I’ve always said “camping isn’t for everyone.” I often get strange looks when I say that I like to get way out into the bush, sometimes on my own, and just sit there for a day or two, then turn around and come back. “Aren’t you afraid of bears?” they ask, “what if something goes wrong?” and I generally wave these concerns off.
A few days ago though, someone postulated a question: “What’s the worst camping experience you’ve ever had?” It made me really think! I had to furrow my brow and everything! While I’d never say that any trip was without hardship (in fact, those hardships are what can make a trip great), I`d never say I hated any aspect of my recent trips.
Over the years though, one night had almost fallen into the darkest recesses of my mind. This was the worst night I`d ever had on a camping trip:
I was a young buck then, no more than 10 or 11 years old, and I was on a 5-day trip around the French River with my summer camp. It was one of those trips where I had little to do other than paddle and set up my tent. There wasn`t much to portage, most of the rapids were run-able, and life was easy. However, one of the last nights we spent there, camped near a very nice little river we set up our tent on what can only be described as `nest of mosquitoes`.
Never before or since have I ever felt the infamously unmitigated hatred of northern Ontario`s bug population. There were 4 of us in the tent, and we were up the whole night due to the shoddy shape of the tent. It had holes and tears everywhere, forcing us to constantly clean out our ears and snort out our noses. It was awful.
Because we were camping though, we made the best of it and it turned into one of the most memorable nights I`ve ever had in the bush. At what must have been 3 in the morning, we decided we`d had enough and made an exodus to the lake-front. There, 4 young boys simply sat and revelled in the clear night air, waiting for the sun to come up so we could continue on our journey.
Also, taking the tent down sucked. It was like kicking a hornet`s nest and then trying to put it into a stupid little bag.