I love being out in nature. I find nature inspiring and the more time I can spend in nature the better, it relaxes me. I am not however, a fan of camping so much. I do it, but the older I get, the more amenities I like to have, like a cot, plenty of blankets, warmth, things like that. I have also found that having the right gear to wear for the weather makes a huge difference in how much fun camping is. If I can stay dry and warm, I am in much better spirits than when I get cold and/or wet. My boys and husband went on a camping trip this past Friday night/Saturday morning for a Young Men’s activity with my Church. The weather this time of year is cool and rainy, this time they got snowed on Saturday morning. The boys had a great time, my husband was glad to be home. This type of activity does not interest me in any way, shape, or form.
I think my dislike of camping however comes from the first 17 years of our marriage. When my husband and I got married he had some property and he had previously built a shop building on it. But the building was just a shell. There was no insulation, a dirt floor, no water, no plumbing, no electricity. We arrived in Alaska in September and were able to get the concrete floor poured. We then spent the winter in a house that his brother owned that wasn’t finished. Our job was to finish that house so that it could be sold. We then went to Alabama to work for several months and came back to Alaska in the spring.
That summer we worked and were able to purchase a foam insulation machine that we insulated our shop with as well as several other people’s attics and shop buildings. We had thought about possibly doing that for a living but once we had done several, decided that wasn’t what we wanted to do all the time. At any rate, we got the shop insulated. We moved our travel trailer inside the shop, which had a wood stove, and we lived in the shop, in the travel trailer for about 6 years working on getting the inside finished while we lived in it.
About 3 years after I arrived in Alaska, we were able to get a well drilled. Having water is something so many people take for granted, but not something I will ever take for granted again. You would not believe how nice it was the first time I was able to flush a toilet in my own house, well shop any way! We moved the travel trailer out of the shop after about 6 years because our family would be growing to 4 people that summer and we needed more space. We set up a temporary kitchen near the front door. The only sink in the building was a laundry sink at the back by the bathroom, so the kitchen didn’t have a sink in it, and we hauled the dishes back to the laundry sink the whole time we lived there.
7 years after I arrived in Alaska, we got electricity. Prior to that we had a generator. We ran the generator for 2-3 hours in the evening so that we could pump water and get the kids bathed and do dishes and things. On Saturday’s I would run it for several hours during the day so that I could do laundry and the deeper cleaning. Electricity is another thing that I have learned to be very grateful for. We continued living in the shop for the next 10 years after electricity as we saved for and built our home so that we could stay out of debt. It was a long process of temporary living in what some might consider substandard housing, but it worked ok for us, and our kids were small.
Since then, I have been quite uninterested in camping. My kids have often asked why. They never had to haul water because by the time they were born we had the well. They don’t remember never having electricity. The youngest of our 4 children doesn’t even really remember living in the shop very well. The older kids didn’t know anything different, looking back they have very fond memories of being in the shop. I too have fond memories, but I also remember the inconveniences of living without water, without electricity, of trying to cram 6 people into a very small space without any walls except the bathroom.
There are many aspects to camping that I really do love. I love sitting around a campfire, but now I have a firepit right here in my yard. I love being able to go hiking, but I have so many hiking trails, some within walking distance of my front door, some I need to drive to, but they’re right here, I don’t really have to go very far. People love camping in the woods, but I live in the woods, I don’t have to go somewhere to get out away from people and into the woods. Lots of people go camping so they can go fishing. Again, some of the best river fishing in Alaska is right here in Willow, less than 5 miles from my home and I can always wander over there if I have a desire to fish.
I really do love nature, but I also love that I can enjoy it from the comfort of my own home. I can be outside by the fire, hiking any number of trails, fishing or whatever, and then I can then go home at night and sleep in my own warm bed at night, getting a great night sleep so that I can wake up the next day mentally and physically prepared for my next adventure. I still camp once in a great while, but 17 years of what felt like camping have cured me of any desire to go do that for “fun” on a regular basis.