I am not a great overnight camper. As I get older I have to get up during the night way too many times to be comfortable sleeping in a tent, where you have to plan far in advance before making the trek down to the concrete block enclosed loo or sewey hole, as my son used to call it. I also am way too fond of showering with hot water everyday to relish the thought of skipping one or two days on purpose. But I will cheerfully drive up in the morning to enjoy a day of camping, so long as I get to drive home that night to sleep in my own bed. Fortunately my friends are fine with this and even take advantage of my coming late to the party by asking me to bring things they have either forgotten or didn't know that they needed. This past week, when I joined them at their camp next to the Blackfoot River, I brought a gallon Ziploc bag of dog food, mustard, and two bottles of wine...one white, one red. In turn, I texted a person coming even later to bring ice.
I love camping by a river. I love the sound of it, the sight of it, the vibrancy of the rapidly rushing body of water bearing rafts, canoes, and inner tubes full of other people. Emphasis on the other people. I decided years ago that my enjoyment of bodies of water was best done from the shore. Canoeing as part of camping is something I did when my kids were little and have little desire to repeat. The whole carrying the canoe over my head while dragging a cooler on wheels behind me in 100 degree weather, was too much like work and not anywhere close to fun. An incident with a large boulder followed by a liberal application of duct tape to the canoe, cemented my decision. Ah, but sitting on a canvas chair under a canopy of pine branches, beside a gurgling, frothy river, a cooler within reach filled with locally crafted beer and Moscato, watching a chipmunk sneak past a snoring dog to snatch a nugget of Kibble, counting down the hours until it is cool enough to start a fire...that, my friends, is a little bit of heaven. To enjoy all of that with good friends is simply priceless.