Friday, November 5, 2010

Not So Happy Campers (Part 1)

For the first year and a half of our marriage, we lived at a frantic pace.  In part, the demands of building a mission support team and preparing to move halfway around the world dictated the rush and busyness.  The rest of it we brought on ourselves with our lists of Things We Must Do Before We Leave America Forever.  (If you know our story, you can hear God laughing about that plan.)

Camping at Lost Maples State Park in the hill country of central Texas found a place on Allen’s list.  “The fall color is amazing,” he said.  “It’s so quiet and peaceful there,” he said.  “This will be a beautiful, romantic vacation weekend together,” I heard.  Accordingly, we booked our campsite for the end of October and begged or borrowed the most basic camping equipment for the trip.

Well, the trees did put on a prettier show than what we had back in Denton.

As to the rest, this trip proved one of those newlywed educational experiences.  The Thais call this “learning by doing,” their classic example being touching a pan on the stove to see if it’s hot.

By way of public service announcement, let’s review some of the lessons of the weekend.

1.   Traveling as a married couple works better if her pink hearing aids are tuned to the same frequency as his blue megaphone.  Case in point:  It never, ever occurred to A. to inform me that “primitive camping” means, “there is absolutely no way for you to brush your teeth or wash your face this weekend.  Even though we packed water, toothbrush, and toothpaste, there’s no environmentally appropriate way to dispose of the rinse water.”  Unless one swallows the toothpaste.  Which I might have done.

Meanwhile, it never, ever, ever entered my mind that otherwise sane adults would not only voluntarily undertake such horrific living conditions but actually pay for the privilege to ask him if there would be some sort of community bathhouse within an hour’s hike. 

2.       From approximately September to May, the wise person prepares for the unexpected when planning outdoor activities in Texas.  There is no excuse for our failure in this department.  We both have lived here long enough to know that camping in autumn means planning for a 50F temperature span on any given day, not to mention rain, hail, and possible tornadoes.

People like us, on the other hand, plan optimistically for a low temperature around 60F.  Instead, the overnight lows were near 40F.

3.       Contrary to popular belief, the wilderness is noisy at night.  Granted, the noises are not man-made, but this city girl finds the grumble of cars in the apartment parking lot and the hum of central heat much more soothing than the sounds coyotes, wildcats, insects the size of helicopters, and possibly wild boar and dragons.

4.       Country dark is darker than city dark.  The Mini Maglite from my purse is not adequate for this.

5.       Country dark + city eyes + mediocre sense of direction + multiple trips to the outhouse for every 12 hours of darkness = remarkably intensified prayer life

When Sunday (and the moderate weather we had expected) finally arrived, we took one more hike through the beautiful trees, ate the last peanut butter sandwiches, baby carrots, and protein bars, packed up the gear and empty water jugs, and trudged wearily out of the park to our car.

Allen may have been disappointed it was over; I was relieved to cross it off the list and wondering if Marks-A-Lot would be too subtle.

To be continued in tomorrow’s post… Oh, yes, there’s more!


  1. LOL Tina! I can totally relate - this city girl also has a hard time roughing it!

  2. Oh so funny! I love it! Brian wants to go camping so badly... and I am dragging my feet through the MUD!

  3. Just start with the tricycle, then the two-wheeler with training wheels. Leave the Harley in the garage a while.

    There are lots of parks with cabins with kitchenettes or screened cabins with bathhouses nearby. Less scary.

    Baby steps out of the comfort zone increase the chance of a positive experience.

  4. Ha, ha, and HA! A prayer warrior, huh? You bet outdoors is loud at night. We live right next to a pond, and when the boys sleep outside in a tent, the bullfrogs go nuts, impeding their sleeping schedule and nearly drown out the Adventures in Odyssey CDs they have going.

    No bears, though, and there is running water close by and toilets that flush. In Facebook parlance, "Like! Like!"

  5. @Rhonda Schrock I don't think there were real bears at Lost Maples either, only imaginary ones. Glad you liked the post.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.