formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Writer's Workshop: If I'd Known I Was Going To Pick This Prompt, I Wouldn't Have Called Yesterday's Post 'Happy Camper'

It's 'Writer's Workshop' time... check out Kathy's prompts over at Mama's Losin' It. This week I chose:

List 5 places you'd like to go camping

But, feeling wordy tonight (no, I haven't been drinking, thank you very much), I figured I'd tell you why I like to camp in addition to giving you my list. If you're not in the mood to read, though, just skip to the end!

The only family vacations we took when I was a kid were camping vacations. It was the cheapest way for a family of five to get away for two weeks, see the country, and have fun. In fact, I didn’t even stay in a hotel until I was a teenager. My dad, a history buff, showed us every battlefield up and down the east coast… we stayed in places like Cape Cod, the Finger Lakes area of NY, and all over Virginia. We saw all the historical and kid-oriented sights; we swam in the ocean and in lakes; we hiked in the woods, spent whole evenings star-gazing, and toasted more marshmallows than was probably sane (or healthy). One summer, my parents rented a campsite at a campground in south Jersey for two months. My mom actually chose to live in a tent with the three of us kids for most of the summer, while my dad worked at home during the week and came down to stay with us on the weekends. It was the best summer of my childhood.

I knew that when I had kids, I wanted to camp with them; to share one of the best experiences of my life. My ex and I took Ryan for the first time when she was two. She took to it immediately… never afraid of bugs or the woods or the dark, she was a natural. My ex, however, wasn’t. He never really wanted to go but he also didn’t like the idea of me taking Ryan on my own, as he didn’t feel it was safe. Pffffttttt.

For the last several years, Ryan and I have been camping by ourselves from spring through fall. We go to state or national parks (always), as ‘amenities’ like swimming pools (or, in some cases, hot showers) aren’t important to us. We’ve camped in freezing temperatures (when we had to sleep in parkas and hats) and in monsoons (when I forgot to seal the tent seams… something she’s never let me forget). We’ve gone for weekends with the dog and for full weeks without him. Sometimes we stick close to home; sometimes we drive long distances (last year we spent a week at Acadia in Maine). We’ve gone whitewater rafting, kayaking, and whale-watching. We swim and hike and star-gaze and toast marshmallows. And we do it all on our own.

(Acadia National Park, Maine - Summer 2008)

Camping, for me, isn’t just an inexpensive vacation or a way to make wonderful memories. It isn’t just a way to experience nature fully and show my daughter how to ‘leave no trace’. It’s a way to teach her one of the most important lessons I believe she’ll ever learn. I want her to understand she can do anything she sets her mind to and that she’s not limited in any way because she’s a girl. I want her to understand that she has to venture out into the world in order to learn about it and that she absolutely cannot be afraid to do so (even if she has to do it alone), no matter what anyone says. And you’d be amazed at how many people are shocked that we camp on our own, and say so. But, to my great pleasure, Ryan simply can’t understand why it’s surprising to them. It’s normal and natural to her to throw the tent and camp stove into the car and just go. And I love it - that attitude. I hope it’s something we’ll always be able to do together and something she’ll do with her kids, if she has them.

This summer we’re going to Assateague Island on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We’re staying at the national park, just over the dunes from the ocean, and the wild ponies wander through the campground. We’re beyond excited. The Grand Canyon was on the agenda for this summer… unfortunately it wasn’t in the budget. So it’s number one on our list of places to camp…

1. The Grand Canyon
2. Yellowstone
3. Big Sur
4. Denali
5. The Canadian Rockies (added to my list after seeing my friend Todd’s pictures from his recent trip)

26 comments:

Mel said...

Boo camping! But you knew I'd say that, didn't you? I think your going camping is a sneaky way of keeping me from going on vacation with you again. Although some of those places are fairly appealing. Hmm....

sherri said...

Can you believe I have NEVER been camping? I would love to now, but never had the desire befiore. My sons have camped ALOT and love it.

You seriously should put So. Illinois on your list (Garden of the Gods or Rend Lake) and we could come along and you could teach me how to enjoy it. I so want to do it. Now, I am afraid of bugs and the dark, but I love the rain and Marshmallows! So that's a good start, huh?

Loved the story about your Dad and your summer camping.

HLiza said...

I used to love camping but ended up marrying a man who loves too much comfort of modern living..he despises camping..and he poisoned my kids too.The kids will only talk about air-conditioned hotel room with swimming pool when they talk about vacation. They hate mosquitoes and no electricity..don't tell about nature. I guess the camper in me had died too.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

I didn't even know there is a place called Denali; I thought it was just the name of that huge vehicle. We camped when I was little, but no exotic places. Lately I'm really into backyard campfires, which is like a quick little getaway for me.

mo.stoneskin said...

"It’s normal and natural to her to throw the tent and camp stove into the car and just go"

That's an attitude and way of doing things that I'm slightly envious of.

If there was a place called "Yellowstone" near me I would definitely camp there.

Protege said...

What a lovely post about camping. I admire you really that you dare to go camping alone and I am in awe of the fact that you manage to do it.
I have been camping very few times in my life, mostly with my parents over night on some of the campgrounds in Europe, on our way down south to a summer vacation. Even though brief, I always enjoyed it.
One camping trip comes to mind though very vividly; it was a week of living in a tent in Hamburg, Germany, during our emigration. A memory for life.
xoxo

lizspin said...

I have never been camping either. . . but, you know, those wild ponies running around just might get me there!

Pauline said...

I wish Pigsnuckle was close to here because there's a tent in my car at all times. My four kids and ex and I camped an entire summer on our property in northern VT when we were building our log cabin and I've camped all over the US from the Oregon/California coast to Maine. Add California's Redwood National Forest to your list. It's the most amazing place I've camped in so far.

Stu Pidasso said...

You are right, our posts are similar. I love the reasoning behind the camping and totally get it. Please consider putting some places in Texas on your six through ten list. I think you ladies would love Austin. The liberalness is great. Google Barton Creek Spring. Wonderful place.

Wishing sweet dreams to you and Ryan on all your camping nights,

Stewey/OOYSA

Heather said...

I hope y'all have a fun camping! I know it will be a great time for y'all to bond, laugh and make memories.

Nature is great fun, isn't it? I love hiking and rafting and fishing and... well, you get the picture.

Annie K said...

I can't believe Bend didn't make the list...after all of my fabo camping pictures - especially chia pet deer and chipmunks that steal dog bones. And none of those places have Boz. (wink*wink) (Although Yellowstone is pretty awesome and so is Big Sur.)

Anonymous said...

I would move the Rockies higher up the list. While Grand Canyon is cool, everything looks the same. Wait, I guess mountains might look the same also - but they are cooler, so yeah.

Comedy Goddess said...

I would love to do this very same thing with my daughter! We camped every summer when I was a kid too. Have a great time, I loved Assateague.

Heather, aka Jake's Mommy said...

This is such a special and empowering bonding experience for mother and daughter. I haven't been camping since I was a kiddo, but I always loved it then. I associate strawberry soda with camping ... weird that I just had that memory! :-)

only a movie said...

I live within an afternoon's drive to Acadia. It is on my list to go camping there.
It is on my list to go to the Grand Canyon, period.
Like this post.

Also read your other recent posts - good luck w/ WW. It's a great program. I do the online version and love it...

Amy McMean said...

I have family on the Eastern Shore. My cousin and her fmaily are hoping to go to Assateague for a day trip this summer. I've never been but I'm sure it's a cool place to camp.

LMN said...

Okay, Diane, I will come back to read this post, but I just wanted to pop in and say NICE JOB!!

Congrats. That is totally awesome. I am gearing up for my Monday morning weigh in. I figure that will force me to be good over the weekend. ;)

Debbie said...

I like camping but am just intimidated by doing it alone! However with 3 kids that I would like to take on vacations...I think its time to learn!!!!

blognut said...

I love camping and I really don't know why we stopped doing it. We used to do it all the time when the girls were little.

You are a rocking cool mom - and I think it's great that you and Ryan enjoy camping together.

Tabitha@ichoosebliss said...

I haven't been camping since I was 8. I wish I could do it with my princess.

She said...

I always loved camping too, but I've not been for years! Maybe Blognut and I can go with you sometime! That would be a hoot!

dianne said...

We used to go camping down the south coast of New South Wales near the beach, it was always great, nice to be in the outdoors looking at the stars, campfires and lots of fun and swimming at the beach. ♡

Sometimes Sophia said...

There are great lessons to be learned in the great outdoors.
I'm not much of a camper, but your list makes me jealous!

One of my fondest memories, though, involves staying in a tent cabin with Senor and two of our boys at King's Canyon. Since are boys aren't blood-related, Senor and I slept apart and had to share a bed with our respective sons... playing hearts by lantern light, listening for bears who stalked the cars for edibles, three of us giggling in the dark as Senor snored like a locomotive. The stuff of memories...

Blu said...

hey I am going camping in September, but not in the wilds like you. There are many campsites here in France and I havnt made my mind up yet, but I am looking forward to it!.

Jenners said...

First, your title just cracked me up!

Second, my childhood was lots of camping trips as well ... though my mom put her foot down and we ended up getting a pop-up camper after one too many disastrous trips.

Third, you are just the greatest mom. Camping with your daughter is an awesome thing to do.

Fourth, you have to add Glacier National Park to your must see list. Gorgeous.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Diane, I've never been camping, but you make me wonder why with your wise words and wisdom... Camp on, MacDuff! (Oh and Ryan is so lucky to have you as a Mom - Tell her I said so...and I think she might already know...) xox