Monday, October 5, 2009

Camping Out Equals Staying in a Cheap Motel

That's the way I used to feel, anyway. My family and I did quite a bit of backcountry camping when I was a child; in fact, that's the only kind of camping we did. So a few years ago, when Dh mentioned camping to me, I said, "Not interested, thanks." But that's when I learned about camping in a state park. There were toilets! There were hot showers! There were grills! There were concrete picnic tables! And the ultimate amenity: each campsite had a water spigot AND electrical outlets! This was more like it. We've now been camping a few times. We're practically professionals.

This past weekend, we camped at Tallulah Gorge State Park in northeast Georgia. The gorge itself, with the Tallulah River running through it, is astounding. After an initial spell of vertigo passed (at the first overlook), I was able to stand at the guardrails and look out at the cliffs across the gorge and down at the river and several waterfalls below. It was all simply stunning.

That evening after supper, we drove into the town of Tallulah Falls for an outdoor bluegrass "jam," complete with bonfire. It was chilly once the sun set, but worth it. The music was fun, and the scene couldn't be topped for small-town local color.

Now, I know lots of people for whom camping really does mean a stay at a cheap motel. But the truth is that camping is sort of quirky, and I like quirky. When we camp out, we necessarily drop the artifices that are so much of our daily lives. No one wears fancy clothes. Make-up is practically non-existent. People are friendly, waving at you as they drive slowly by, saying hello while they brush their teeth at the sink next to yours in the restrooms. And where else will you see complete strangers in their pajamas except at a campground? For a few days, we drop the masks that hide us from the rest of the world. We freely offer and accept grace. For a little while, we can see each other as we really are.

3 comments:

  1. Ellen! I finally figured out how to leave a comment on your blog! It was great reading about what you have been doing as a family. I enjoyed reading your comments about tea, and your camping adventure. My friend Anne was born in England, and has a dual citzenship so she would relate to your love of English tea.

    Everything is good here. Just busy with the everyday stuff and baby sitting while keeping on top of school and activities. You know the drill!

    Hubby and sporty girl closed the camp while blondie and I did projects here. We have a wedding to go to this weekend, so first time in many years that hubby is not in Maine for Columbus Day weekend. Have a great week, and give my love to everyone!

    Love,
    Gerri

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  2. Melinda (your beloved cousin)October 27, 2009 at 8:31 AM

    Unfortunately, dear heart, I have seen total strangers in their (indecent) pajamas at the continental breakfast at nicer hotels. My children were not happy with me for making them get dressed before we went to breakfast. However, they have recovered. I would think that the lack of "easy" heat in a tent would make a difference in the type of pajamas you see at a campground, but I can't say for certain. I only go camping if the trailer is hooked up. I let G. and the boys do all the tent camping! They love it! I have too many memories of the out-house in Grandmother Fitzpatrick's cow pasture!

    I can't believe you have had a blog since May and didn't let me know! Do you know of any other bloggers I know in real life? Sisters, other cousins? You will definitely be added to my favorites!

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  3. Hello, beloved cousin! I'm glad you found me and my blog. :-) And no, I don't know of anyone else in the family who has one. Thanks for reading and commenting! Love to you!

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