I, and a slew of other bloggers, were challenged to write something based on the question, “Have you ever been camping?” My first reaction was to go on about my business of the day and see if anything more exciting came up from the prompting source. Then, my twisted way of looking at things clicked in, and here we are.
First, camping was not one of our regular recreational activities when I was growing up. Once I became an adult, I only went camping when I felt obligated to put myself through the wringer for a friend, a job, or whatever.
Before finishing high school, I spent half my life living in rural settings. If I wanted to experience many of the “joys” of camping, all I needed to do was open the window to my bedroom, sleep on the back porch, or get up and walk outside to eliminate the fluid and solid waste my body generated during the day.
So, the idea of going somewhere to camp when I could have many of the same experiences within a few steps of my bedroom seemed silly. My short time in the Army National Guard was the last nail in the coffin of any desire I had to go camping.
It was ludicrous in several ways. However, it was especially damaging to any ideas of camping I might have harbored. Of course, the army did not call it camping. It was bivouacking. My first and only experience with bivouacking was in New Jersey in the late fall and early winter of 1968.
By the time finished basic and advanced infantry training at Fort Dix, I was damn well certain any camping was not one of my things. If I did decide to go camping in the future, it would be a nice little camp with sturdy heated cabins. Also, it would be within a short drive to a restaurant or bar. Of course, I’d settle for a nice place with RV hookups and good satellite reception today.
Yes, camping is a joy for some and a downright horrible experience for many. The Fort Dix experience was a two-fold folly for me and some others with whom I served. We were training for the jungles in Vietnam, during a winter period when the temperature during the day was around 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t believe me? Click here to read another’s piece about his Fort Dix experience.
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