I’m not saying my daughter Emily is soft when it comes to roughing it. She just happened to have spent her first three and a half years living in the total comfort of a warm bed, running water, and the ability to flush her business down a toilet anytime she wants. That all changed last month when my wife Melinda and I took her on her first camping trip in the Kluane National Park area.
I should point out that this was actually a “glamping” (glamour camping) trip as we rented a private cabin near Kathleen Lake. The cabin had no electricity or running water, but had an outhouse, propane lights and stove, a great fire pit with lots of wood to burn. It was a great start initiating Emily to the world of camping while at the same time not stripping her of all her creature comforts.
I could feel how excited she was when we got there. She happily fluttered around the property exploring woods, finding spiders, attempting to befriend squirrels and generally being one with nature. We had a great day of trekking around, gathering wood, and relaxing around the cabin before settling down outside at the fire pit where we ate and enjoyed the warmth of the fire roasting marshmallows.
Then out of the blue, after eating S’mores no less, Emily turns to Melinda and bluntly says, “I want to go to sleep now.”
After 6 hours of outdoor fun, Emily was camped out.Melinda and I were just getting started.
We washed her up the best we could, slapped on a warm nightie, and eased her into her comfy cabin bunk. With Emily down, Melinda and I let loose, cracking open our growlers and having crazy, wild games of Electronic Battleship, before turning in around midnight.
At exactly 6 a.m., I woke to a little girl poking me while whispering “pa pa, I have to go pee pee.”
I was so tired, for a second I thought about telling her to go find a pot or bowl, but no, I knew what I had to do. I had to take her to the outhouse. But as I cleared my head I realized, it was pouring rain outside.
We put on our shoes, stepped onto the porch, took a huge breath and made a mad dash toward our outdoor facility. The path was narrow as wet bushes and tree branches smacked against us, an extremely cool wake up call as Emily was still in her nightie and me in my underwear.
We made it to the outhouse and Emily went in to relieve herself. Luckily there was a small covered porch for shelter. How she sat on that cold lid and never made a sound was beyond me. When she came out though, I could see she had this look in her eye as if to say “this is not like flushing and turning off the light.”
We still had to go back, but this time we were ready for what nature was doling out. At that brief moment, we were no longer daddy and daughter but two human beings who were cold, wet, and desperate to get back in that warm cabin. With a nod we took off and, I swear for a brief moment, she turned into a little athlete as she hopped over stumps and dodged giant leaves of rain with the finesse and speed of cat, finally getting back inside and into our beds.
It was a fun trip and I think Emily grew a little on it. Her spirit was strengthened by nature and the cold Yukon rain. Perhaps one day she will realise that flushing and lights are convenient, but never as adventurous as the outhouse.