What to do while camping, if you can’t talk a stranger into letting you ride on their boat

Possibly the best thing about Summer is Camping.  Sure, it’s nice to be able to run without having to worry about one layer of sweat-slicking, one layer of warmth and one layer of wind-resistant, and it’s great to go to bed before the sun does.  But camping really takes the cake (mmm, cake AND camping?!).

When I was little, my family went camping every summer.  And we didn’t have one of those fandangled mini houses fully stocked with a microwave, VCR Player and SuperNintendo, either!  We pretty much had a tent, except for a few years where we had a little (non-electric) tent trailer that smelled all wonderful and musty in the Spring when we opened it up.

I honestly don’t remember how my brother and I passed the time.  We probably spent most of it on the beach, digging holes and swimming, and stuffing our faces (read: slicing open the edges of our mouths) with as many giant freezies as we could sweet talk our parents into buying.  We certainly did not hide out in the tent playing Super Mario World on our portable gaming devices. (Or at least, I didn’t.  Once my brother had one of those, I imagine he probably spent a lot of time doing just that.)

My absolute favourite memories of camping are from when we went with our Cousins. No one played video games on a camping trip with The Cousins.

I should probably tell you a little about these Cousins, first.  In the 20-some years that they have been alive, they have built multiple go-carts and a race track, a hovercraft and zip-line for the dugout at their farm, and a house boat (yes, really).  And that’s only a very few.

Back when they weren’t allowed quite as much access to power tools as they are now, The Cousins had to find simpler ways to create amazing masterpieces.  One of their Summer staples was the Super Flush (which involved neither Italian, princess-saving plumbers, nor ceramic bathroom fixtures).

The first step toward Flush success is to determine the best placement.  The campground that our family frequented (and, incidentally, where I am headed tomorrow) was blessed with a beach that takes a slight decline down to the water.   This just so happens to be the perfect set up for the Super Flush.

Next, map out the area that the Construction Team will need.  This is generally a large rectangle at the top of the slope, and a path, about one foot wide, that leads all the way down to the water.

Before the Construction Team can get to work, they must recruit.  This is step three.  If the Team does steps one and two at the proper time of day with the appropriate ratio of laughter (to ensure future fun) to really fancy-sounding technical phrases (to show that they are indeed qualified professionals), a large group of bystanders should quickly amass.  The Construction Team must now call all potential Workers to arms; a cry similar to “Come! Bring your plastic shovel or your digging dog!  We’re making history here, folks!” should yield highly positive results, and perhaps even a few shouts of “Heck, yeah!”

Now that the Team is fully assembled, the digging can begin.  The rectangle that was mapped out must be dug to a depth in which an average sized five year old would be mostly obscured.  The connecting path must be dug out to almost as deep initially, though this can become shallower as it approaches the water.  Most importantly, a retaining wall of about a nine-year-old’s handspan must remain in place, separating the main hole from the path.

The second to last step can be a lengthy one, depending on how prepared the Team is.  The main hole must be filled with water.  This can take anywhere from the entire time between nap and supper (with ten Workers running back and forth between the water and the hole with small, sand castle-building buckets) to the time it takes your baby sister to crawl across the grass from one parent to the other (with ten Workers dragging huge pails supplied by the ever-prepared Cousins).  It is important to remember that sand drinks a lot of water, and therefore you have to be FAST, and stop up the hole’s thirst before the water level will actually begin to rise.

Now, at last, the Unveiling!  With whatever tools of destruction the Team has at hand, the remaining section of sand between the path and the main hole must be eliminated.  Hack, claw or kick – whatever it takes.  And this must be done quickly as well.

The water will burst from the main hole like a kid with chocolate-covered fingers running to pet your newly bathed Golden Retriever.

And … that’s basically it.  The entire process took about three hours to prepare, and about 2 minutes to destroy (usually the water washed out most of the path).  Afterward, the Construction Team would go for giant Freezies, or a swim.  Sometimes the overzealous ones would rebuild the retaining wall and make the main hole into a jacuzzi.  Regardless of the After-Party escapades, The Cousins would inevitably be the coolest kids in the whole campground.  They no doubt received countless invites to tea parties and video game marathons, but they were only interested in planning their next fantastic invention.  I’m relatively certain they made blueprints.

***

This weekend when I am laying on the beach reading, or splashing through the shallows with my ladies, I’ll be having a grand old Grown-Up Beach Fun time.  But I’ll be keeping my eye out for a group of inventive, hard working ten year olds whose big brothers are begrudgingly passing down the secrets of the Wicked Cool Waterfall Thingie that some kids built right here many, many years ago.

SuperFlushTM, Cuz.  Coulda made a fortune.

I wanted a warm, sunny photograph.  Unfortunately, this photo is neither from a camping trip, nor Summer.  Actually, it isn’t even from Canada.  But doesn’t it just look like you could pillow your head on those blossoms?
Everything is just better in England…

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