Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Camping Report

I SURVIVED the camping trip!!! It was a close call, but I made it, and I'm actually starting to recover; whew.

Seriously though, it was a great trip. I had 5 out of 9 of my Brownies with me; the other girl who was supposed to join us for the day on Saturday got sick. Her mom came up for a few hours though; she went to a camp planning meeting and volunteered to get Sunday breakfast (for 200) so she had to bring all of that food up. (And I can't tell you how "above and beyond" she went in doing that; she's an amazing person. I'm so lucky to have her daughter, who is a sweetheart, in my troop and I'm so happy we are friends.) She stuck around for a bit to watch our girls while I went to the local Wal Mart to pick up some of the extra food items and perishables she wasn't able to get at the warehouse store. That gave me a bit of a break, too; as much as I love the camp I like to get away for a few minutes while I'm there. It's an introvert thing.

The girls were wonderful and very well behaved. They got along really well; they had a few disagreements (mainly trying to get The Middle Child to STOP telling scary stories) but they worked things out without too much intervention on my part. There were a few bouts of homesickness and one girl got spooked when we were walking through the woods to get to our cabin Saturday night. One girl got a case of the whines; she didn't like all of the walking but she did it!

And there is a LOT of walking to be done. The whole camp is set on a loop that's a little over 2 miles around. We were at one of the camp sites closer in to the main hall but it was still a good 15 to 20 minute walk we had to take before and after each meal. (No cars are allowed except one at each site specifically for medical emergencies.) There was also a long walk out to the sports field where we had our activities on Saturday and a walk back from that. Yep, it's a lot of walking at that camp! I'm a good walker though; I walk daily so that wasn't a problem for me at all.

What is a problem for me there is the sleeping. Oh, my aching back! They have these awful metal cots with saggy, broken springs and thin, flimsy mattresses to go on top of them. I've finally resorted to taking my own bed and bedding. Seriously- I purchased a camp cot at Outdoor World and I took it with me, along with an egg crate foam pad, an air pad, and a thick, fluffy sleeping bag. (Air mattresses are too soft and way too noisy; they don't help.) The first night I made the mistake of not using my cot. I was lucky enough (ha) to get a cot with a board so I thought that would be better. Stop the sagging and provide the firmness I need. Not so much. I didn't sleep at all and my back hurt badly all day Saturday. (OK, I never sleep my first night away from home, but the back thing on top of the tired thing was murder.) The second night I went ahead and set up my cot. I actually slept! Not very soundly, but I slept, and it was enough that my back was somewhat better in the morning. Enough to get me through the day's activities, anyway. I will NEVER try to sleep on the camp's cots again. I'm so happy I found a solution!!

Another factor with sleeping at camp is the NOISE. There were acorns or pine cones or something from the trees falling on the cabin all night long both nights. There's not too much to the roofs (rooves?) at camp so those little plinks sound like THUDS when you're trying to sleep. Then there's the noise from the other leaders. Turning over on the creaky cots, snoring, rustling, and even midnight phone calls about errant teenagers left home alone. (Seriously; I felt so badly for the leader dealing with that. She was on the phone for a long time trying to handle the situation from the camp.) It's not anyone's fault or anything that can be helped, and I certainly make my share of noise too, but it does make sleeping difficult. I came up with a solution for that, too; yeah! I've loaded up my MP3 player with ambient music, you know, babbling brook, rainfall, forest noises, that kind of thing, (mine happens to be womb sounds left over from when the kids were babies) and I turn that on, plug in the ear phones, and all the other sounds fade away. I can sleep to that kind of noise; it works like a charm. The only problem is it blocks out noises from the girls, too. I only used it for part of the night since I was worried I wouldn't be able to hear them if they needed me. I'll use it all night when I go up with other chaperones, though.

Being the only one with the girls was OK. The only time it was difficult was when we were packing up, and that was also because of my lack of experience. On the last morning at camp the troop has to pack up and complete Kapers, then we have to wait for an inspection before we can leave. Welllll, my troop was behind the eight ball from the get go. I didn't realize how long everything would take and that the other troops at our site would be delayed if we weren't ready and done with our packing and our Kaper. I let the girls sleep too late and didn't have them pack anything up before breakfast. I wasn't packed up before breakfast, either. When we got back it was a roller coaster rush to get everything done. The other leaders were gracious enough to step in and help me out, for which I will always be so thankful. They hurried my girls along and hauled stuff out to my car for me. One of the other troops even worked on the Kaper my troop was supposed to complete. They all pitched in and took up the slack; I feel so guilty for not carrying our weight. They laughed it off and said "no problem" when I apologized. True Girl Scout spirit, let me tell you. :)

No comments: