If you’re one of those folks who just can’t sit still on your vacation, and you’re wondering what on earth you’re going to do with yourself in camp, we have some ideas for you! First, remember you sometimes can take yourself for what we call a self-guided hike from camp. This just means you let a guide or a buddy know which direction you are heading and when you will be back, and then you … take a hike. Many campsites have beautiful little side canyons, or at least interesting nooks and crannies, to explore. Your guides can tell you where that trail goes and when that slot canyon dead-ends.
If you’re not up for a hike but still want to get the wiggles out, start up a camp game! We recommend bringing a game from home on the river with you; if you can’t fit the game in your own dry bag, the guides can help find room for it somewhere on the boats. A deck of cards, Frisbee, football, set of horseshoes or yard games like (small) ring toss or bocce ball make great ice-breakers on a river trip.
What if you forgot to bring a game from home? Well, well, well. Have we got something for you! Some of our favorite camp games, which require nothing more than a sense of humor, are listed below!
BOW LINE TUG-O-WAR Ask your favorite friendly boatman for 2 ammo cans and a spare bowline. Set the ammo cans in the sand 20-30 feet apart. Pile the bowline in the middle with ends at the ammo cans. Two people play this game at a time. Each stands on an ammo can, grabs the end of the rope, reels it in and tries to pull the other off the opposing can. You pull the rope and sometimes give up a little rope trying to get the other person to fall off their can. Size and strength are not necessarily a ruling factor here!
BEER BOX PICK UP You only need one empty, cardboard box from a case of soda or beer. As many as are interested can play this game. Tear off the small end of the box. Set it up, tall, in the sand. Players must balance on one foot with their hands behind their backs and pick up the box WITH THEIR TEETH only. Easy, right?! But wait! After each player has picked up the box, you tear an inch or so off the box rim and everybody tries again!
JUMP ROPE You can play single or double-Dutch. We use the bowline; the challenge is to get as many people jumping the same rope at the same time.
SLIP-N-SLIDE This only works at campsites with a steep, sandy bank, and on oar trips, when you’re issued a sleeping pad rather than a sleeping cot. Line up sleeping pads from the top of the slope to the river. Douse the “slide” and the “sliders” with water and a bit of dish soap. Willing participants get a running start and dive onto the pads and slide into the river. Slip-n-slide Grand Canyon style.
COSTUME CONTEST This is a contest in resourcefulness! Ya gotta use what ya got! Pull your sheet out of your sleep kit and turn it into a toga party, or make it a crazy-hat party using cardboard boxes or clothes or who knows what.
These are only a sampling of fun things you might do in camp. We also encourage games of charades, spontaneous sing-a-longs, the telling of tall tales, and worst-joke contests. The bottom line is, if you’ve got a hankering to do something in camp, you are your own best bet! So don’t hold back; get that game a’going!