Thoughts On Camping

Next week, a bunch of us are going camping in Yosemite.  And as I am preparing for the trip, I got to thinking about my younger days and how my version of camping now is a lot different from back then.  My version now consists a lot of throwing things into a box and then throwing that box into the car with a tent, sleeping bag, and some food.

My family did NOT roll like this when we went camping when I was little. First off, we didn’t really care where we went.  If we ended up in a little campsite wedged between the road and a river, that was cool. The destination didn’t matter as much as “How Good Is the Campsite?” This was something Grandpa liked to do while driving around: check out various campgrounds.  We would drive around and see if this campground was better than ours now, the one we had last year, or even our backyard. There were certain things that made a good campsite and campground: 1) Restrooms needed to have at least a flush toilet, and preferably showers. 2) The ease of getting the trailer into the spot. (Pull-throughs were Grandpa’s favorite.) 3) The view. Namely, can you see other people through the trees? Other factors included how good of a firepit and how long of a walk it is to the bathroom.

Second of all, we didn’t GO anywhere once we got to the campsite.  I remember seeing campers and motorhomes with people towing cars and Jeeps behind them and wondering, “What are they going to do with those cars?  Where are they going to go?  There isn’t anything to DO around here, anyway!”

Third of all, setting up camp was an ORDEAL. We hooked the camper trailer up to Grandpa’s truck, drove it a few hours — not too long because Grandma and Grandpa didn’t like to take the trailer too far — and we would pull into our aforementioned cased paved campsite.  As Grandpa & Grandma levelled out the trailer, which was accompanied by a lot of mumbled swear words, my dad and I would try to put up the kids’ tent, which was accompanied by a lot of shouted swear words on my dad’s part with Mom whispering in the background, “Hush! There are people right there!” Then when that was done, we would proceed to make camp look and feel as much like home as we could (clothesline, chairs, ottoman, towel warmer) and then we would all take a nap.  Setting up camp is HARD!  Needless to say, our biggest worry was whether or not the water was hot enough for our showers later.

These were our “roughing it” trips.  When we actually travelled distances to The Great Outdoors, such as Yosemite, we went in a car, got a hotel room or rented a cabin, and DROVE through the park.  Like normal tourists.  We took pictures of El Cap from the side of the road like everyone else. But then I learned that you can actually DO things when you go camping besides read books in your tent and play cards with your grandpa.  (Thanks Grandpa, for teaching me everything I needed to know about Blackjack before I was 10, so that when I moved to Nevada, I had the upper hand.)

So, in preparation for our camping trip to Yosemite, I had to buy new hiking shoes.  I say “had to” because the last pair I owned are worn down to the rubber soles and last year I used hiking sandals, which kinda hurt my feet. (Although they are very cool for short hikes.) And I say “had to” because camping trips with my friends now is NOTHING like camping with my family. Hikes are mandatory.

Anyhoo, I headed to Scheels, armed with my credit card and determination to buy shoes that might not look super cute, but will not kill my toes and ankles when I am slowly hauling my big butt up an intimidating mountain.  Because the LAST thing I want to be thinking about when I am having an asthma attack is how my feet hurt. (Did I mention the ONLY reason I go hiking is to get cool pictures?  Either that or I am crazy. Or a little of both.)

So there I am at Scheels, trying on about 7 pairs of shoes and testing each out on a steep ramp (to ease any concerns about my toes) and I found them!!  AND they were on sale.

AND they aren’t ugly!  So I can look super sexy as I am gasping for breath and telling everyone else, “No.  I’m OK.  Go ahead without me.  Leave me behind!  I am only hindering you! Please, for the love of God, call Life Flight. I’m gonna die.”

I also got these socks, because they say that it isn’t the shoe that gives you blisters, it is the cheap cotton socks I am wearing.

I have to say, after days and days of wearing these shoes around work to break them in, I agree with the sock comment.  Cotton socks rub my ankles sore, even just walking around work!  So, stay tuned to see how my feet fare next weekend, because I know you are sitting on the edge of your seat.

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