Camping, with and without ‘flushers’


People are often surprised to discover that I camp. I know how that is. I’m often surprised myself.

I am not an outdoorsy type of gal. I’m more the indoorsy type. With cable.
When we camp I expect, at minimum, an air mattress to keep my princess-and-the-pea-like self off the unforgiving ground, decent meals and clean, hot showers. Since we camp in tents rather than recreational vehicles, the latter can pose a problem.

It is a testament to my ability to forgive that I am still on speaking terms with one dear friend who inadvertently arranged for us to camp in a primitive campground.

For the uninitiated, this means that upon arrival, her young son hopped out of the car and made a beeline for the restrooms only to return, perplexed, and state “But Mom, I can’t find the flusher.”

At that point, three sets of terrified, adult eyes all turned to me in horror. For the record, “the flusher” was nonexistent. As was the shower. I spent an entire weekend without bathing and that is no fun for anybody. I promise.

Nonetheless, everything has the potential to become a valuable learning experience and now I know to check and double-check the availability of water of the hot and cold variety in showerheads near me.

I generally required a notarized statement from a park ranger promising to personally allow me to sleep at his or her HOME if this running water should not be forthcoming. A girl cannot afford to take chances.


Having camped for two summers now, I can say that despite the showers (both a lack of hot ones and too many of the rainy variety), I like it very much. We tend to run with a good crowd — or a bad crowd — depending on how you look at it. We are a rag-tag but merry band of campers who arrive in tents, campers and trailers of all kinds.

We spend the weekends eating, cleaning up after eating, thinking about eating again, planning to eat and then eating some more. In between this grueling schedule, we snack.

Sure, in our off moments we might venture out into boating, fishing, swimming, biking. Notice the one “campy” thing I left off the list is hiking. Hiking I do not get. I have never, not once, enjoyed hiking just for the sake of hiking.

I am not against walking, mind you. In walking, I am on my way somewhere. There is a reward at the end. It may even be food. In hiking, I’m just stomping around in the woods ticking off the wildlife and getting in the way of nature.

Hiking is one of those things I just don’t understand. Of course, I get the basics just fine. To hike, you put one foot in front of the other, propelling yourself forward at a steady, workmanlike pace. After repeating this action thousands of times, you will theoretically begin to experience “fun.”

I, however, have not yet reached this point. Granted, I should embrace hiking and its evil twin JOGGING in an effort to undo the damage caused by all that eating we do.

Mr. Wonderful made the mistake of clueing me in to the fact that he is a MARVELOUS outdoor cook. This should explain a lot about why I like camping despite not being at all the camping sort.

In the outdoors, I don’t cook. I contend that if God had wanted me to cook in my back yard he wouldn’t have let General Electric invent such a nice microwave.

The only other camping-related tip I am able to offer is that one must secure all food stuffs with more care than you do, say, monetary valuables and state secrets. Though not widely reported, America’s raccoons and opossums are pitted against each other in a fierce turf war. You want to avoid getting caught in the crossfire.

A dear friend once went into hand-to-hand combat to wrest his much-needed stash of soda from a raccoon bent on obtaining a massive caffeine buzz.

So this summer, once again, if all goes well, we will camp. We will eat (too much), drink (in moderation) and be merry (and sometimes if it rains, a little cranky). We will pray for safe passage, blue skies, calm waters and magical marshmallows that toast without burning (unless you like ’em that way).

We will go and be with family and friends. We will make memories and probably more than a little bit of a mess. And if you should see a raccoon (or a possum) on a sugar-high staggering through a state park near you, don’t be alarmed, he’s probably with me.

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