Mader: Camping |

Mader: Camping

I didn’t grow up camping. In fact, during my whole growing up years I never went camping. Honestly, I didn’t see the appeal. When I was a kid my whole family spent a lot of time outside doing chores, mowing lawns and farming so when we went on a trip we all wanted to stay in the air conditioning of a hotel.

I was 22 and newly married the first time I went camping. My husband and I met some of his family in Wyoming. We stayed in a tent, ate food around the campfire and went fishing. It was all really exciting because I had never done anything like that before. During our two days in the Tetons I thought I became a camping pro. Like always though, pride came before the fall. On our last day of the trip we went to float down a river — another new adventure for me.

My husband’s family had floated down a river many times before, so I am going to use that as an excuse for what happened next. Things went well at the rental tube station. I got an inner tube and was ready. That was the easy part. And, come to find out, the only part I was successful at.

We all got into the river to go on a relaxing ride. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to get the inner tube to go. I didn’t know that someone could fail at tubing, but I proved it was possible. I put the tube in the water, got inside, and hoped the current would take me downstream. The current cooperated for all seven other people in the group, but it refused to carry me. I spent the whole ride frantically paddling with my arms, spinning in circles and floating a ridiculously-far distance away from everyone else. No one could figure out how to help me and I still think they are laughing about it now. Purely by the grace of God I made it to the end. I vowed I would float again someday and show them all up. I still need to make good on that promise (and figure out a way to practice floating skills in the meantime).

After that trip, it seems like we started moving all over the western U.S., so we never made time to go camping again. We had two kids and kept moving. The kids have grown up and by circumstance we have become city people so the idea of camping came up again. Both of my kids love the outdoors and have begged and pleaded to go camping. The summer before last we finally made their dreams come true and took them to Taylor Park near Gunnison, Colo.

Our trip wasn’t a real rustic camping trip — we stayed in a cabin — but the kids still had a great time. We went with my parents, grandparents and my brother and sister-in-law. It was one of those unique, multi-generational trips. We all stayed in a big cabin and the kids got to ride ATV’s in the woods and they went fishing for the first time. They were hooked. They both decided they love camping and can’t wait to go again. We didn’t make it last year, but the kids have been begging to go this summer so we are going to try and make it happen.

I am up for it all — staying in tents, cooking outdoors, hiking, fishing — the whole thing. We just won’t be floating any rivers.


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