Growing up some of my fondest memories were when my parents would take my brother and I camping. While I’m sure it wasn’t as frequently as I recall, it felt like we spent every weekend somewhere up in the mountains enjoying getting dirty, climbing every rock within a 2 mile radius, and washing up in the freezing rivers. It would be next to impossible to pick out a single time that meant more to me than another, however there are a couple of things that really stand out in my mind.
As we would get closer to the camp spot (mind you, it had to be THE camp spot, not just A camp spot), Sam and I would always jump out of the truck and ride in the back – but only once we were on the dirt roads. I have this perfect mental image of my brother sitting in the back of the truck over one of the wheels with this ridiculous grin on his face, nearly flying out whenever we’d hit a big bump. Even though we’d been endlessly waiting for the moment we’d actually park, that time in the back of the truck never seemed long enough.
My dad would always make a swing out of a piece of firewood and some rope for Sam and I, so no matter where we were camping there would always be a makeshift swing somewhere near camp where we would take turns (probably swinging way too high). I just remember finally finding a camping spot and we would eagerly await the swing setup – as if that were the most important step of getting ready for our weekend adventure. But with all of the new things left to explore I really don’t have any recollection of swinging for more than a brief time at the very beginning of our trip (although I may just not remember!). We would always bring a big watermelon camping, which is funny only because I do not remember ever eating watermelon at home or at any time growing up when we were not camping. This obviously can’t be correct – no child grows up NOT eating watermelon – but its funny to me that I make the immediate connection watermelon = camping. We would keep it in the river to stay cold until just the right time (or until Sam and I would bug my parents enough to cut it up) and would devour the entire thing.
It makes me a little teary eyed to think about it – as we got older there were always better things to do – I was far too important to spend an entire weekend with my family (ha!). Plus, squeezing all four of us into that truck would have been a task in itself. Eventually my dad sold our camper, which to this day still kills me, but just two days ago my brother called me and said he thinks he found THE camper – for sale! Wouldn’t that be amazing.
When Zach and I found out we were going to be blessed with a baby of our own, one of the very first things that ever came to mind was camping. I wanted to relive all of those wonderful memories and give Matthew a chance to experience the mountains the way that I did when I was young. We tried last year – and went once – but he was obviously much too young to appreciate it. This year will be different since he’s discovered the wonders of dirt and rocks and carrying as many random objects as you possibly can, only to throw them into another random pile. I expect that my child will turn a grayish-black color within moments of our arrival, which is why I am bringing a makeshift bathtub so I can at least hose him down at night.
So, needless to say, I’m a bit ecstatic at the mere thought of our upcoming trip this weekend. It marks the true beginning of our mountain adventures as a family and I hope, one day, that my dad will be here to go with us as well and make Matthew a swing to play on.