I am not much of an outdoor person

I am not much of an outdoor person.  I grew up summering on Cape Cod, so I did learn to swim. I crewed on  sailboat races but did not skipper the boat. It seems that when I skippered, the various aunts and relatives on shore would critique how I raced and
I would get a full blown dialog on what I should have done. I am afraid to say it turned me off…. so I would hang on to the  side of the boat as crew, hang out when the wind blew and bail out the water that came in the boat… and liked it. It is hard to critique crew. If you are any good you will be asked to crew again.

My high school class had a snow weekend one winter in NH. We stayed in a lodge and most of my classmates skied. I tried. I was given skis with some sort of bar to hang on to… for a rank beginner. I got on the skis… and they moved and I sat down. So much for skiing.

My kids were all born in Wash DC and spent their early years in Virginia, but we moved when they were all in grade school to Bellingham. What would they have been like had they grown up in that metropolitan area? In the west, they camped and skied. We took camping trips up and down the coast. My son took up snow boarding and sail boarding, and at one point in his life, designed snow boards. My youngest took a college trip to Alaska and actually swam in Glacier bay (brrrrrrr) and then canoed down the Yukon river. Bill and his dad built canoes and took a Scout trip up into the Bowron lakes.

I was a Girl Scout leader. The troop events day by day were controlled by scout patrols who handled what each meeting would be like, shared the treats and learned inside games and songs. But each spring we did go camping.  I was a novice camper and found a site where we stayed in platform tents prepared for summer camp. With parents help we learned to build a campfire and actually cook our food. Thank goodness for the troop moms and sometimes the dads. When we camped in the rain there was one particular  dad who would laugh at the little girls, in pink pajama bottoms hanging below their rain gear and huge boots as they roamed around the camp in the evening, sang songs and giggled. But we were so glad to have him there to keep the campfire burning.

One winter there was to be an adult event at a Scout camp south of here. Seemed like a good idea to me to learn some more about camping in the out-of-doors so I packed up my gear and drove south. It began to snow but I kept going. Where were cell phones in those days? I crossed over the bridge and up the long winding dirt road to the camp and the snow was still coming down. I arrived at the camp to be told the event had been canceled, but as long as half the attendees was there, they would go ahead with the program.

I have never been so cold. We were in platform tents, no doors, no windows and snow everywhere. Any time the leader asked if someone would do something, collect wood, shovel a path, I stuck my hand in the air. It meant I was moving and it kept me warmer.

In the summer I helped at day camp in the local Larrabee state park. It was great. My own kids were there. One year the littlest was too young for the group I led, and Amelia was too old so I set them off on their own to plan their meals and enjoy the camp. After all the camping Amelia had done, she said it was the first she had really been able to keep a fire burning long enough to actually cook something’

We took the troop hiking up the mountain side, well beyond anywhere I would have hiked voluntarily. I am not an outdoor person. When we returned I asked the girls what they had seen. The list was endless but the answer I never forgot was the girl who said… I saw the feet of the person in front of me.

So I must say, I have learned some outdoor skills and have fond memories of Scout trips, but I am still not an outdoor person. I enjoyed driving the car for a bike trip of Cadettes. I even enjoyed the evening campfire at Larrabee park with the sound if giggling girls in their tents until they found out that a fox came and stole their marshmallows.

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One Response to I am not much of an outdoor person

  1. I saw the feet of the person in front of me…made me laugh. I was a Girl Scout leader for many, many years and spent lots of weekends camping with the girls. I was always in charge of cooking. I’m a bit of a foodie, so camp cooking was a blast for me. My co-leader was in charge of the outdoor activities. I have so many good memories of those days. I applaud you for doing so much when you’re not an outdoor person. That says a lot about you.

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