The Joys Of A Summer Campout

Katie Young
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Wednesday - August 08, 2007

It has been a long time since I’ve “roughed it.” A lifelong “townie,” I can honestly say I have grown accustomed to life’s creature comforts - namely my bed, hot showers and my hair dryer.

This is why I haven’t been camping since, oh, the second grade. My family and I used to go with some friends to Malaekahana for a few nights of good outdoor fun.

When you’re a kid, camping is a blast. You don’t have to shower, you get to play at the beach all day long and, of course, there are campfires and S’mores.

Twenty years later, I still have two vivid memories of my times camping as a keiki: One involves a centipede, the other a rotten Easter egg.

On one particularly balmy night, my parents and I had retired for the evening and were sound asleep in our cozy tent that barely fit the three of us.

All of a sudden, my father felt something scurry across his feet. Still drowsy with sleep, he flicked his foot and the unwanted visitor went splat on the wall of the tent. Eerily illuminated by an outside lantern, the three of us could make out the silhouette of an eight-inch centipede as it ran down the side.

With much commotion, we scrambled from the tent screaming and flailing our arms. The centipede found refuge under our sleeping bags until my father had to go in and extricate the unwanted visitor from the premises.

Needless to say, none of us had a comfortable sleep that night.

On another camping adventure, I brought along my trusty toy hamster (a favorite bedtime friend), who I was certain would keep me safe from all the untamed bugs that lurked about.

I failed to do the same in return, however, because after our camping trip he spent a good two months stuck in the side pocket of my camping bag, lodged next to a forgotten hardboiled Easter egg I was apparently saving for later. Once freed, my stuffed friend was no longer welcome in my bed, as he smelled horribly of rotten eggs.

These two memories came to mind when my fiancé asked recently if I wanted to go camping.

“Just for two days ...” he assured. One night, two days. I could handle that, right? I wasn’t so concerned about stuffed hamsters and rotten eggs this time, but the bugs were still an issue. I don’t like bugs, especially ones that fly or bite. And the thought of even one night away from my bed, no makeup, no hot shower ... well, I needed some convincing.

“Where will we sleep?” I asked.

“In the bed of the truck,” he said. OK, that’s not so bad. Inflate the air mattress and we’re good to go. It sounded kind of romantic, actually, thinking of lying in the open bed of the truck, looking up at the stars.

There would be a big group so I didn’t have to be scared and didn’t really even have to worry about food. It was all planned out already.

I brought a hat so I didn’t have to worry about my hair dryer and I decided I could last a day without a hot shower.

It turns out that getting back to nature and “roughing it” after all these years isn’t so rough after all. Some of the friends with whom we were camping go often enough that they have it down to a science. They have portable showers that hook up to the top of their trucks, cozy cots to sleep on and portable burners and steamers to make oodles of tasty food. If you catch enough fish during the day, you have the freshest meal ever at night. If you get hot, take a dip in the ocean.

The wind picked up a bit at night, forcing me to cover my head completely with my blanket, but luckily, no unwanted bugs came calling.

It was truly beautiful and relaxing to sleep and wake to the sound of crashing waves right as the sun made its appearance on the horizon. I even found myself sitting on some beach rocks just listening to the wind, not thinking about a single thing, really.

Now I can say with certainty that this townie would definitely go camping again in the future, but truth be told, as soon as I got home the first thing I did was take a hot shower and a nice long nap on my bed.

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