Tuesday, March 12, 2013

But I Hate Campgrounds

When some of my diehard backpacking friends learn that I camp in a teardrop, I get the inevitable…"But I HATE campgrounds!" Granted, it would be wonderful to be able to camp out in the wilderness all by yourself all the time, but most of the campgrounds we've visited have been wonderful. It's true that you have to share your space with sometimes hundreds of people, but I think many campgrounds are wonderfully designed for peace, quiet and privacy.




One of my favorite things about campgrounds is that even though they are usually open to everything, there is a delineation of space that is oddly respected by people who are used to camping. This small space in the outdoors is yours for just a few nights, and other campers understand that. Also, I love it when night comes and each site comes to life with a campfire, small lanterns and the relaxed talking of people enjoying their vacation.

A few years ago, my husband and I were camping for a week at Humbug Mountain on the Oregon Coast. Every night, after dinner, we would hold hands and stroll through the campground looking at campsites, other campers and the stars. Each of the campsites were lit up with lanterns and campfires – shining on the faces of the occupants and glowing along the sides of tents and RVs. One campsite had a family with about four or five children. Each night, they would gather around the campfire while their mother read to them from one of the Harry Potter books. The kids were enchanted by the story and just sat quietly and listened – no iPhones, iPods or iPads in sight. We would hover in the dark near a large pine tree to also listen to the tales of Harry, Hermione and Ron and afterwards, we'd walk quietly back to our own camp.

Photo by JelleS/Flickr

7 comments:

  1. There's no reason not to do both, wilderness camping and campgrounds. Different experiences, but both good. Campgrounds are easier with young children in tow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree wholeheartedly. I love both campgrounds with their dedicated spots, bathrooms and evening programs and wilderness areas with just a few howling coyotes for company.

      Delete
  2. Not many place to dry camp around here.My wife likes to camp but the last time we stayed in the smokeys without power or hot water i got an earfull.Shame she wont because in the chilowee forrest there is some great no hook up sites for 12$ A DAY on the mountain top.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You feel like a winner when you are able to snag such an inexpensive site ($12 is sweet!). Can you bring a solar panel setup or a propane hot water system for your wife? Maybe hot coffee in bed when she first wakes up?

      Delete
  3. Great thoughts on campsites. I agree wholeheartedly. I actually enjoy the "community" of the experience. I'm always fascinated with how different people set up camp. I like the soft din of conversations in the woods...unless they carry on too loud or late into the night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Grant. I also enjoy the community aspect and also love to see what gear people bring. I tend to get a lot of camping ideas when looking at other people's sites. I'll ask them where they purchased an item and most campers are thrilled to discuss their camping techniques.

      Delete
  4. Our Family of 8 loves camping in campgrounds. In order of preference we like National Parks, then National Forest, and finally state parks. We find our neighbors are usually well mannered. We have been tent campers but will use our Tear Drop as a base station, when we finish the build. We have learned that the more equipment brought on a camping trip, the nosier the neighbor will be. We like it when nature's sounds prevail. Only once did we have a negative experience where drunk, quarrelsome neighbors kept us up at night. We call it your "Jerry Springer" camping experience. Fortunately the kids slept through the whole episode.

    ReplyDelete