I just called my sister and spoke to her husband for a few moments. My sis and her husband have two kids who are just at the entry age for Cub Scouts. Scouting is a tradition in my family. When I was barely old enough to write, my dad had enlisted my brother and me in Indian Guides. Later on, we joined the Cub Scouts and then the Boy Scouts.
That led to a lot of time hiking in the wilderness, and many nights spent sleeping in tents. Even a couple sleeping out under the stars, although those were very few.
I asked my brother in-law how the campout went, and he said “Cold. I slept maybe two hours the whole night. We slept on the grass and it got really hard after a while.”
That made me remember one night when I shared a tent with Ryan O’Quinn out at the Philmont Scout Reservation. Everyone in our troop built a little tent city and we crawled in when the sun went down. Then it started raining.
Now, Ryan and I slept a lot more than two hours. By the time of that evening, we’d been on the trail for four days and we were damn well going to sleep whether it was raining, hailing, or earthquaking outside. But I distinctly remember waking up having slid down into a corner of the tent in a puddle of water. It was freezing and it had rained all night. I stayed in my bag and shivered for a few minutes before I finally made myself get out of the bag. Because, of course, it was even colder outside the wet synthetic bag than it was inside it.
But we got up, started a fire, laid our bags on top of the tents to catch the sun and dry out, made hot cocoa and oatmeal, and generally got back to the business of feeling like human beings.
And by that afternoon, we were thoroughly warmed through and laughing about what a horrible morning it had been.
If you have any doubt about what a profound and positive experience you can have camping out, just do a Google search on I want to go back to Philmont.