The Pain of Family Trips This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     A word to the wise: when your parents start taking a keen interest in hiking books and field guides, you are in way over your head. I missed the warning signs and didn't think twice when I saw hiking paraphernalia all over the living room and guides on how to get the most out of fall foliage accumulating on the couch. I suppose that is how I got wrapped up in one of the most terrible vacations ever ... the family camping trip.

Sure, it's a common desire for parents to want their kids to bond with nature. However, a camping trip seems oxymoronic when put in context of a vacation. And so it goes. I woke up at an atrocious hour of the morning for any teenager, and dragged the canoe out of the attic and threw it on top of the car. Then, because I'm lucky, I got to help squish a week's worth of living supplies into the confines of our motor vehicle.

The real fun began at the campground. We arrived in the wee hours of the night, and then had to set up the tent. The whole thing was a trap, really, since all you really want to do is go to bed, but you discover you have to build your tent out of metal rods, which never fail to give you a little finger pinch. What fun. Besides having to walk three miles down the road to use the bathroom during the night, everything seemed fine.

Since there were only primitive means of cooking, dinner festivities started early. This was when I was volunteered to host the yeast in my sleeping bag, for it needed a warm place to rise if we hoped to have bread for dinner. This puzzled me, since the first thing my parents had said when we got to the campsite was, "No food in the tents! There are big bears in these woods!" The fact that large bears lurked behind my tent was already unsettling, and I found it even more unsettling that I was volunteered to keep the bread in my sleeping bag, making me a direct target. I guess serving as my family's human sacrifice to some large carnivore didn't make me all that fond of the trip either.

During the day, my family and I hiked, canoed, hiked and hiked some more. We had two canoes, but ended up with the three strongest people in one canoe with no supplies, and me and my useless 10-year-old brother in the other, along with coolers, tents and other supplies. Not only did my brother growl at other canoes, he also managed to drop a paddle, making it virtually impossible to move the canoe.

If you think you like nature, think again. If you think your parents like nature, tell them you're busy over school vacation. A camping trip like this is something I would wish upon no one. Just watch out for the warning signs, and when you see them, run - very fast.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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