August 25, 2012

Camping Glacier

     I love camping for so many reasons.

(Me with three reasons right here.)

       Sleeping outdoors, even in our own backyard, can be an amazingly refreshing experience, but I've found when I can sleep outdoors in the wilderness, where no lights outshine the stars, no human-made sounds overpower nature's own nocturnal soundtrack, no machines change the temperature of the night air, I am more than refreshed. I am inspired. Cooking and eating outdoors always makes food taste better. And, for me, organizing a space for my family to live in, a space to meet our needs, is like playing Little House in The Woods. I get giddy with nesting, homesteading excitement when we find the campsite that, for a few days, becomes ours.

(Our little campground home.)

     We all get dirty, letting soap-free lake or river swimming serve as our only baths, but despite the dirt, camping always makes me feel beautiful, natural and clean.
     I love to see the effect of wilderness on my children and my husband, and to feel it in me; to know, when we are stripped of our phones and computers and toys and comforts, who we become. Laurelei and Riley never fail to inspire me with the things they find to do; the play things and places they make in forests and on riverbanks and lake shores. Brian and I work together without effort to plan and cook and tend, laughing, seeming suddenly to have energy and patience we have only on the best days at home. Is that the distance from worries? The lack of deadlines and schedules? The not knowing what time it is and having that be okay? And sleeping on the hard ground (let's face it, camping pads and air mattresses don't really do all that much) is okay. Even that squirrel who throws pine cones at our tent every morning before dawn is more than okay.
     Whatever it is about camping that does this to me, I crave it. And we, as a family camp at least once a summer; more often if we can. This last weekend we spent four days camping in one of the most beautiful places God ever put in man's fumbling care: Glacier National Park.

     The last time the kids and I were in the GNP, it was two years ago with Nanna and B couldn't be there. I fell in love with the park, and, even though I don't think L and R have very clear memories of that trip, the vague impression of familiar beauty and wonder was still upon them as we explored this time around.

(This is my favorite shot from that long-ago trip. Look how little they were!)
   I've wanted to take B there ever since. He's a loyal Yellowstone groupie who vowed his affections would not be swayed, but by the end of our four days, I think a soft spot for Glacier had made its way into his bison-and-geyser-loving heart. And me? My heart was full. 

    How could it not be?
    We came home with sunburns (Mamma remembered sunblock on three out of four hikes--no one's perfect), tired legs and feet, sleeping bags to be aired, coolers to be scrubbed, and roughly eight loads of dirty laundry I almost didn't want to wash. I didn't want to lose the smoky, piney, forest smell. But as B and I unloaded our little car and cleaned up the remains of a trip not to be forgotten, all I could think was: When can we go again?

   What places and family trips have filled your heart this summer?


1 comment:

  1. :Gasp: Gorgeous pictures!!! I cannot believe we haven't been yet. I must go there soon. Lake Como with its lone glaciated peak is the closest I've come this summer to pure unadulterated God-bequeathed beauty.