Ladies, do not get sick while camping.
OK, so maybe I like living in a house on a campground rather than actually camping.
If you couldn't tell, Andrew and I actually had a wonderful time camping! Even though I completely missed my luxuries, I decided I could suck it up and survive for a few nights (I mostly pretended I was Hurley on Lost and was looking for the smoke monster. speaking of me as Hurley, just check out my Facebook pictures from 2010. Hurley is hot). We hiked. We read. We brought games but didn't play. We got smoke in our faces. We got dirt under our nails. We got bugs in our pants. Here are some pictures to witness:
Apparently he was bitten by a bad vampire, possibly Victoria, and is now left to die in the woods. If you zoom in you'll actually see bite marks on his neck. (His idea, I swear.)
Talk about an "all-consuming fire." Once Andrew would light the fire he would be totally consumed by making the flames bigger. He would light it, stand back and watch for a minute, shuffle the logs around, stand back, shuffle again, add wood, shuffle again, blow on the coals, shuffle, blow.... and then about that time it would be time for bed.
Andrew is so sweet. I had a dream that included drinking a Starbucks vanilla latte while being mesmerized by nature. So, he decided that no matter what the cost, we make my dream come true.  We drove and drove until we found a 'Bucks. We took the highway and got stuck in traffic. We drove and drove until we came back. It was a glorious moment for me once my dream came true. I just sat on a log staring up at the rustling leaves, sipping my lukewarm latte. Campgrounds would make $$ if they put a Starbucks on the premises. Duh. Also, who in the world EVER spells Melissa like Mellisa?? i mean, who?
My new obsession. Credit goes to Andrew for making this for me one night for dinner out of random food in the fridge. Trader Joe's tortillas (delish!), TJ's jalapeno hummus, sour cream, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
This is a pretty piece of art that we found upon waking. apparently my candles runneth over.
Mmm, cheese, tortillas, refried beans, black olives, sour cream, tomatoes. all cooked over the fire!
Prior to his fire obsession, he had a stick-collecting obsession. This picture doesn't even do it justice. Andrew would actually make me pull the car over when he found a good one. "Look, there's a good one!"
I must have starved him. I don't usually eat things with heads. Apparently he does.
this was by the bay. i could have stayed here for hours.

Another great sitting spot.
The picture does absolutely no justice to what these woods actually felt and looked like. The picture needs more depth to it. More green. More life. Ahhh, to me, this is heaven.
Told ya we had Amish neighbors. I can never get away from Lancaster.
In love.
This was us all full of energy and goofiness before the trip. It wasn't even worth taking a picture at the end because we were so exhausted from doing nothing!!
All i can say is I am soooo glad I didn't have to clean those filthy toilets and showers in the bathhouse this weekend. I guess that's one of the pros to actual camping and not just living on a campground!

So, who's coming camping with us next?? I promise we're loads of fun!

. . .

.with love.
.with hope.

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