At this time of year, a midst the mosquitoes and other wildlife, people everywhere take off with their coolers packed, their tent rolled, and most times, kids in tow. The outdoors family does not let anything stand in their way of the weekend family camping trip. Although I have never really seen the enamored attraction of pitching a tent and sleeping on the ground, I seem to be the minority among a lot of my friends.
Okay, I tried it. Once. A small tent, two people, a dog and the rain. I was a good sport about the adventure at first. I was even a little bit excited at the thought of “roughing it” for a weekend. I packed with all the requirements for a weekend getaway. I brought along my hair dryer, my straightener and of course the makeup. Everything was loaded into the car. The cooler, the tent, just the bare necessities of clothing, my salon essentials, the dog and one pair of shoes. I was on my way to enjoy a weekend that would be remembered for years to come.
Upon arrival, things weren’t looking so badly. After all, most of my friends were already pitched and ready and sitting beside a large campfire seemingly having a great time. This is when the work began, which seemed to be an oversight in disclosure by my weekend camping partner. I thought we would pull up a chair by the fire and join the conversation, but, no. Apparently the tent is the first objective to be addressed. It was a small tent, how long could that take? Let me tell you, a while. I was so worn out from the fun I was having that I feel asleep in front of the campfire and left to stumble through uncharted land in the dark to a tent. Remember, I said one pair of shoes. If I hadn’t known that I was wearing tennis shoes, I would have sworn they were duck shoes because they managed to find every puddle between the campfire and the tent.
The next morning, I woke up feeling a little braver and a lot stiffer. It was now time for the float trip. Another first for me, a canoe. Again, how hard could it be? Let me tell you, hard. Two people, a cooler and a dog. Oh, and my one pair of shoes, already wet and muddy from the trek the night before. The day went much as expected. In the middle of a river, in the middle of Missouri, in the middle of a canoe, I sat. In the rain. But not just rain. A thunderstorm. At least the mud was coming off of my one pair of shoes. You would think that the serenity of my surroundings would bring me closer to God, but in fact the closeness resulted from sitting in an aluminum canoe with lightening all around. I am not sure who was shaking worse, the dog or me.
Later that evening, we made it back to the campsite. I managed to get sunburn from the half hour of sun before the storm, covered in bug bites, and sand in my one pair of shoes. Camping at that point began to take on a whole new meaning to me. Where was this fun I heard so much about? So far my experience was blisters, bites, burns and stiff muscles. Walking up the hill with my shoes in hand, I heard laughter. All of my friends were once again circled around the fire seemingly having a great time. Sitting down, I decided to find out where this joy in camping had been hiding. And I found it. It was right there, around that campfire. The joy of togetherness, camaraderie. The feeling that we each had been through something terrible, but had conquered it as a whole. The feeling of friendship. Holding my shoes, I started to look around. Every pair of feet I looked at had shoes on quite different than mine. Why hadn’t I been let in on this secret? At first I felt left out and rejected. But, then it occurred to me. I had the secret. I was able to find the secret with the help of my one pair of shoes.
So, here is my secret. Before anything else, make sure that you have a good pair of shoes for camping before you go. There are many name brands suitable for camping and water. You don’t have to find out the way I did. HouserShoes.com carries shoes for the entire family in brands you know and trust. Teva, Keen and Chaco are only a few of the brands you can find at HouserShoes.com that will hold up to any family camping trip.
When thinking about that camping trip today, I remind myself of a few things. I voluntarily put myself there. I wasn’t threatened. I wasn’t dragged. I went by my own free will. I can say today that I went camping. With one pair of shoes.