Wanted: Five-Star Scout Camp

After a recent overnight field trip with my son, I felt I’ve already met my camping quota for the year. But what I do for my son, I try to do for my daughter. So I set off for Scout camp with my daughter. I would be going as a mom, not a chaperone, and besides, this overnight Daisy Scout trip offered horseback riding, something neither of us had ever done.

After seeing our accommodations, I quickly rethought my evaluation of my previous cabin experience. I may have had to use a bathroom stall with my legs angled a dozen different ways, but it became clear that I had been pampered. Those bathrooms were five-star compared to what I experienced at the Scout camp: an outhouse.

Not all cabins in the woods are charming.

I have camped at campgrounds equipped with bathhouses. I’ve put up a tent in the woods where nature was our bathroom. But an outhouse has many factors involved: no lights, bugs, and, well, bugs. It didn’t matter that someone put a toilet seat over the wooden hole. You just can’t fancy up an outhouse. And if you go into an outhouse not wanting to touch anything, as I did, you close the door and realize how tiny the space really is and how ridiculous that notion is. One needs clever balance and maneuvering just to fit without brushing the walls or falling into the pit. And I’m pretty certain “Little Miss Muffet” was actually written about a girl in an outhouse and not someone eating. How terrifying it is to be caged in and turn your head to see a spidey creeping down one wall and a patch of red and black hatchlings on the door. The outhouse never saw me again.

I don’t sleep well while camping. Nature can be so freaking loud. I much prefer the hum of electricity or my husband’s breathing to a chorus of strange what-the-heck-is-thats. While I lay there at 2 a.m. hoping a raccoon wouldn’t crawl through our ripped cabin screen, I realized I wasn’t the only one awake. Dogs barked, geese honked, crickets chirped, frogs croaked. From what I know, some of those animals are not nocturnal, right? A thud announced my daughter falling out of bed. I sleepily scrambled to get out of my sleeping bag as she tried to climb in bed with a bunkmate. At least the kids could sleep through nature’s hysteria.

The next morning, I took a turn on a horse named Tuffy. While the other moms easily made their horses enter the ring and circle the barn, mine stood there ignoring my commands. I wondered whether he had a rough night too or whether he was actually part mule. I just crossed my fingers that he wouldn’t throw me off. He knew he had a first-timer and I had to work for my ride along the wooded trail, making kissing sounds, squeezing him with my legs, and prodding him with my heel to get him going. He trotted slowly behind the other horses most of the way, then finally caught up and tried to pass one. I think he was checking to see whether I knew my commands. Thankfully “whoa” comes naturally to someone on a speeding horse.

Not the stubborn horse I rode. This one liked to give kisses.

Now I am officially bunked out, cabined out, camped out, and tired. And I promise to never complain about my bed or my toilet again.



Filed under About Mom

27 responses to “Wanted: Five-Star Scout Camp

  1. You deserve some sort of motherhood award for that toilet situation alone!!!

  2. jeep4jeep

    Look at you roughing it! Man, I would have paid to see that. Maybe they gave you a horse similar to your personality, hahaha!

    • My unclean home never looked so good! We recently saw my grandmother and she told me about visiting her mother-in-law. They had only an outhouse. At night you used a pot. When my grandmother was very young, the only time she lived in a home with an outhouse, her mother used to clean their outhouse with lime. There are many other women who deserve a spa day! And I complain about scrubbing toilets with a brush.

  3. ohpapa

    I can’t remember the last time there was a toilet situation that bad. I guess because I am probably blocking it out. *shiversatspiders* Congrats on surviving!

  4. I’ve alway wondered about Little Miss Muffet. We are going “camping” in a few weeks to watch our 19 year old son run in a triathlon – no hotels nearby, so we’ll be sleeping in the back of the SUV (he’ll be in a tent – I just can’t do the ground anymore). I’ll be thinking of you and Miss Muffet.

  5. Ugh – just looking at that picture of the toilet situation made me cringe. There is something to be said for indoor plumbing.

  6. Beds and toilets are great. If you want nature, go for a walk. If you want nature at night, open the bedroom window!

  7. Holy crap, I wish I never looked at that outhouse picture. I had the most horrendous flashbacks from Girl Scouts camp. Those things are where people go to die. Bugs and spiders though — as you mentioned — outhouses are where they go to live and perhaps settle down and raise a family.

    What a good time you must’ve had. Way to take one for the team 😉

    • Yep, I took one for the team and lived to tell about it. My daughter didn’t even have to use it. We took walks and borrowed the bathrooms of other troops. Why they had plumbing and we didn’t was beyond me, but we felt it was a Scout’s duty to share.

  8. Great moms put themselves out for their kids. Brava! Sandy

  9. Stories like these are precisely the reason that I never encourage Dimples to join Girl Scouts!

    • I had never heard stories like these and was never a Scout myself. I figured with my many years of camping experience, how bad could it be? The horse made up for it though, stubbornness and all. I thoroughly enjoyed that.

  10. What’d you expect from a horse named Tuffy? Were you waiting for one named Stomper? Bitey?

    • I think he could feel me quaking. The one in the pasture who kept giving kisses would have been nice. And no, a horse named Bitey would have been out of the question!

  11. You’re such a great Mom!

  12. LOL You really are super-mom! I was made for such duty, but I fully appreciate that most moms aren’t. Bravo for that undertaking.

    I’ll take a semi-open-area in the woods, a small trowel, some TP, and a comfortable, balanced squat on my ankles over an outhouse (or Port-o-Let) or Exxon gas station restroom ANY DAY. At least that way, I don’t have to worry what lurks in the dark corners on the confined space or about not touching a single germy thing (and that includes the Exxon station). Plus, it’s awfully difficult doing the “air squat” comfortably and not peeing on the back of your pants or shoes in the process. That part really sucks.

    Call me a nature girl. Spideys and snakes just want to go away (more than you WANT them to), and the coons have a good laugh watching how we silly humans are so particular about our elimination habits. I can’t think of another species that is.

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