Near Death Encounters With Camping

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I will be the first to admit I am not the outdoorsy type.

There are any number of reasons, but the first few to come to mind:

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This author found herself holding the aluminum tent poles during a lightning storm. She never camped again.

  • My skin burns with as little as five minutes of exposure and not only is it uncomfortable, it actually makes me sick.
  • Bugs seem to love me and mosquito bites give me huge welts.
  • My camping history could easily be made into a horror story (or at least a bad thriller).

My earliest memory of camping is some kind of hunting trip. My job was to watch out for my three younger sisters and keep them entertained. We went for a walk. One of them wanted to climb a tree, but needed me to hold a branch down for her. I did, it broke and flew up hit me in the chin. There was a lot of blood, a lot of pain, and I still have the scars.

On another hunting trip we had no tent or camper. We slept in sleeping bags between two tarps. It snowed and I came down with some bug that took me almost six weeks to get over.

A fishing trip we took to some canyon lake almost killed us all. We had this slightly crazy uncle named Hyram (known as "Hydie"). He was a great guy and his wife, our paternal grandmother's older sister, Lula (called "Luke"), was the best camp cook we have ever known.

Hydie said this lake had the best fishing in the whole state and he wanted to take us there. Aunt Luke and Uncle Hydie led the way in their old truck with its little camper shell. We followed in our truck with its big camper.

Did I mention, it was monsoon season? The road was hardly more than a wide patch down the side of the canyon. It started raining, and raining hard. And we started slipping.

My sisters and I were in the camper up on the bed above the cab of the truck where our parents were watching as the edge of the canyon came closer and closer.

Just last year, visiting with my mother, she said that was one of the few times she has really been frightened. She said she was sure we were going to go over the edge and all die.

My most recent camping adventure was during monsoon season again, about 10 years ago.

You'd think we'd know better, having been in Arizona since 1965.

Anyway, we went up to Willow Springs Lake. My parents had a motor home at the time, but with all of us there, we also needed to set up a tent.

As we made camp, it started raining. And there was lightning. My job was to hold some of the aluminum poles in place.

I was wet. There was lightning all around. And I was holding aluminum poles in damp, pine needle-covered ground.

I have not gone camping since.

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