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A Great Camping Trip

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Last weekend David, Ray, and his next door neighbor kid, Chris, and I went camping. It was Gallup, NM Pride weekend, and we always set up an informational booth at all, or most all, of the pride events in NM. So, we decided to make it a vacation too. We left home on Friday at noon and set up camp at Bluewater Lake State Park just outside of Grants, NM. Now, we are tent campers. No motor homes for us. But, given the fact that I like a little luxury in my life, we have a large two room tent. The kids slept in the back room while David and I slept in the front room, cuz we knew that we'd be up later than they were, so didn't want to waken them as we stumbled to bed. We use cots to get us off the ground, air mattresses to help sore muscles and bones, and of course pillows for sleepy heads. Gallup Pride was on Saturday, but we spent Sunday just hanging out before heading home on Monday.

I do all the cooking, and every meal is planned out. We even enjoy a bottle wine with our meals with candles, wind permitting. Smores are a staple around a campfire every evening. I can't get anyone to join me in campfire songs though.

I took Ray fishing along the banks of the lake and tried to catch muskies. We tried for trout, but they weren't biting. Ray had never used a spinning real before, so I taught him how to use it. He caught on quickly. I couldn't fish, as I didn't have a license, so I let him do all the work. Unfortunately, the only hing he caught was the heal of my foot when he let the lure go too quickly and it landed on the back of my heal. Ouch!

I took the boys swimming in the lake by the boat launch area, and they loved it. Of course I stood guard on the shore watching and playing life guard. My not swimming had nothing to do with the fact that the water was fricking cold! We met a 15 year old boy that came down to swim with my two boys. It seems that he lived in one of the small group of homes (trailers) just outside of the park. He had no friends his age in the place that he lived, so he would come into the park and make friends with the camper's kids. He was great with Ray and Chris, throwing them around in the water, stealing Chris' shoes so Chris had to walk on the stones, and generally having a lot of fun. Every time he threw the kids up to splash back into the water, he would look at me on the shore for some kind of approval. I let him go as he wasn't malicious, just having fun, as were my two boys. I asked him about school, and he said that he was just entering HS in the Fall as he had taken a year off. He didn't explain why, and I didn't ask. Ray asked me if he could have dinner with us, and as I had planned on a huge portion of (my world famous) lasagna made in a camp cast iron dutch oven with coals. I said, "Of course. We have plenty." He seemed like a good kid, if not lonely.

I love camping in the outdoors to get away from civilization, but I find the campers next to me are also very civilized. It seems to be a common thread amongst campers that we enjoy the sights of nature and the ability to try to be self reliant.

The trip home was boring, as is usually the case when you keep thinking about the trip and how you don't want to go home. But, life must go on.

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As Cole said, a great report. I used to love to go camping on weekends in the mountains when I lived in Korea and there was never a shortage of neighborhood city kids in Seoul who'd love to go along and do most of the manual labor. Thanks for your narrative and for triggering great memories for me!


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I have tried to go on two camping trips... one got rained out and the other missed because of a broken ankle. But, all I have read here and what my brothers have told me, I have got to get out in the woods! (I do not count camping in the back forty as real camping.)

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Ahh, into the great outdoors. Camping appeals to the sense of primative in most humans. Except for those who take their monster RV's into state parks and sit in them watching television and cooking on the propane stove. To be a true camper you must sleep in tents or under the stars, I am sure Richard agrees.

To have that camping experience you must take kids along. (Not like I am going wash all those ugly pots after cooking over an open fire, that's their job) Campfires are manditory, except when the forest is tinder dry and the Park Rangers view any open flame as a threat to wildlife and their jobs.

Wildlife: in a suburban setting that will mean birds, squirrels and perhaps the occasional raccoon. The remote woods contain the larger creatures we all fear, and there is great fun in scaring the crap out of young kids with tales of bears eating people. Bears don't really eat people, but they would like another one of your sandwiches. (hold the mustard this time, please) But what fun it is to hear a young boy scream like a little girl when he gets up at dawn to go pee on a tree and discovers a snake curled up on the doorstep of your tent. (they come for the warmth you see)

Thanks for the vision and the memories, Richard. Camping with Gay Pride, and you can be proud of going camping. Kids need exposure to the great outdoors. It teaches them about nature and our place in it. One of these days your kids may take their kids out camping and you will have passed along a good deal of wisdom in the process. Peace.

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Camping is something I've been doing since I was a young boy and is something I look forward to doing every year. Being surrounded by awe-inspiring Canadian wilderness makes it almost a crime not to go and enjoy it. From week long backpacking trips in the backcountry to a motorhome plugged into all the utilities, we've pretty much done it all, though these days I tend to lean towards a bit more on the comfort side of things. Still, we're heading out for a few days next week, tent camping, but still nice and comfy on air-beds.

There hasn't been a summer we haven't gone out for at least a few days camping for as long as I remember. It's just something we do. This year we'll be camping at a nice sandy beach on a warm lake.

There's nothing quite like it, as long as you don't mind being a bit dirty for a few days.

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My dad took me hiking and backpacking (which includes do-it-yourself camping) from the time I was ten. When I met Doug and we became friends he was included on all of our hikes and trips (unless he had something to do with his family). We did day hikes in the Bay Area, and went backpacking in all of the national parks in the Sierra and in Lassen National Park and on Mount Shasta. I love hiking and backpacking, though we haven't done any backpacking since we started college. As soon as we have our advanced degrees we plan going backpacking when we have time off and the weather is good – nothing wrong with being a wuss when it's in the upper 90's or there's three feet of snow on the ground! Of course, when there's three feet of snow on the ground by brother Chris and I will go crosscountry skiing, though backpacking isn't part of that kind of recreation.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I suppose you spent a lot of time in those parks. I think it would have been fantastic to live there, with easy access to Lassen and Shasta and other places where you could hike and backpack.

Colin ;icon_geek:

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I love camping, both the minimalist kind, a tent just big enough to sit up in and everything light enough to carry on your back, and the other kind, sometimes called glamping, where the tent is as big as a house and is carpeted and provided with electricity and a separate kitchen. Next month I'm off for a weekend camping at Symonds Yat, a particularly beautiful stretch of the Wye river on the border between England and Wales, and will be using it as a base for two days canoeing on the river. Looking forward to it...

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Welsh is a wonderful language. At any time any character in the alphabet can be a vowel. Otherwise how would you explain the name of the Welsh town Cwm?

Colin :icon_geek:

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