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
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.