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William C. Altreuter
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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I was thinking about vacations. Something that A. and I used to do, when we were in law school, and for a while after, was camping. A. was a dedicated backpacker-- I preferred canoes. We did both, pretty regularly, with a group of friends that was small enough to be companionable, and large enough to constitute the largest human habitation in the places where we went. When did that stop? I think probably this started being less fun when we had children. When we were young and childless, it was possible to really get backcountry. The idea of being in the wilderness, and the physical exertion necessary to accomplish this, were appealing when it was just us and our friends. The logistics become much more complicated when you add people for whom a walk to the corner store is the Shackleton Expedition, so your goals become more modest. Wilderness becomes "outside somewhere". The physical exertion that was expended on a three mile portage is now used to load and unload the minivan. At this point camping ceases to be Adventure, and becomes Sleeping On Dirt. Frankly, at this point in my life I get crabby if I don't like the moisturizer in the hotel bathroom, so Sleeping On Dirt is out. I suppose this is something that having children has taught me. Funny about life's little lessons-- this is not one that I would have expected.

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