How I know the true meaning of the words “Happy Camper”

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Eugene and Junction City Oregon. Which means camping for me meant camping in the rain and the mud. Not in the heat and the dry and the dust inherent in any camping activities in Utah.

When I was a teenager, camping meant Girls Camp, within hiking distance of the Pacific Ocean. We slept in tents, not wood cabins. And we dug deep trenches around those tents to keep the rain out, but they never worked.

You know what the best thing is? We didn’t care! We were just happy to be out under the moon and the stars (although most often the clouds) and to be in the middle of the woods and to spend the afternoon on the waterfront (funny how we could still be so enthusiastic for more water) and at least one day “hiking” along the rugged shores of the cold Pacific Ocean.

Personally, I think camping under conditions many would find miserable was life changing and character building. If you could learn to find the good and be happy in such cold and wet and mud, you could learn to find the good and be happy in most anything.

Speaking of the waterfront (as I said – when it’s raining, everywhere is the waterfront), I need to linger a moment longer on those afternoons I lived for the waterfront. At first chance, I would run down the trail to be one of the first to grab the little 2-woman sailboats, don an orange life vest, and would sail the afternoon hours away with whomever was willing to sail away with me. I remember dreaming of living on a sail boat, or, at the very least, of sailing with bigger sails. That hasn’t happened (yet), but it still may someday. In any case, I wouldn’t trade the wind those hours of the wind in my hair (and the resultant hair whipping across my face) for anything.

[Day 15 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

2 thoughts on “How I know the true meaning of the words “Happy Camper”

  1. We came to Washington and I love the water which I am lucky to have close by. My daughter is living in Eugene right now. We spent a few days there recently. I climbed old Skinner Butte.

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