“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity … ”
— John Muir
In case you haven’t noticed, we are looking right down the gun barrel at winding down on another summer. That’s right, before you know it we will be bombarded with back-to-school ads or commercials about getting your car ready for winter.
I know there are some hot temperatures right now, but do as I did. After the last couple of winters I vowed not to complain about hot weather ever again.
There’s something else, too. I have been watching you lately. You are right on the verge of getting a bad case of the hot-weather, summertime grouchiness blues. Before you show up on the evening news as one of those guys who goes postal on the interstate, I have a recipe for what ails you.
You need to go camping.
For once, which is not often, I took my own advice and did just that this past week. Led by my squirrel dog guru buddy Kevin Murphy, your humble outdoor scribe and several adult adolescents camped out on the banks of the Ohio River in western Kentucky. Camp out on the river a lá Huck Finn and do some fishing and you have the cure for those summertime blues.
I’m not going to fib to you. I have strayed from the true path when it comes to camping in the past few years. I haven’t been a big fan. Thought it was too much trouble, didn’t want to sleep on the ground — all the same excuses you’re probably using.
I’m telling you, folks, it was great. I’m not ready to dive into winter survival camping yet, but for summertime camping, I’m in. Let’s start with some of that gear that you are going to dig out.
If you pay attention in these terribly informative essays, you notice that I usually tell you that you may take one trip to Wal-Mart, if you must, so go ahead. You’re going to do it anyway. The real fun comes when you dig out all of the old stuff that you have had lying in the attic, garage, basement or who knows where.
Old Faithful (my Coleman stove) was right there and ready to go. It worked like a charm and I only had one short incident where I thought I might have to chuck it into the river to douse the flames. The camping box, which my thoughtful wife already had packed and ready to go, came in very handy. Plates, cups, utensils, coffee pot, matches, even dishwashing soap. (As you know, behind every great outdoorsman there is a great woman.)
One of the major complaints that I had (and maybe you did, too) was about sleeping on the ground. Just go check out some of the air mattresses available out there now. Many inflate themselves! It’s not the bed you have at home, but it’s not too bad.
My brothers in camo, I am telling you, when you get up in the morning, mist swirling on the river, and make that first pot of coffee on the fire, there is nothing like it. You may be in camp with those who do not drink coffee and opt for something like a Diet Coke or Mountain Dew in the morning. You’ll just have to pity them.
For you to be successful in this venture, if you have not camped for a while, take my advice. Prepare yourself a little. So you are going to have a few bugs — it’s summertime! There is going to be a little dirt and leaves here and there. A little sand in the pancake batter never killed anyone as far as I know.
All of the hardships are worth it for the crowning glory of any day in the outdoors, the evening campfire. Go to the trouble of gathering plenty of wood and enjoy the night as we did, solving the world’s problems and reliving past hunts and fishing trips with friends still here and some that have gone on.
Go do it, folks. Go to the mountains, go to the river, go to the lakes or wherever you like to camp. The most important thing to do, as I have told you here before, is to just go!
“The Trail Less Traveled” is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va., has been a devoted outdoorsman all of his life and is a contributing columnist for The Daily Citizen. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Larry Case: Camping a sure cure for the big city blues – The Daily Citizen
squirrel attic – Google News