Cautiously embracing camping

Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 10:34

My family and I can now say we have been camping in Alaska.  I know, some will quibble with my definition of camping; there was no tent involved.  However, an RV on the Homer Spit coupled with making S’mores over an open fire classify what we did as camping in my book. 

The plan was not originally for camping.  We planned on crashing my cousin’s annual fishing trip to Homer by staying in a hotel.  When my husband discussed this plan with a colleague, the colleague scoffed at the idea.  He had a camper we could borrow; then we need only pay for site rental at an RV park. 

My husband was excited about camping.  We have not been camping much, but we have often discussed that we would like to do so. 

It’s my fault we don’t camp often.  I refuse to sleep in a tent.  Nature always knows when I’m camping, and rain has always been a part of my camping trips.  I have slept in many possible “water-proof” tents set up by supposed camping experts. Yet on every camping trip I have ended up sleeping in a wet sleeping bag because the tent leaked. 

However I have had good experiences in cabins.  I love cabins.  They are dry; plus I get to sleep in a real bed.  It’s just that cabins require pre-planning and we are more spur-of-the-moment people.  I have told my husband that I figured a camper would be similar to a cabin, and I would be more than happy try it any time.  Now was the time to live up to my words.

I did have a few misgivings about the camper though.  Would it feel cramped?  Would I get claustrophobic sleeping in the bed over the cab?  Would we get bored? 

The RV may have been small, but the children didn’t spend much time inside.  They had the beach to play on, the fishing hole to fish in, and plenty of children to play with.  There was no boredom, and we felt less confined than in a bigger hotel room. 

Sleeping arrangement were an issue, none of the beds quite fit two full grown adults comfortably.  After a few nights we found an arrangement that worked.  All three kids over the cab, one adult on the comfortable yet short table bed, and one adult on the long but not quite as comfortable couch bed. 

Even with some slight discomforts, we had a great time.  I began to see possibilities in camping with a camper, particularly my own camper.  We could get a bigger one, one with queen sized bed in its own room and maybe bunk beds.  My husband’s new truck just so happened to come with the towing package, so we could get a nice sized trailer.  We were on Craig’s List looking at campers before the trip was over.

There are so many possible trips to take with a camper.  Day trips to Talkeetna could turn into weekends.  We could camp down by the Trail of Blue Ice.  And of course, more trips down to the Homer Spit.  Add to that all the places we haven’t been to yet: Hope and Ninilchik, Fairbanks and the North Pole.  A trailer would open Alaska up to us, at least open up the places you can drive to. 

Lori Spears is the wife of a U.S. Army captain who lives in Eagle River. Her “Home Front” column on life in a military family appears every two weeks in the Star.

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