Tuesday, October 2, 2012

There's Camping, and There's Camping

A colleague stopped by my office this morning to make sure we'd survived our long weekend of camping in Kansas.

"I've never made it more than one night of camping," he admitted, and when you're camping in Kansas, that's not necessarily a sign of weakness.

I have talked in previous posts about how HAAAAAARD camping is, what with the cooking over a tiny propane stove and walking half a mile to the bathroom and washing dishes in a dishpan and showering where hundreds of other feet have spread their fungi. Camping in Kansas often reminds me of the description of Ginger Rogers dancing with Fred Astaire--she does everything he does, but backwards in high heels. You still do all the cooking and cleaning and living that you do at home, but without hot water and in shower flops.

Husband and I left Thursday afternoon on what we knew would be the final camping trip of the season, hauling the camper to a state park 90 miles from Small Town. He insists that in the interest of full disclosure I make sure everyone knows that the bathrooms were inadequately cleaned and the sole trash dumpster was at the entrance to the park.

He insists on that because I spent the four days we were there rhapsodizing over the hidden treasure that is camping in Kansas during the fall.

Camp in Kansas on the final few days of September and the weather is perfect, 70s in the day and 50s at night. You wake to see the grey mist rising off the lake and 12 hours later watch the sun set into Technicolor pinks and oranges.

Camp in Kansas after kids have gone back to school and you practically have the campground to yourself. Of the 150 or so campsites maybe a dozen are occupied, and you can camp for four days and never see another soul in the bathhouse.

Camp in Kansas when the weather is cooling and bugs are practically nonexistent. No need to marinate in bug repellant, and the single mosquito you see during your four-day weekend is stupid with the chill.

Camp in Kansas and the bicycles are no longer decorative accessories in the back of the pick-up that mock you in Colorado's steep inclines and thin air. You'll find yourself riding down every road of the park, then doubling back and doing some again because you are enjoying riding even more than you were enjoying reading the really terrific book you brought along.

Camp in Kansas and you're only six (flat, straight) miles from excellent restaurants and beautiful antiques at excellent prices, and from Friday matinees of first-run movies. 

The next time you camp in Kansas it might be 112 degrees by 10 a.m., and the kids in the next site might have their mo-peds revved up at all hours of the night and the bugs might torment you until you're ready to throw in the Off-soaked towel and go home.

This trip, though? This trip reminded us that camping in Kansas can be as good as camping gets.


  1. The camping sounds great. That book sounds crazy creepy though!

  2. Anne, I'd say the book is slightly creepy. Certainly not Stephen King creepy, although not completely...normal. But the writing is spectacular. Beautifully descriptive--at one point he talked about the moon being the color of a dog's tooth. Perfect.

  3. Camping in Roaring River State Park and trout fishing was farout!

  4. Yes there is nothing like camping in the early spring and late fall. It is so much more enjoyable without the crowd and way more peacefull. And you can't beat a nice big fire on a cool evening.