|Cape Lookout State Park|
I’ve wanted for a while to take my family camping, not just
hiking or picnicking, but actual camping where we would sleep in tents and cook
and eat outside. I’ve done quite a bit of camping in my life, but the rest of
my family has not. Previously every time I broached the subject my wife gave me
a concerned look and reiterated that she grew up in Los Angeles to
Fine. I needed to start at the beginning. The very
beginning. Perhaps the main thing I wanted to stress before the trip was that the
weather could be cold and rainy and, yes, we would be dealing with it and not
jumping into the car and fleeing to a hotel . In this regard our recent trip to
the Oregon coast was perfect, in that it was cold and rainy two out of the
three days we were there – and we
The other Big Picture idea was to try to explain what the
experience is all about. I told my kids camping is about bringing a limited
amount of gear to a place and living simply and close to nature.
This was important as we stayed at Cape Lookout State Park,
a popular place, with many huge RVs
sporting satellite dishes, generators, and most all of the amenities of home. I
wanted the kids to understand that basic camping requires practice and skill, using
what you have at hand to make yourself comfortable.
|Added bonus: Kids actually used sleeping bags for intended purpose.|
All the above points were lost on my seven-year-old, who
when told we would be sleeping in a tent and having a campfire needed no
additional information. My 10-year-old did ask me on a hike why I enjoyed
“I like letting my mind drift,” I said. “When I see only
trees, ocean and sky my brain feels relaxed.”
I don’t know if relaxing the mind was on her agenda, but she
had a great time hiking and appreciated the general togetherness.
Another concept I tried to impart on the family was responsibility
for oneself. In the morning I had the crew pack lunches which were stowed in day
packs as well as a variety of snacks. This was liberating for me not to be the Sherpa
of the group, telling whoever was thirsty or hungry to deal with it.
|Interpretive poses inspired by mass media?|
Generally everything went well. There was only one moment
when the kids, feeling beaten down by the rain, sat in the car and listened to
their iPods. They were cold and didn’t think of getting back into the tent,
feeling that was a place only for sleep.
We heard three ranger talks, did lots of hiking, and visited
the Oregon Aquarium. I opened my brain for some rather poignant campfire
stories about an imagined Polynesian island (more on this later, much later). Other
than some infected bug bites and constipation from the trail mix (problem now solved!) we are set for
another round sometime soon.