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we returned earlier this afternoon from a 2-day camping trip at Payson Lakes campground in the Uinta National Forest w/my entire family (19 of us:  my parents, the 4 of us kids and our spouses, and all of our kids); I hate Hate HATE camping, and this trip did absolutely nothing to improve my opinion of it…  only 2 of the items listed below are specific to this trip; the rest of them seem to apply to every camping trip I’ve ever been on (this last trip makes the third time I’ve been camping in 20 yrs, and there’s a ruddy good reason for that); w/o further ado, I give you “15 Things I Hate About Camping”:

btw, if the list below doesn’t indicate to one and all that I’m NOT an outdoorsy person, then nothing will

1)  DIRT:  see my observation re: sand in my vacation post; it doesn’t “just” get ON everything, it gets EMBEDDED in everything (and I personally cannot stand the way sand OR dirt feel on my skin)…  I very nearly made my children bathe w/SOS kitchen pads instead of bath poufs after we got home, and anything worn or used while camping that can be washed in the washing machine MUST be washed separately from anything that was NOT used while camping (i.e., no putting stinky, smoky, filthy camping stuff in w/the regular laundry, on pain of death)

2)  bugs:  need I say more??

3)  smoke:  sure, maybe “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” is a great gimmick for a song, but it sure sucks for someone who already struggles w/irritated eyes due to allergies

4)  heat:  sun, fire, doesn’t matter — I don’t do well in heat, period.

5)  sun:  I’m fanatical about staying out of the sun, not just using sunblock — I repeat, I don’t do well in heat, plus I’ve NO desire to live on the edge when it comes to my skin (I’m not just talking about avoiding wrinkles; I have an extremely, unusually high mole count — every doc or derm I’ve ever seen has made that pronouncement — which makes me highly susceptible to melanoma)

6)  latrines:  yes, it beats having to dig our own, but t’would appear there are people in the world who just don’t understand that you HAVE to keep the lids down or it attracts flies like CRAZY, and there just really isn’t anything on Earth that one can do to make them smell the least bit tolerable

7)  dogs:  I’m not an animal person to begin with, and having little yippy “snack dogs” barking all the time seriously makes me rethink my decision not to own firearms; I’m especially not a fan of dogs large or small when their barking in the middle of the night sets the WOLVES howling across the mountain

8)  rude campsite neighbours who loudly sing camp songs AFTER designated camp “quiet hours” at 10PM (they’ve no idea how lucky they are that my DH didn’t let ME go over and “address” the problem)

9)  clueless campsite neighbours who’ve apparently done nothing to prepare their young children for sleeping away from home and instead let them cry and scream and carry on as if they’re being mauled by the aforementioned wolves and do precious little to shut them up  (btw, these are the same campsite neighbours as #8 )

10)  infantile campers several sites away who started shouting and arguing at the top of their lungs at 5AM

11)  sleeping is hard enough for me under the best of circumstances, due in large part to the insomnia caused by the severe hormone imbalance I struggle to manage, w/o having to combat items #7-10 above

12)  supervising kids in civilization is hard enough, especially mine, who all seem to be too dense to follow even the simplest instructions (like “don’t jump on the sofa” — the two youngest now get to spend the rest of the evening sitting on the floor, since they’ve demonstrated that they don’t know how to use the sofa properly); supervising them in the wilderness (even at an organized campsite) almost makes me understand why some spiders eat their young

13)  packing to go on the trip:  packing for a family of five — three of whom are children under age 8, and one of whom is a woman whose idea of “roughing it” is staying in a hotel w/o room service — is no picnic (pardon the pun)

14)  unpacking when we get home:  everything stinks and is absolutely filthy, nevermind my abject fear of “hitch-hikers” (read “bugs that decided to come home w/us in our gear”)

15)  the mere mention of ever doing something like this ever again, until my youngest is at least 10 (she’s 4-1/2)

so was there ANYTHING at all that I enjoyed, or even just kind of liked a little, about this trip?  shockingly enough, yes!  😉

1)  fresh fish:  my BIL Laem is Thai, and he caught several good-sized rainbow trout every day while we were there, smoked them, and fried them up on foil over the campfire — I happen to love fresh fish, particularly rainbow trout, and this was absolutely delicious! 🙂 it’s also worth noting that even our fish-hater family members — my mother, my youngest sister (Laem is her DH), my nephew, and our two boys — all tried Laem’s trout, and all of them liked it!

2)  I only had to prepare one meal the entire time:  our family divvied things up so that each family was basically responsible for one meal — we had dinner Fri night, so I fixed 18 chicken foil dinners at home and brought them w/us already prepared, along w/a large container of salad, and tomatoes and cucumbers, which I’d already slided and diced…  as much as I hate camping, I was pleased to get as many compliments as I did on the foil dinners, which are really quite simple:  sliced potatoes (I prefer Yukon golds for their buttery flavour), chicken breast tenders, thick carrot sticks (which I actually forgot this time, but I did put them in the foil dinners the first time I made them for my DH and the boys to go on a father-son camp-out), and sliced onions; all of this gets placed in the center of heavy-duty cooking foil, drizzled w/a bit of cooking oil (I used canola this time), and sprinkled w/a bit of ranch dressing mix (I get big containers of Uncle Dan’s mix at Costco), then rolled up into little packages; just don’t ask me about cooking times or temps, b/c Larry does the actual cooking, and he gets those instructions from my dad, who’s probably THE world’s biggest Boy Scout…

3)  the scenery was lovely:  it’s surprisingly green in the mountains of the Uinta National Forest, and I surprised myself by finding our surroundings actually quite lovely

4)  cheap entertainment:  it was quite amusing to watch the prairie dogs coming in and out of the campsite around breakfast and dinner times (they’re smart enough to stay underground — where it’s cool — during the heat of the day at lunchtime); there was a family of 3 (that we could tell) that managed to make their way through most of the main area around the fire pit and tables, looking to see if we’d been sloppy enough to afford them a generous meal of table scraps (we weren’t — most of us moms were too paranoid about attracting wolves, bears, and other larger wildlife, and we picked up everything our kids dropped, which was surprisingly less than usual)

5)  audible beauty:  the tiny bright speck in my abyssmal first night there (which consisted of maybe 3 hrs of sleep, and certainly not all together) was the quiet whispering of the wind in the tall grasses and through the aspen leaves

but don’t think for an instant that any of that means I’m not dead serious about never going camping again until the kids are quite a bit older…

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