Sunday, December 4, 2011

Camping Queen

It's no secret that I am about as 'outdoorsy' as Santa is 'good on a treadmill.'

So November has been a big leap of faith for me.

There's camping...

Columboola Educational Camp in Miles. Great outdoors activities for school groups.

And then there's 'camping'...

Turtle Bay Resort - offers balcony hammocks for those seeking a closer bond with nature.
Personally, I am a big fan of option B. Turtle Bay looks divine. It's no surprise to those who know me, that I am a bit of a princess when it comes to the great outdoors. I like warm showers, clean sheets, plush towels and the gentle hum of an air conditioner. I'll take those options ANY DAY over, creek water, swags, quick dry towels and mosquitoes buzzing through the night.

But back to November...

My eldest daughter had her first school camp early in the month. She is in year 1, so it was only to the pony club grounds ust up from the school. And it was only for 1 night. But it still required that a tent be set up, outdoor activities be attempted, a camp fire be lit, and no shower be had. I was nervous. Two years ago I purchased a 12 man tent. I had visions of us going camping as a family. The tent is fantastic. It has 3 separate 'bedrooms', a living area, and a closed in verandah. I also bought a fold up table and some other gear, all in anticipation of a trip I had done nothing but imagine. This tent would never do for the overnight school camp. For a start, it takes over an hour to assemble. So I ordered over the internet, a 3 man tent that takes no more than 10 minutes to assemble. BRILLIANT! (And for the record, I will buy another small tent if we ever decide to go camping as a family... kids in one, us in another).

The day was particularly warm. We ran around like, well, kids for hours and hours. We fished on the banks of the Balonne Minor, we made damper over a campfire. There may even have been singing. After pre-arranging an evening with a friend who lived nearby, I backed out at the last minute, and settled for emptying a pack of wet wipes in a bid to get clean enough to sleep soundly in my new tent. Olivia and I lay in bed before her little eyes closed, talking about how much fun she had been having, how fantastic her teachers were to organise such an event, and how lucky we were to be able to lie here quietly together and just talk.

And then in the last weekend of November, I escorted 15 (10 and 11 year old) students from my class to Columboola. (See top photo). It was our annual class trip. On this particular occassion, I settled for this accommodation...

 It was airconditioned, and there was a real bed inside. I shared it with other teachers/parents. DId I mention that it shook like a 7.2 r.s. earthquake whenever the air conditioner adjusted the temperature. This is not an exaggeration. This camper was located directly beside the tents shown in the top photo, and there were supervisors on site to monitor the children at night. Just in case anyone was wondering about the lack of supervision. On this particular camping trip I was stung by not 1, nor 2, but 3 wasps upon my arrival. I posted about it on facebook.

"Day 1: Three wasp bites so far. This is why I don't do the great outdoors." And my friend and neighbour has posted underneath, "Ouch...You need to be at home... inside... Back in your natural environment...." SO TRUE!

But I perservered. And I had an absolute blast. And so did the kids. Many of the children had never been away from home for this length of time before. There were tears, tantrums and sleepless nights. And that was just me. Kidding. I slept like a baby in that camper... the air con gently rocking me to sleep with it's temperature adustments! And the kids were gorgeous.

The important thing about camping, is not about how much you smell, how smoky your hair becomes, and how much or little you sleep. I got to spend quality time with both my daughter and my class this November. I learned things about those children, and even myself, I couldn't have learned otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. My Boss bought one of the tents that is like a window screen sheild that sets its self up for the last SOTA minischool. Best thing ever. She now ALMOST enjoys caming.

    Cheers Outback Girl


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