I find myself lucky. Of all places to be born, this place (peaceful, polite and largely pleasant) is in my view about the best. The general tax rate, coming weather change and endless political attack ads are out of my mind. I see campsites.
An elective activity, camping makes summer days tougher to beat. To me this is one of Canada’s greatest gifts.
It is also at the point in the summer where I am used to the weather, riding a bike, and particularly taking for granted the opportunity to be outside for more than 24 hours and not freeze. This is a mistake. A grave one. No sooner will I turn around twice than be back to fleece and wool socks of a colourful but increasingly more chilly fall. Until then you can find me at a campsite, looking out over the land:
I have never outgrown being outside or a tent. Though I have upped my game and level of comfort, the wonder of nature and opportunity to sleep one composite fabric from the outside has never dimmed in significance. It’s a small amount of effort and dirt under the nails to feel this good.
Some people camp with technological wonders, castles of comfort. Some people camp to hike. Others camp to swim. Others camp to relax and let their kids run wild.
I camp to camp – then hike, and swim, and bike … Being in the outdoors is the goal.
Rain? I have a tarp for that. Cold? Weather forecasting and planning. Heat to cook? A cherished Coleman stove that has been in my family since 1953 is my prized device. It’s not easy to use, but the rewards are, well, hot. The delicious suits me fine.
I marvel at the great comfort and menu options springing from a vehicle, like a dry tent, site, hot meals, and morning decaf and regular coffee.
Some see camping as impossible to enjoy. Or maybe impossible to pull off. Others can’t bear bugs, bears (if only warnings on paper) or dirt. Those (extreme) less hardy who seek the outdoor experience stick to their condos on wheels, double A/C’s, pop outs, and of course Sportscentre.
I see camping as practical, inexpensive (though that is challenged by the premium sites in Ontario), and frankly a little slice of heaven, or what I hope is close. There is something uniquely special to making it work outside for multiple days that makes me feel more alive and grateful for sights, smells, sounds, silence and especially stars than any other activity in any type of season.
For as long as I can breathe and am able to move I will camp. Because through camping I am alive, breathe better and feel I move better through city life. The woods are a magnet.
Do you camp? How? Why? And is it just me, or is any campsite meal far better tasting?