I hate camping.

This past weekend, I went camping with my family.  Just a short trip, for two nights and three days, we ventured to Pinery Provincial Park, on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron.  But I have a shameful secret to share:

I hate camping.

It’s true.  And now I feel exposed and raw and vulnerable.  You now know the real me, one that includes a hatred of camping.

I grew up in the foothills of the Alberta Rockies, and regularly went camping with my parents and brother.  I don’t remember loving or hating it, it was just something we did every Summer, and I would bring my books and fishing rod and head out into nature for a few fresh air sleeps.  Back then, I lived in a small town, and “nature” was a big part of my everyday, so camping wasn’t much of a stretch beyond my normal.  But now, living in a very urban centre, it’s more of an adventure for my city kids to camp.  And they love it.  We go annually, and my husband and I suck up our camping aversions, load up the SUV until we can’t see out the windows, and take our children to a campsite for a few days of marshmallows, lake swims, and free-range parenting.

Logically, I can’t quite figure out my negative feelings towards camping.  I love the campfire part, the fresh air part, the hikes, the swims, the fishing, and the tent sleeps.  But the higher-maintenance part of me wants clean feet and easy access to coffee, and I still haven’t figured out how to cook a gourmet meal on a campfire, like I see our camping neighbors doing.  In fact, just last night I overhead a mother tell her son they were having Tex-Mex fajitas as I choked down my burnt hot dog and lukewarm beans.  Sigh.  And I can’t quite understand the appeal of spending hours making lists, grocery shopping, and packing the car, only to head to a campground to try to emulate the comforts of home.  To each their own, and a true camper I am not.

I am writing this post from my iPad in the car, on our way back to Burlington.  My grimy, exhausted children are colouring in the backseat, and my hairy, sweaty husband (he just wrestled the tent back into its bag.  Another question: WHY OH WHY are tent bags always so small???) is looking for the nearest Tim Horton’s.  In a couple of hours we’ll be home, and I’ll be scraping the filth off of me and washing campfire smoke out of my hair so that I can head into work and look forward to a blissful sleep in my own bed.  But first, we’ve got a few hours of unpacking, de-sanding, and laundry to tackle.

Happy children.  Check, check, double-check.  So I can pretend to love camping for a few days a year.