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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On the joys of camping...

This is the closest I have ever been, to hugging my shower and flush toilet!

We’re back again and I have been musing upon the tribulations versus the joys of camping. I have some pressing questions.

What makes a person want to go camping? Does it take a certain type of person, a particular genetic disposition, a psychological bent? Does the joy of the experience warrant all the extra preparation, both beforehand AND after the event? And what does the concept of “basic” mean to different people? Is there an innate desire to bond with nature or are some people just seriously deluded? And who invented the 3-minute shower, and were they bald, or how did they manage to wash hair, body, and get all the dirt and layers of gunk off themselves in that generous amount of time? For that matter, who invented the long drop toilet, and did they possess extraordinarily-gracious olfactory and visual sensorial talents….or for that matter, a very tough emotional fortitude?

But wait. I have more! As romantic as I perceive my concept of snow and wintry weather are, I wonder about those equally romantic notions of summer. What possesses a person who lives in a perfectly reasonable dwelling, to choose to habitate beneath a thin layer of canvas (albeit mixed with synthetic materials) in the heat of the summer, in uncomfortably close proximity with friendly and not so friendly wildlife, and with the ever present possibility of flooding below or drips from above? Further, when one’s only access to clean, non-sticky skin is a freezing cold stream or a temperamental shower of dubious length and temperature, why would one then go somewhere where one has to pile LAYERS of gloop into one’s pores? Have you thought about those layers? Moisturiser to keep that skin feeling a little less like sandpaper. Then sunblock (SPF 30 – 70+) to protect you from those harmful rays. And reapplications because you’ve gone ‘glowy’ or been for a swim. And don’t forget the essential layers of insect repellent…..and thereafter the layers of anti-itch cream, because those rural mozzies just love the taste of sweet, tender, city-dwelling skin. And then there are those layers of good wholesome dirt and summer-induced perspiration. Yummy.

Those and more, are just some of the thoughts which have occupied a little of my mind over the past 5 days. But I think I have waxed lyrical for long enough. Lest the above gives anyone fodder to accuse me of going soft in my old age, here are some of my other musings.
There is nothing quite like sitting beneath a star-laden sky on a clear summer’s night, with a warm light breeze rustling the tops of the trees. No haze from city lights to diffuse the inky blackness. Just a cheery glow of the lantern; the sweet scent of the forest and the night air, and one’s mug of hot chocolate. I love looking up into the heavens and wondering about the greater universe; about the God who created it; about the millions of years it has taken for that little flicker of light to reach my eyes. If you venture a little further into the bush, your canopy may become the pretty sparkling of the glow worms. (At this point, I choose not to think about the possibility of those wriggly things at the end of the pretty lights, falling into my hair…..). Then there is the realisation that you are far from the madding crowd and life’s pressures. It’s a wonderful feeling (mostly). No computers, often no cell phone coverage, nothing to charge the batteries anyway. And it’s even better if you are camping away with friends. You don’t feel guilty about putting the world to rights, through the wee small hours of the night….eating constantly and blaming the fresh outdoors for your healthy appetite….it’s all compulsory relaxation! And it is lovely just to have the time to explore, or to chat, or to do whatever! No agendas, no set routine, no demands on one’s day! And all the time in the world to muse upon matters of utmost importance, of course….!

For those who are interested, we camped at Wentworth Valley on the Coromandel Peninsula. The facilities were hardly lugubrious, but the setting was idyllic. Rolling hills, waterfalls, clear streams and pools, beautiful native bush. And the weather was incredible – sparkling waters, sunshine like you wouldn’t believe, and those beautiful, clear blue skies. We really have had the most perfect weather for all our holidaying. Thankfully, otherwise there might be more gripes to add to the list above! And whilst we were sufficiently in the wops to feel unhampered by civilisation, for those who needed to touch base with ‘life apart from nature’ (shops, cafes etc!), the seaside/surfing resort of Whangamata (complete with very hospitable friends, rather more satisfactory ablution facilities, and boat!) was not really so far away!

Perhaps the one question which still bothers me though, is, why on earth did Noah allow those 2 mosquitoes on board the Ark?

Photos from our foray into civilisation (aka Whangamata).

1 comment:

Kezwick said...

A very funny recount Ange. Looks absolutely gorgeous. I'm glad you came around and listed all the amazing joys of camping!!! Wait till you do it in Oz!

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