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"Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel business."
- Dave Barry  

I always felt that camping was a punishment.  One year I must have been particularly in need of penance because we went camping in the Lake George region of upstate New York.  Like waves crashing against a bulkhead plying nature's force in an effort to drag the heavy stones out to sea, rounds of misfortune conspired to erode any small pleasures the experience might bring my way.

We camped along the banks of the Schroon River, sleeping in rented pup tents until the rains turned the river into a menace and our pups took on the look of oversized wet t-shirts.  The floods only bullyragged us for part of the time.  The locals provided much of the fodder that overhung my spirits.

One fellow, who came to repair the showers and frighten the tourists, joined us for a beer around the campfire.  I am as gullible as the next guy and the next guy was accepting everything this fellow said as though a courier had brought it straight from on high.  As the man sipped his beer, he regaled us with stories about two kids who got eaten by a bear earlier in the year.  Given that I did not think that I could fend off a bear, I decided to let my sense of well-being wear away like the shores of the river with the receding waters. 

And speaking of the receding waters, our local friend also informed us that the river, in which, by the way, we let our kids go swimming, was teaming with water moccasins.  After listening to my personal oracle of doom, I began to believe that I saw little snake heads in the water.  The kids were having a ball floating down those mini-rapids near our campsite so I took a firm grip on my paranoia, lashed it to my chest, and watched the kids more closely.

The floods, bears and water moccasins may not have been the worst part of the trip.  It seems that whenever I go camping there is always something that someone desperately needs that is not available in the camp.  I find that after five or six trips to the store, I am inclined to want to throw over the whole Lewis and Clark thing and just stay in a nice motel somewhere in town. 

That always seems like a good idea to me because, I never get enough sleep when I am worrying about bears, snakes, floods and spiders.  I also find that the friends with whom I planned to enjoy the camping trip begin to remind me of unrefrigerated old fish.  Like all intimate relationships after a while it can be too much of a good thing.  By day three I begin to plot my escape and by day five I am actively looking for flint-like stones to fashion into poison darts.  Given my unkind thoughts perhaps I deserve to be punished but I intend to appeal all the way to the highest courts on the basis that camping is cruel and unusual.