By Patrick McManus
Every year, thousands of Americans are introduced to the
sport of camping. There are many approaches to it. "Car camping," for example,
is where the camp is within 20 feet of the car, and a portion of each night is
actually spent in the car, either because the tent collapsed or somebody
thought he "heard a bear."
"Backpacking" is where the camp is located more than 20 feet
from the car, and no portion of the night is spent actually in the car, except
in the case of dire emergencies, such as when somebody thinks he "saw a
"Solitary camping" is where a lone camper lies awake at
night wondering how he could have been so stupid as not to have brought
somebody along with him. You know you are involved in solitary camping when you
ask, "Did you hear that funny noise just then?" and nobody answers. Of course,
it may be that the reason you are suddenly involved in solitary camping is that
the person you were with heard that funny sound just then and is now engaged in
"Group camping" may consist of as many as 40 individuals,
none of whom thought to bring a can opener. A Cub Scout outing is typical of
group camping, and it often ends with the adult leader spending the night
pressed inside a pup tent with 14 Cub Scouts because somebody had the bright
idea of telling scary stories around the campfire.
And if you listen closely, you will hear one of the
expressions most heard around the campgrounds. It is "when hell freezes over."
This is used by wives and mothers to indicate the next time you'll get them to
go on another camping trip.