The following is a short glimpse into one day of a child being permitted and encouraged to play outside with the only entertainment being that made by Mother Nature. Thank you to these children for sharing their imagination during “Camping for Kids.”
Beneath each ponderosa pine is a thick bed of needles. Bundles of three, eight to ten inches long with a point at each end.
On the edge of the meadow amongst the yarrow plant is a decomposing log. Peeling away the outermost layer damp fibers – thick and stringy – the organic matter can be handled by the armful.
Strewn on the ground are limbs fallen and scattered. Forked, straight, jagged and of various lengths and widths. The only thing required is ambition to gather.
Overhead, thunder rolls, skies darken.
Chatter and banter dissolves with the passing half hour increments. Occasional grunts or nods are sufficient for the task at hand. Together, walls are erected with combined effort and minimal discussion of placement. Minor constructors, each has an eye. Moments are chosen to stop and peruse the work.
A little shake to determine sturdiness. Mental calculations made to define the right angle and a y-branch placement to add height, doors and windows.
Slowly, and patiently, one branch at a time is placed. Sometimes multiple times until the correct fit is completed that fills a gap where there should be none. Time restraints are not pondered, considered or even valued. Perfection of the vision is amplified as the final branch is laid near the peep hole just large enough for a child’s eye to see monsters, aliens, cowboys, trolls, bears and any other innumerable numbers of critters and characters that may attempt to trespass this fortress of construction.
Yards and yards of pine needles are stuffed in every conceivable crack and crevice. No breaches or unwanted peep holes remain.
Next is the fibrous log material that serves as insulation and an even more textured façade of the roof. One handful at a time is meticulously placed not in an erratic pattern but instead with precision required from a height of three feet.
Dark skies pass. Darts of sunlight begin to penetrate the crowns of the overhead shade trees.
When the time was right I was invited in to the grand room of the all-natural shelter constructed over four hours’ time. We would celebrate with mugs of hot chocolate and the creation of spears. After all, our stronghold needed protection from the characters that come only through a child’s imagination.
About Step Outdoors, LLC
Step Outdoors wants you to go outside and we lead individually inspired one foot in front of the other adventure pursuits to get you there. We tailor a first time overnight backpack or a more challenging multi-day hiking adventure just for you. All adventures take into consideration your goals, fitness and experience level. Perfect for mothers and daughters, couples, families, co-workers or a group of friends, we provide a 100% guarantee of fun.
Step Outdoors, LLC
P.O. Box 5451
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
Web Address: www.StepOutdoorsColorado.com
Email Address: Info@StepOutdoorsColorado.com