Early this year I visited my sister and family in southern California. I was planning on taking my nieces on a camping trip while I was out there. The camping/hiking trip was modified since I didn't bring all of my gear and didn't get the time to plan out a trip. Instead we stayed at a local RV campground for a night. This turned out to be a great idea, since I was able to quickly determine which of my nieces was up for the challenge of a 2-3 day trip hiking, and which one would rather be at home on her computer with the modern convenience of the microwave to cook food.
We set up camp and then walked around the complex. Next to our campsite was a cow farm. Yes, a thousand happy California cows were grazing next door. In addition, they were creating an unpleasant aroma in the air that gave me flashbacks to going to the county fair as a child.
We had brought hotdogs to make for dinner over the fire. The girls both gave a try at cooking their hotdogs. And both of them ended up with burnt hotdogs that were cold inside. After I finished cooking mine and explained that mine was just fine, they had me make their next ones. We had a fire making clinic after dinner. Mine was going just fine, but they both had a little trouble with theirs. One of my nieces was able to keep a decent fire with a little work. The other one decided the best way to fix fire problems was to start over each time the flame died by scattering the wood. Her fire never stayed burning for more than about 3 minutes at a time.
The next morning I woke up to see the older sister sitting up shivering. We had a big tent and she decided to sleep by herself on the other side. I asked if she was ok, and she explained she hardly slept because she was so cold. I explained that I had two long-sleeve shirts next to my sleeping bag that she could have used. Her response was, "I didn't know you had those." I then asked why she didn't just come over to our side of the tent and sleep next to us. "There was no room." This made little sense since I slept in a two person sleeping bag. I looked at my other niece who had slept next to me and asked if she was cold last night. Her reply? "Nope, actually I had to pull up my pant legs because I got too warm." Now, part of this was probably exaggerated in order to aggravate her older sister.
We brought poptarts for breakfast. The older sister said in shock, "We don't have a microwave. How are we supposed to heat them up?" "We can heat them over the fire," was my reply. Well, her's ended up warm and burnt on the edges. They didn't taste like they do from the microwave, so she refused to eat them. I tasted them and told her there was nothing wrong with them. After her sister and I warmed ours up, her sister gave her one from her pack. I was less compassionate towards the situation. Natural consequences: the poptarts were fine, she refused to eat them, I'm not sharing mine.
After the whole event was over, I was glad I had gotten a trial run camping with my nieces. I found out that the older one was not interested in this tent camping thing. The younger one was ready for my next trip out to visit so we can take off hiking. Hopefully, I'll get that trip in next spring.
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