Friday, May 19, 2017

Back to the Stone Age


I'm going camping with my parents next week.

 What that actually means has changed a lot over the years.

I went backpacking before I can remember, when I was small enough to be the backpack, but big enough to try to evict Mom from our shared sleeping bag in the middle of the night.
This looks just like our tent, and our mountains.

 I was nine or ten when my parents bought a canvas spring-bar tent (which is still entirely serviceable almost 30 years later). The tent trips have blurred into a collection of similar memories, but they are all pleasant. While camping, we kids would burn pinecones in the fire, wade in little streams, and explore nearby woods.
This trip, I prefer my parent's healthy food.

We tasted rare delicacies-- soda pop, sugar cereal, and canned stew or ravioli--junk food truly appreciated by kids used to three home-cooked meals a day with fresh ingredients from the garden.

I remember listening to rain on the canvas at night and waiting in my sleeping bag on cold mornings for Dad to get up first and restart the fire.

The memories are idyllic, but I've taken my kids on tent camping trips and have seen them from the other side--mud and soot everywhere, kids stuck in the tent all day because the rain just won't stop,  midnight walks to smelly outhouses.

 I don't have clear memories of Mom doing anything but cooking. Most of the time she was probably trying to keep my younger siblings from drowning in streams or burning themselves in fires.

 Every time I took my kids camping, I had extended family as backup. Mom didn't. I don't know how she did it, especially how she kept on doing it, but I'm grateful.
This poor kid needs a book and a flashlight.

Eventually, a tent trailer made camping easier for everyone. It was amazing. We could cook and eat indoors away from bugs and weather. If it rained, there was a table for playing cards or coloring pictures. There was enough room to spread out and not all be on top of each other. No one had to sleep on bumpy ground or walk across bedding with muddy shoes.

My parents' current trailer is even nicer. It is hard-sided and easier to set up (though not to park). There is a bathroom with shower, a tv, DVD player, microwave, and air conditioning. We will be at a state park with electrical hookups, so everything will work.

Of course this is far from stone-age living. My only "sacrifice" is to be without the internet for two whole days.
I would love to understand these stories carved onto stone.

So why did I choose a stone-age title? Part of it is tongue-in-cheek because of such cushy camping.

It also fits our destination, the Canyonlands area of the Colorado Plateau, where stone formations are  what people come to see.

Finally, we will be visiting areas long inhabited by "Stone Age" people who were clever enough to farm, hunt, and raise families in a landscape that quickly kills modern folks once we are separated from our technology.

Even with all the mod-cons, survival will be an issue for me. Though my parents are old enough to be my parents, they are super healthy. They hike three miles a day--sun, snow, or rain. I can walk a slow mile, on mostly level sidewalks, most days, if I haven't already over-exerted myself.

The schedule was planned to accommodate all of us. There will be drives to fantastic overlooks and through pretty scenery for me, then I can rest in the trailer or the back of the truck while my folks scale cliffs to chase bighorn sheep.

I'll let you know how I did in next week's blog. Hopefully with good pictures.


I finished the papaya shawl, which will become a birthday gift this fall.

I also knitted enough adoptable sheep to make an even dozen, still all Shetland, though in even more shades, and have finally listed them in my shop ($20 each).

Currently on needles is a summer scarf made of a soft silk/linen blend.

And I'm packing yarn, needles, and patterns for my (four day) camping trip. I'm not sure I have enough.