Sunday, April 15, 2012

Another Story about Camping

Oh where do I start.
Maybe I start back at the two days I spent putting camping equipment together, packing everything I needed into camping sized bags then carefully piling it up in our study.  Or do I start by the time I spent planning our trip and finding and booking accommodation.  Or even do I start at the cleaning and tidying, laundry washing and folding I did before we left?

I'm not sure.
So perhaps I'll start the moment in the late afternoon sun on a public holiday, we unpacked our tent after carefully choosing a camping spot in a deserted camping ground in Mudgee (empty of tents, plenty of warm campers though), after a lovely day exploring inland NSW on a crisp autumn day.
Two words.
There were none.
Now we have a Taj Mahal sized tent with a games room and mezzanine floor that requires many attempts and bitten finger nails to get up.  It's the kind of tent that really, truly does need tent poles.
I stood there in shock, The Husband and I spent some time pointing silent fingers at each other. But in my heart of hearts and in my martyrdom, I knew I had organised the camping stuff.  Tension was at fever pitch.  If a word of blame had been mentioned, a brawl would have erupted for all of those tucked warmly up in their campers to watch.
The Husband got busy ringing accommodation places in Mudgee with no success while I asked the camping ground owners if they had any spare tent poles, and I almost hugged him when he went out to a large, hopeful shed to conduct what he knew to be a futile search.  The Husband frostily asked what the chances were of any random tent poles actually fitting our McMansion.
I had a brain wave.  We'd passed a Big W on our way to the camping ground.  I made some calls.  We did some frantic strategising about the logic of buying more tents.  We did some quick calculations.  And then I did some quick shopping.
We had decided that 2 two man tents would be more useful than a second big one but a wise person would know that a two man tent from Big W would be more like a 11/2 person tent.  Which I wasn't, and which they were. After the 2 minutes erecting both tents our stomachs dropped when we realised our air beds wouldn't fit in the tents, nor would The Husband. But with shops now closed and light fading, we just had to make it work.  So we squeezed in our half inflated air beds, and attempted to zip up our tent.  Which if you've ever worn jeans that were too small for you, you'll know what we needed to do to inch up the zip slowly.
Which meant we were now all trapped in our weird, flat tents.  And for 4 freezing nights we slept like this. Uncanny how a cold snap hit as we attempted camping in our $29.95 tents with "excellent ventilation".  Uncanny.  And this old girl's bladder in the cold overnight temperatures just had to hold it in because that tent would never have got done up again in the middle of a night if a toilet trip had been necessary (which it was nightly).  I stopped taking on board fluids (apart from a warming red wine or two) from mid day on. And did I mention panic attacks, lets just say that being enclosed in a teeny tent in a sleeping bag liner, twisted inside a sleeping bag with legs half bent to fit in, is never a good thing for a person with claustrophobia.  But with the only other options of the car or the ladies loos, I liked to think of it as a form of treatment for my phobia.
But apart from the lack of tent poles, the freezing overnight conditions, and the claustrophobic conditions, we had a memorable family holiday. And I did see the funny side of it, my friend Caroline and the locals in the Mudgee Woolies supermarket will attest to that as a fit of hysteria struck as I snuck her a call.  It will be some while before The Husband sees the humour about this experience on one of his rare holidays.
I'm thinking perhaps never.
Have you ever had a bad camping experience?


  1. I am pining this to the fridge and pointing at it with my kids whine 'why dont we go camping like other people'. Ill say, because I am Lisa.

  2. Lordy Sarah, I always wanted to be an inspiration to people. Done, ticked. I am on someone's fridge as inspiration. I need never do anything like this again.