Sunday, March 02, 2008

Roughing It

I was talking to my next door neighbor this afternoon. The weather was the focus of our conversation. It was about 40 degrees but there was a cold wind whipping about. We were in accord wishing that it was Spring time.

He told me that he and his wife had just put a down payment on a camping trailer. They were looking forward to spending a lot of time camping out when Mother Nature was more cooperative.

He was holding a bunch of brochures about the choice camping sites in New England. He said he didn't know there were so many camping sites with plumbing and electricity hookups. I listened and made sure that I didn't show my amusement and disdain for their proposed adventures.

As I walked away to return to the house it was all I could do to keep from laughing. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't begrudging them their right to outdoor adventures. You call that camping? A trailer parked at a camping site with plumbing and electricity connections is CAMPING?

I'm sorry, but these people have no clue what camping is! If you're going to go some place and and pay to plug your trailer in, why not just rent a cabin?

Years ago, when I was much younger we went camping a lot of times. I'm talking REAL camping. There were no trailer parks and there were no cabins. It was you and a backpack and nature. We didn't drive there - we hiked. We didn't go to camping sites, we went into the woods.

We had roll-up sleeping bags and sometimes pup tents. We built camp fires in stone pits we made. We used compasses and noticed the moss on the trees. We followed the sun in the sky.

I always marveled how wonderful it was to rough it deep in the woods. At night the woods talk and sing to you. If you listen carefully, it's almost like a symphony. The crickets and the birds of night make beautiful music. Sometimes we would hear the melancholy calls of a whippoorwill.

I often wish I were young again just so I could go camping one more time.

I'm sure my neighbors will enjoy themselves when they decide to "rough it" some weekend. I'm sure we'll be talking in the back yard and they will tell me all about it. I just hope I can restrain myself from saying, "That's not camping!"

Perhaps someday I'll sit down with him over a beer or two and tell him about the days when I went camping. Perhaps one day I will sit and post about some of the funny and scary things that happened to us young real campers.



Rain said...

I love to go long as there is a stream, river or lake, so I can fish. If I need to clean my own fish you had better bring the marshmallows ;)

Skunkfeathers said...'s breed of campers are a long way from what used to be called "campers". What is camping, without WiFi access for their laptops, cellphones, blackberries, satellite TVs, etc etc yada yada phfffft...

Unless they read about a couple of my "backpacking into wilderness areas" experiences back in the '80s, one of which was chronicled under the title "The Poseidumb Adventure"...

NYD said...

I hear ya, buddy.
In Japan almost everything is "auto-camping" You drive up to a trailer park and rent a trailer or cabin for the night.

Some places even deliver pizza fer chrissake!

I wonder why I made the effort for all them merit badges.

Hale McKay said...



You definitely know what REAL camping is!

Hale McKay said...


I didn't even think about Internet access and cell phones! Heaven forbid they were "roughing" it without those necessities!

Hale McKay said...


Funny, but I never equated camping to Japan.

The only convenience we ever took along was a transistor radio just so we could hear weather reports. This was before FM too.

Serena Joy said...

Oh, dear, you REALLY don't want to hear what my idea of camping is; i.e., a Marriott.:D

Hale McKay said...

LOL, Serena.

You really do know how to rough it, don't you?