Life among the trees

The Long Suffering Husband and the children went camping this past weekend with the Boy Scouts. I do not go camping for a host of reasons, most of which include bugs and the lack of a decent mocha frap in the middle of the woods.

However, this weekend I was dropping the kids off. The LSH planned to join them later in the day. Since I don’t camp, I’d never been to the camp site. I wasn’t even sure which exit to take. So I had to call the LSH, confirming his belief that I shouldn’t be allowed to go anywhere without a map, compass and cell phone.

“I don’t even know what camp site is the right one,” I said. “Do you go to the same one every time?”

The children nodded.

“Do you remember the name?”

They shook their heads.

“Do you know how to get there?”

“I do,” Sass volunteered.

I was dubious. Sass is notoriously bad at directions. Even when armed with a map, she manages to get it wrong. I think she might be holding it upside down.

“All right, Sass, I’m giving you a chance,” I said. ” … but, in the meantime, call your dad and ask what the camp site is called.”

Armed with the name of the camp site and a single bar on the cell phone, we ventured into the woods.

It wasn’t too bad at first, but the pavement gave way to gravel, which gave way to a narrow, rutted lane choked with weeds. The mud was thick and deep – it had been pouring – and trees crowded the road’s shoulder. There was no way I was going to be able to turn around if the road petered out.

“There better not be any snakes,” I said. “And we’d better not get stuck.”

“Don’t worry, Momma, the snakes are hiding in the woods,” Sass said reassuringly.

“That’s a comfort.”

“They’re more frightened of you than you are of them.”

“Highly doubtful.”

After driving in circles – literally, all the roads circled back on themselves – for half an hour, I’d had enough.

“If we don’t find this place in 15 minutes, I’m going home.”

“Don’t worry, Momma, I’ll know it when I see it,” Sass said. “It’s beside some trees.”

I threw the car in park and turned around to look at her. “It’s beside some trees … ?”

She nodded enthusiastically.

“We’re in the middle of the woods. There is literally nothing that isn’t beside some trees.”

“There’s a ravine, too.”

“We’re lost,” the Professor announced.

“We are not lost,” I said. “We’re in the state park.”

“We’re in Pennsylvania,” Sass added helpfully.

“We’re in the United States.”

“We’re in the northwestern hemisphere,” Sass said. “We’re on planet Earth.”

“We’re in the Virgo Supercluster,” the Professor said.

I threw the car back into gear.

“You’ve out-nerded us, Prof. You win.”

We eventually found the camp site, after a series of frantic calls. (I thought I’d seen a snake.)

And you know what?

It was beside some trees.

(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)