I can still remember sitting outside in the back yard, seduced by the sweet summer air and half drunk on sun tea, when the suggestion of camping entered the conversation. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t heard the word several times already that summer, but it was the first time (in a very long time) that anyone actually used it in conjunction with “Do you want to go?” My inner lazy person screamed, “Oh, hell no!” but my outer ‘look at me I know how to have fun in the summer’ person thought it sounded like a lot of fun. Stupid bitch. Faster than a speeding bullet, I had the computer in my lap, the campground layout pulled up, and my credit card staring at me from the patio table. And even before I had taken the time to find out if I could get off from work, I was signing up the whole damn family for fun in the freaking sun.
Forget the fact that the amount of actual camping gear that we owned could fit in the back of a Prius (and still have room for one seven year old and all of this eight thousand stuffed animals) and that if it came down to it we’d all probably die of starvation if we had to count on cooking dinner over a campfire. We were in. Nostalgia for the old days oozed through my pores and I was ready to recreate my childhood for my own son. Climbing rocks, playing with sticks, taking long walks—maybe even get into the lake for a little swim—I couldn’t stop the memories from filling my mind.
The bonus to the whole excursion was going to be that my son was going to actually do camping with his cousin. Things were a little strange in the relationship department with the person we were going camping with since he had just recently gotten a divorce from my sister. I was determined that we weren’t going to lose our relationship because of circumstances and I was really looking forward to spending time with him and his family. They were all about the camping, and I was assured that if anything near fatal were to happen as we were playing Grizzly Adams, they would be able to help us out. Done deal. I was ready for the fun.
Living spitting distance from the Rocky Mountains, it was little strange to find myself driving over 2 hours in the opposite direction. If you’re not in the know about Colorado geography, that would be roughly 2 hours in the direction of dirt. Flat dirt. Brown dirt. Oh, and the occasional tree. We were heading for a lake that was, apparently, very popular with campers and place to have a great overnight (or two) experience. As we got further and further away from the Colorado I knew, I felt an equal mix of excitement and trepidation. It’s actually funny to think about how much emotion went into the whole damn thing. It was only going to be for two nights. Two freaking nights and my mind was in upheaval.
The people we were going to meet were already set up with their gear when we got there. They were already enjoying beer and horseshoes and didn’t have a care in the world. I was hyper aware that, while I couldn’t wait to get my camping started, we still had a lot of work to do before we could get to that point. We found our reserved spot and headed over to the party, super happy to see everyone. We chatted about the weather (it was super nice, except for the clouds that were forming over there) and before I knew it, the hubby had a beer in his hand. The rest of the gang were just about to head over to the swim beach and would we want to join them? Unpacking could happen later. Just come and have some fun.
You might think that I jumped at the chance to avoid anything resembling work for a couple of hours, but I was actually a bit perplexed on what to do. I keep saying ‘I’ as if I was the only one with a say in the decision. That would be incorrect. The boy was practically pulling on my leg begging to go swimming and the hubby was feeling pretty hot from the drive. They were all in for the swimming thing. I just kept looking at that cloud. It seemed to be getting bigger and I convinced myself that we were more than likely going to be caught in a rainstorm. My internal debate became, “Do we put up the tent now, so we have gorgeous conditions in which to work, or do we wait until after the storm and then have to put the tent up in the mud?” Well, I guess it wasn’t too much of an internal debate because before I knew it, we were back in the car and driving to the other side of the lake to get our swim on.
Now, lake water doesn’t really top my list of places to put my body, but in that moment I was beyond dedicated to fulfilling my camping fantasy and all about jumping in the water. Aside from a few f-bombs (uttered under my breath, I swear) when I found myself ripping the bottom of my feet on jagged rocks, things just sort of fell into place. The water was deliciously cool and the further I swam out the less rocks I found to hurt myself with.
We bullshitted and frolicked the afternoon away and we had the best time. Being me, however, I kept staring at the dark cloud that was now descending upon us at a furious pace. It was time to head back to the real world and get started on putting together our home for the next couple of days. The moans and groans were numerous, but I stuck to my mom guns. We had shit to do…