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Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Ten Unexpected Joys of Camping

I’m not a camper. I hate sleeping on the hard ground in a sleeping bag. I don’t like being under a thin plastic tent that does not muffle the sounds of the other campers at night. I hate waking up at 4:30 in the morning because of the loud birds that sound like a horn blaring. Plus, no matter what, I always get bitten by mosquitoes even if no one else does. Oh, and I don’t like hiking or sweating while hiking. I could go on and on.

But, the reason I do love camping is because of the thoroughly happy look on my three children’s faces every time we go and their surefire enthusiasm in the planning process. Every summer we go camping with several other families in the mountain top redwoods between Santa Cruz and Monterey in Northern California. Herewith are the many wondrous reasons my family goes camping every year despite my inborn aversion toward it:
  • At about five years of age, children gain so much independence and thoroughly love to explore nature. After setting firm boundaries on where they can or can't wander on their own, (and issuing them a whistle and flashlight just in case) we set them loose where they love to explore and commune with nature.
  • Finding a banana slug is a big deal and everyone loves to compare who found the biggest, ugliest, and slimiest banana slug.
  • There’s no TV, electronic games or computer in sight. The great outdoors beckons and becomes the only source of amusement and entertainment and is all-consuming.
  • Every year there’s a magical quality about camping. It could be from the campfire story-telling or roasting marshmallows to make s’mores.
  • The dads all bond and love to grill, giving the moms a chance to catch up with each other and relax with (or without) the kids.
  • Imaginations go wild. Small tree branches suddenly become magic wands and kids cast spells in the great outdoors.
  • Kids learn to deal with groups of all ages, and natural born leaders are discovered.
  • Food tastes better. When you are outdoors, and especially after that long, sweaty hike, taste buds are heightened and everything is more savory.
  • The Kids love camping because sometimes they don't have to take a bath.
  • The Dads love camping because they can leave their "Honey-Do" list at home.
So there you have it. Our top ten reasons we love camping. If you'd like to know more about what I don't like about it, I can write about that next time.

Tina and Kristina are two moms who love to blog and take photos. You can also follow us under Parent Grapevine on Yahoo! Shine and Moms Who Click. Moms Who Click is our latest blog and currently under development. It will follow us as we build our photography company one click at a time.

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