Define ‘Morning’

 

The Joys of a Leisurely Morning in Camp

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Here I am camping with my favorite canoe partner. (Photo courtesy Steve McKee.)

There are two ways to break camp — the leisurely morning and what I call “bugging out.”

As the name implies, bugging out means getting up, packing hastily and hitting the river, lake or trail. (Or, if you’re car camping, the road.) The reasons for bugging out typically involve a long day of travel, a scheduled rendezvous, or sleeping in until it’s nearly time to set up camp again — somewhere miles away.

The worst part of bugging out is there’s no time for breakfast. A friend of mine would prepare for this eventuality by packing caffeine pills in lieu of coffee and a couple of hard-boiled eggs. That’s not camping; it’s cruel and unusual punishment.

All camping trips should be planned and executed to allow for leisurely mornings — the more leisurely, the better. Ideally, it will be a two coffee pot morning.

The question is, when camping with others, how do you orchestrate this?

It helps to camp with people who have a common definition of “morning.” This can be difficult when some of your friends work night shift or spend a lot of time in bars. Old habits are hard to break no matter how much noise you make banging on a cast iron skillet with a spatula.

If the smell of coffee isn’t enough to get them crawling out of their tents, subtle hints might be in order. You could try standing close to the offending party’s tent and saying in a loud clear voice, “Gee, I wonder if this tent really is waterproof!”

The best way to find people who have a common definition of morning is to look in a mirror. It’s also the best way to find someone who appreciates the true definition of leisurely.

To camp alone is to set your own pace. There’s much to be said for that. The down side is, when it comes time to tell jokes around the campfire, you’ve heard them all.

This story ran as a column in the Ashland Times-Gazette and Loudonville Times.