Friday, July 25, 2008

It’s Time for S’mores

I have always enjoyed going camping. Of course, now that I’m older I realize that it does take a bit of effort to get everything packed up to make the camping experience just right. I appreciate my parents for taking four of us hoodlums camping in a little pickup camper. I’m sure they were probably exhausted afterwards but we sure had fun.

Camping back then was slightly different than today. The biggest difference is that I don’t think my family ever reserved a spot anywhere—we just drove around the mountains until my dad found “the place” to camp. Most areas in the national forests have specific camping areas now and you can’t just pull off the side of the road somewhere. But that’s okay, I’m one of those that likes to know where I’m going, so I’m fine with change. Even though we have to pay for most campgrounds now, camping is still an inexpensive and yet priceless family sport.

My mom is a great Dutch-oven chef and we had many delicious, slow-cooked meals while in the forests of Idaho. I remember lots of times sitting at the tiny table inside our camper, helping to chop up something to throw in the Dutch oven. And we can’t forget the S’mores. .
Bulging marshmallows, toasted to golden perfection sandwiched between crisp graham crackers and melting chocolate—makes your mouth water. And if you want your S’more done right you have to place your half of graham cracker with the chocolate on a rock nearby the fire so the chocolate starts to melt before you even get the marshmallow on it. Then you take a bite and the gooey mess oozes out onto your fingertips and chin, but it’s all part of the camping experience

My dad is a tireless hiker, with little fear and we followed him on many a steep and treacherous route of hiking wonder. We often found old mine shafts and caves with ancient debris hanging around which made us kids glow with adventurous delight. Of course, now we’d probably recognize that most of those “artifacts” were junk, but hey—it was exciting at the time. We loved to find wildflowers and wildlife and hear the quaking aspens whispering to us in the breeze above the burbling of the creek.

The thing I love best about camping, is that you’re away from it all. My family recently went up the canyon for just an overnight stay and we were gone for less than 24 hours. But everything slows down when you’re camping, so it felt a lot longer. I love the cool mountain air and knowing that nothing can interrupt this peaceful time with my family. My mother-in-law says that’s why kids love camping so much—they have their parent’s undivided attention.

I hope that many of you get a chance to go camping this summer and even if it’s not in a campground, perhaps even roasting mallows around a fire pit in your backyard or at the park. There are so many great places to enjoy and so many memories to make.

Return to the neighborhood


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