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