This Campsite Is So Luxurious… Said No One Ever

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Topic came from here.

I have never slept outdoors in a tent. It’s okay; please don’t feel sorry for me. I plan on keeping this accomplishment for the rest of my life — barring any apocalyptic scenarios of zombies, worldwide power loss, or asteroid collision with Earth.

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Zombies have taken over the world? Okay, give me a tent. Otherwise, I’m sleeping inside.

Camping outdoors in a tent will never appear on my bucket list because I don’t do sleeping on the ground. In fact, I don’t even do sleeping on the floor. As a kid, when I spent the night at a friend’s house, I was a pro at finagling the couch or some sort of sleeping apparatus that didn’t leave me directly on the floor.

What? Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.

Oh, but it’s magical to sleep under the stars and listen to the sounds of nature? You know what else you end up sleeping under? Rain. Those sounds of nature? Bears, coyotes, mountain lions. I’ll stay in my bedroom, open my blinds, and raise a window, thankyouverymuch.

The most rustic camping experiences I have had happened in high school when I joined the marching band. At the beginning of August — or perhaps the end of July, whichever best qualifies as The Armpit of Summer — we had a week-long camp at a God-forsaken place in the Deliverance corner of Oconee County, South Carolina. My mom once told me that when we pulled up on that Sunday afternoon, she almost turned the car around and took me back home.

The cabins (and I use that in a sense looser than Miley Cyrus at the VMAs) consisted of a plywood exterior with the interior frame exposed on the inside — only that technique was not for aesthetic reasons — and I don’t think the builders knew what a level was.  The “windows” were openings along the ceiling covered with chicken wire and wooden shutters that lowered from the inside. Campers who slept in the top bunk were responsible for closing the shutters before bed.

A single light bulb with a pull chain dangled from the ceiling in the middle of the room. We could almost see through the wooden slats that served as our floor, and sweeping all day long did no good against the wisps of dry Carolina red clay that skittered across the floor. And speaking of skittering, the different species of creepy crawlies that made their way around the cabins all day and all night would have given an entomologist a boner.

Laura Ingalls Wilder probably had more amenities in her prairie home than we had at that camp, mmkay?

For my first year attending band camp — right before my junior year — the girls’ cabins had no attached bathrooms. We had to go up a hill, so we were motivated to work on expanding our bladders in order to avoid taking a potty trip in the middle of the night. Luckily, for my second (and last) year of camp, the two girls’ cabins were joined by the bathrooms, so no overnight pee treks with a flashlight.

The bad news was that I was the last girl to arrive, so I got the solitary bed in the middle of the room — the bed that sat in the center of all those mountain air drafts that filtered in and swirled around my shivering ass. The sheet and flimsy blanket I had packed were of no use, and I woke up on the last day of camp with a lousy sore throat.

Obviously, I survived both instances, but I don’t think travelers should come away from a trip longing for their own beds. I want to leave a destination wistful, not wanting it to end; instead, I left this place wanting to give it the middle finger salute as I rode back down the gravel driveway entrance.

I don’t mean to sound like a spoiled prima donna. I promise I don’t pitch a hissy fit if there are green M&Ms but no chilled bottle of Cristal in my hotel room. I believe my requirements are not that extravagant — four walls, a door that locks, air-conditioning/heat, indoor plumbing, real windows, a bed that sits off the floor, and pest-free surroundings.

So unless your accommodations include the above, don’t expect me to stay with you. I’ll reserve my room at the Hampton Inn — free breakfast, you know.

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7 thoughts on “This Campsite Is So Luxurious… Said No One Ever

  1. After camping the last few years, I wholeheartedly agree with “I don’t think travelers should come away from a trip longing for their own beds.” I’m too old to be sleeping on the ground – says my body from each aching muscle. Even hotel rooms are suspect these days – lumpy mattresses, the obligatory check for bed bug bites in the morning. Sleep is elusive enough on its own, without all the other distractions!

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    • Yes, age definitely has something to do with it for me now, but I really had no use for it when I was younger either. I have a really faint memory of camping with my parents and grandparents, but they had a camper. Thanks to being child-free, I’ll never have to worry about chaperoning a camping trip with a Girl Scout troop or something similar. 🙂

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  2. I haven’t watched television or played video games since I was a child, so we’re probably even as far as shocking revelations go…

    But the post title is in error, I’ve heard that said several times, always for the same reason: better views than houses and hotels can offer. The sense of personal accomplishment that comes from carrying everything you need for half a week up a mountain and watching the Milky Way pass over the glacier is something money just can’t buy, too.

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    • Hi Forrest, thanks for reading and commenting!

      While I can appreciate the boost in self-confidence one might feeling in roughing it, I readily recognize that I’m not up for that challenge. By no means am I one who avoids nature altogether (as a friend of mine describes himeslf, an “avid indoorsman”), but I believe I can and do push my boundaries in other ways.

      And whoever does enjoy schlepping around national parks with backpacks and bedrolls, I wholeheartedly wish them all the starry nights in the world. To each his own…

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      • It was an interesting read, and (for me) a fresh perspective. 🙂

        I’m not trying to convince you to go camping, no one knows better than you what you’re going to enjoy and what you won’t. I just want to point out that there are indeed some luxuries that go with sleeping on granite, even if they don’t appeal to everybody. (And even if you can get some of them by browsing peoples’ photo blogs.)

        I’ll give you one more example, then I’ll stop pestering you until another of your posts catches my attention. 😉 A few weeks ago I hiked across North Cascades National Park. I carried an orange for two days, before I ate it sitting on the bank of the Stehekin River. My god, it was sweet! It was the best orange I’ve had in my entire life. It took a couple days of eating freeze dried gruel in the presence of bears and bunnies to make me really appreciate the deliciousness of a ripe fruit. I had another one as soon as I got back, it wasn’t as good…

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        • I understand where you’re coming from, and I didn’t necessarily think you were trying to convince me of anything. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

          And I did pop by your site, your treks along the roads less traveled has offered you many breathtaking sights. I’ll give you that. 🙂

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