It was my little secret. During our ten years of marriage I never felt it necessary to divulge. I never really faked it, only because there were so few times when I had to endure it; it meant so much to him and it was supposedly a common interest. Instead I remained silent. It all started after only a couple months of dating. In an effort to appear laid back, I failed to explain the whole truth – it was semantics.

“Camp? Of course, I camp” were the words I once uttered to Brian. He invited me tent camping during spring break of our senior year of college. Newly coined the term boyfriend, our relationship was as fresh as the new buds on the trees under which our tent stood. I couldn’t dare say the rain, lack of stove, flush toilets, etc. were deterrents to pass on the trip. I also decided to leave out the point that likely my definition of camping was slightly cushy relative to his. In hindsight, I think I didn’t realize the difference of our versions of camping either. After all, my childhood vacations were spent in Yosemite; however, it was in the comfort of my parent’s camper. If it rained, we only knew from the delay in our hike and the sound of drops pattering on the roof. Bears? They would have to get through a lot of metal before they reached us.

Our college camping trip was very wet, but I was so smitten over Brian, my damp clothes and chilled bones went overlooked. It was some time again before we camped and it was during the summer, so the dry weather worked in my favor. We did actually cut that trip short by a day so as to spend more time in Napa: his idea, not mine, although I suggested it and convinced him of the benefits.

Then, many years later, the idea of camping and Yosemite surfaced again. Our kids of an age that the trip would be appreciated, I couldn’t help but recall my warm childhood memories of that infamous national park and want them to experience the same. Brian and I knew campsites were nearly impossible to come across, so the night before they opened for reservation, we had our phone, computer and laptop all set up. We set our alarm early and the moment the clock reached 7:00am, we pushed “reserve.”   Gone: section after section was disappearing and no matter how many times we hit the button, the campsites were flying away. Finally, after almost half a dozen tries, we snagged one site in Lower Pines for five consecutive nights. Within one minute all sites were sold out. Relieved and excited, we headed back to bed on that Saturday morning.

Building up the trip to the kids, they couldn’t wait to go camping. They had not been since Australia and the littlest was too young to remember. We talked endlessly about Yosemite, ready for the kids to relish in all of its glory: Vernal Falls, Half Dome, Curry Village and Mirror Lake.

Before we knew it, our July reservation was fast approaching. We pulled out all of our old camping gear. The last time we opened those boxes was in Australia, so I was quite weary of a horrific snake or spider jumping out at me. Brian said even if something were in there, it would be dead. As far as I’m concerned, those Australian creatures are so lethal and immune to Australia’s environment, they could definitely still be alive in the cranny of my camping teapot.

Our vacation date was upon us and while excited, I had a nudge the trip was going to be a lot of work. Some of our friends hinted we would need a vacation from our vacation. I wanted to prove them otherwise. We crammed into our car after Brian put the camping contents inside like a jigsaw puzzle. Being the last one in, I squeezed into the front seat, gearing up for a snug ride. I looked back and you could barely see the kids under their pillows and plethora of entertainment. To theirs and our dismay, our SUV did not come equipped with a TV, so our 16-hour journey was going to take some creativity – you know, like back in the olden days when we were all kids.

We headed south for miles and miles and miles and I continued a mantra in my head that I was going to love camping, even without a camper….

Post 1…Stay tuned…


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