So, I have lived in Montana since I was 2, it’s safe to say that I’m a Montana girl. However, when it comes to camping, I’m not a big fan. I have a sneaking suspicion that at least some of my aversion to camping is rooted in my childhood.

The most glaring memories I have of camping as a child have to do with sleeping in a tent. I remember not getting any sleep because I always seemed to be lying on a boulder, smashed against the outer wall of the tent and freezing. I’m not sure how it happened, since I have three siblings and a mother and father, but I always managed to be smashed along the outside wall of the tent. I never was snuggled in the middle of a family sandwich, warm. As, if that wasn’t bad enough, my dad’s snoring sounded like a silverback gorilla in the rut.

Since I’m the parent now, instead of the kid, I have a much different reason for disliking camping. It’s the preparation and putting everything away when you get home part. I detest getting everything packed for six people, which includes, clothes, sleeping bags, food, dishes, condiments, etc… It always takes a half a day just to pack for that many people. My husband is really good about cooking when we camp, so I can’t complain about that. But, when we get home there is always a mountain of laundry to do, all the dishes to wash, all the condiments and leftover food to put away and everyone needs to take a good long shower. It always looks like a tornado hit our house for a few days after we return from camping. It doesn’t seem to matter how clean I leave the house when we head out for camping, the house always ends up in the same disaster mode when we return.

The thing that I like least about camping, no matter what age I am, is how gross and grimy I feel after a day or two of not showering. It doesn’t take long before my hair feels like I dumped a jar of mayo on it mixed with a half cup of olive oil. It just feels gross and looks even worse. How many days of bed head can you handle before a hat can’t even hide its mangled mess. It looks and feels like a goat has been gnawing on my hair while I’ve been distracted by a roll in the hay. My skin feels like a piece of tape that you dropped on a dirty floor- a little tacky to the touch and covered in dirt and hair. Gross.

What do you think? What are your feelings about camping?

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.