Camping’s Role Reversal

After a great weekend camping with our family and friends, I realized an amusing role reversal that took place there.

We camped at the Molly Brown Campground on Turquoise Lake outside of Leadville, Colorado. It fits our criteria for acceptable places to camp: flush toilets. The lake is gorgeous, and at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, you literally feel like you are on the top of the world.

We had six campsites in a row – all shaded by tall pine trees with lots of space between them to run and play. With the earliest risers of the group, our fire and hot chocolate got going first (before 6am), and as the other kids in our group woke up, they would wander over to us for their morning cup. Play. Then breakfast at the tent with the bacon. Play. Lunch scattered between picnic tables. Play. Happy Hour in the rain. Play. Dinner at the tent with the most picnic tables. Play. Fire. S’mores. Play until we noticed the other campsites were quieting down and our kids were still yelling the lyrics to “I’m Sexy, and I know It”. Bedtime.

Over the 48 hours at Molly Brown, play consisted of canoeing, digging, chopping wood for a fort, fishing, running, and beating up dad when he tried to steal the fort wood for the fire. During the rain, it meant meeting under a tarp with Bey Blades. And the campground could hear their “3-2-1, let it rip!” again and again over the thunder.

So when a friend emailed me asking how I dealt with the whining, I stopped to think. Whining? Hmmm….

“Did you sleep last night? I couldn’t sleep. I never sleep at high altitude.”

Three kids race by carrying branches. “We can use these to build a playroom!”

“Who’s smoking? Apparently, they don’t even care that the rest of us are here for fresh air, not their cigarette smoke.”

Another two kids carrying fishing gear yell over their shoulders, “We’re going to the lake!”

“This rain is getting in the way of Happy Hour.”

“3-2-1 let it rip! Rock Zurafa is so cool!”

“Ugh. I smell so bad. I can’t wait to get home and take a shower.”

The kid posse debates the next level of tests the youngest needs to pass to become a full-fledged member of their fort. The youngest is glowing with anticipation.

“Did you hear that music last night? It didn’t stop until the sun came up. Same song over and over. Probably a bunch of idiots dropping acid. I’m going to complain to the ranger.”

“S’mores? Yesssss!”

“I miss my bed.”

“My favorite part of camping is sleeping with the dog in the tent!”

“Did you hear those kids this morning? I mean, really, why can’t parents keep them quiet? Don’t they know the rest of us come up here for a little peace?”

“Everybody to the fort! Bring the axe!”

“I liked yesterday’s campers better. No pee on the toilet seat the whole time. Today’s crew splashes everywhere.”

The boys aim for the trees.

Had the kids looked up from their play long enough to notice their parents, they might have asked each other, “How do you deal with all that whining?!”


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