I love camping. And I don’t mean glamping. I mean honest to goodness, sleep in a tent, stink like campfire, shower once every couple days, camping. If I had to pinpoint why I love it so much I think it’s something about that primal getting back to nature aspect. Being self-sufficient in just about every way possible. Reminding myself of how convenient daily life actually is comparatively, even though I find myself occasionally complaining about things inconveniencing me.
So as the “stay home, stay healthy” order continued to drag on I found myself feeling like, a) I needed to get out of my house before I started repainting everything polka dotted just for entertainment, and b) I needed to find something to do that was relatively safe and close because air travel was out of the question for the foreseeable future. Enter CAMPING!
It was actually about mid-April, smack in the thick of things, when we made our camping reservation for end of July. State parks were closed at the time but planning to reopen the beginning of June so we were hopeful, and desperate already just six weeks in. So we decided to throw caution to the wind and reserve three nights in July at Deception Pass.
Now, for any of you who have camped, specifically tent camping, know it’s a lot of work. For those of you who haven’t yet experienced the joys of tent camping…it’s a lot of work. Doubly so if you’re camping with kids. First, there’s the putting together of the things. Then, the inevitable taking apart of the things after what seems like five minutes and five years at the same time. In between there’s the sleeping on the ground, trying to avoid getting eaten alive by mosquitos, building fires for warmth at 7pm and 7am, cooking on a teeny tiny stove, constantly digging around looking for things despite all your best efforts to have a place for everything and everything in its place. And of course you will have certainly forgotten at least one important thing and two or more not quite as important things that would have made camping a lot easier on you if you hadn’t forgotten them even though you printed off the ultimate camping checklist from REI’s website and checked it off no less than five times.
However, despite all of this, hearing the sound of the cacophony of forest birds singing at the first day’s light is enough to make it (mostly) worth while. That first sip of percolated coffee after one of the most horrendous nights sleep you’ve had in as long as you’d care to remember tastes like liquid gold. And nothing, and I mean nothing, feels as good as that first night sleeping back in your own bed at home than after having been camping.
Of course, given the climate of current events, some extra precautions were taken. Masks were worn whenever in public bathrooms or in crowded areas. Sanitizing and hand washing was happening nonstop. The saddest part however, which we hadn’t really thought of beforehand, was the kids not being able to run off and play with neighboring kids camping. Last year my kids played nonstop with a family camping right next to us. This meant no complaining of boredom for the kids and a bit of sanity for the parents. This year there were plenty of kids but parents kept having to remind everyone to keep six feet social distance.
On the up side of that, the eight year old girl camping across from us and my almost eight year old daughter struck up a mini-friendship social distance style by sitting at the end of their respective campsites and chatting across the road. It was very sweet to see them trying to make the best out of a not ideal situation. And a bit bittersweet to see how much my little girl is growing up.
All in all, it was a great escape. Beaches, forest, hiking, fresh air, wild life, F-16’s roaring overhead day and night. Deception Pass is not far from Seattle, but far enough it felt like an escape to a distant land far from the worries of the world. Honestly, given a comfier way to sleep, I could have stayed longer. And even though I love camping (still?) I have a sneaking suspicion that I might become a glamper yet.