Camping Costa Rica
The dry cold air encompassing your face, and only your face. A slight tinge of chill on your nose, ears and cheeks, while you feet are on the verge of sweating. You slowly open your eyes, not sure if you can see your breath but acutely aware that you are not in you bed at home. It is quiet, it is cool and the light is slowly and naturally filling your tent. You can see across a quilt of sleeping bags, mom, kids, dog, shoes, coats, hats, forming a camp carpet inside the tent. All you can think about, all you can muster is the thought that someone else, someone from another tent, got up, started a crackling fire and put on a pot of coffee. But it is just a wish, one that is nary fulfilled for you are that guy, the one who starts the fire and brews that joe. You are camp master.
Camping has been a part of our family for years, as you can see from some of my past posts (Ninilchik Camping, Homer Camping) I can still feel the anticipation and despair as we packed to prepare, assembling the tents to make sure they are whole, anticipating the rain and cold with extra clothes, socks and blankets. I can still feel that morning chill on my face as I psyched myself up to get out from my sleeping bag and start a post of coffee. I can still feel my body shivering just a touch as I slowly emerged from the tent in the morning, striving to keep all my parts dry, knowing once wet always wet. I can still smell the smokiness of the damp fire and hear the hard crackle of the wet wood drying. It was invigorating, tiring and a fun family activity. It was never luxurious, seldom relaxing, always dirty and always memorable, and that’s what camping is about, memories. In that aspect it never failed.
I remember awakening to a tent full of water and slugs. I remember wives mad because we left early to fish. I remember finding a hotel for night number two. I remember our food and fish being stolen during the night. I remember catching Silvers, Kings and Reds, cleaning them and worrying about bears. I remember seeing bears in camp. I remember back aches, side aches and longing for a real bathroom. I remember taking a crying dog out for a walk at 3 am in the pouring rain. I remember shooting stars, a smoke-filled tarp and rain, there was always rain. I remember watching the kids run, play, explore, fish and swim and loving every second of it. Camping is never short on memories.
Well we started a new type of camping this year, Costa Rica camping. Unlike Alaska camping, the packing consists mostly of food and extra swimwear. Instead of rising at the crack of dawn to fish, we rise to surf. Instead of huddling by the fire, we seek shelter from the sun and seek a stiff breeze. Instead of worrying about bears we worry about snakes and spiders and small creepy things. It is a new adventure and already it has created memories.
Memories of forgetting tent poles for the big tent. Memories of thinking we brought the queen air mattress only to find out it was the single. Memories of forgetting the power cord ( yes we camp with power in Costa Rica) for the breakfast griddle. Memories of sunburn, salty skin and crazy dangerous surf. Memories of sleeping in a running car all night to circulate air. Memories of a surf that was much too big for me, pounding me over and over to the bottom of the ocean and snapping a friends fiery red board in half.
It left us with the eternal memories of the kids, running, hiding, playing, eating smores, singing ,skim boarding, boogie boarding and just having fun. It was different, but the results were the same. Memories, more and more memories. Hopefully, as they grow the kids will recall these trips and smile as they recall all the good times they had with friends and family, unaware of the pain and suffering mom and dad endured to create these memories. And as the memories of the back aches, lack of sleep and bug bites disappear and are overcome by the flood of good memories, smores, fires, kids playing and laughing, only then will we prepare for our next camping trip, this time with tent poles, air mattess and the proper power cords.