Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Camping for Non-Campers

I'm addicted to travel.  My entire life, I've traveled.  I've actually even traveled portions of the US in all of that travel.  However, I was young and I was not aware.  I was only truly aware when I was overseas.

A couple of years ago, I hiked several trails in Zion National Park, including Angel's Landing and a small part of The Narrows.  That is when my eyes were opened to the beauty I had not previously seen in America!!  That is also what influenced me to want to road trip America once I returned from Italy in 2012.

When Lillie and I hit the road, I only felt freedom!  I seriously had no fear.....I, of course, was naive to renter people!! LOL  Anyway, when Lillie and I hit the road, I was so happy...yet also praying that my Jeep wouldn't die on me!!  We headed to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico.  This was our first night camping.

I'm not a camper but I had been planning travel without a home so I had purchased a light, two man tent that I could eventually attach to my backpack when the time came.  This tent is the epitome of easy!!  At Carlsbad National Park, you can't camp but you can find plenty of camping nearby!  I was tired so I paid for the first site I found and set my camp up pretty quickly.

One thing I love about camping is that most of your neighbors are social!  That night, in New Mexico, my 2 male neighbors were from Austin, TX.  Over all of my years of traveling and all of the locations, one thing has remained true.....Texas is everywhere!!  Camping for free in the Gila Mountains, there were 6 of us.  Of those 6, 4 were from Texas!

Anyway, I've never been much on camping so, months before hitting the road,  I took a couple of camping trips to Oklahoma to learn my tent and what I might would need that I didn't have yet.  The first camping trip made me realize that the Jeep wasn't going to fit as much as I was planning!  Other than that, it was simple enough and, honestly, I don't need anywhere near all of "supplies" that I have.  The used Coleman stove that I purchased is amazing as is the tent itself.  I have an air mattress that I've never used because I'm perfectly comfortable on a couple of foam pads that I've had for years.  I have plenty of blankets for cold nights, tarps, and I have my magnifying mirror so I can see what I'm doing to my  face in the mornings.  Lillie has her bed but, at least at the start of this trip, preferred to glue herself to me which effectively pushed me off of the foam and her onto it!

At first, I kept a fileting knife next to my sleeping bag but that was completely unnecessary most nights.  Only
when I was in secluded campsites or had questionable neighbors did I try to remember to include it in my nightly tent decor.  The only night that I was awakened and was truly afraid was in the San Bernardino mountains in California.  I pitched my tent in the dark next to a creek but I had noted warning signs for bear.  There were a lot of other people in the campground but it was pitch black once everyone turned in for the night.  At 2am, I was awakened by something or someone rubbing against my tent.  I froze for several minutes before peering out of the tiny, clear plastic slits in the tent to see if I could see anything.  My imagination had  me seeing the fire pit as a bear cub! Though I had planned on breaking camp at 5am, it was still dark so I was too afraid.  Of course, I got no sleep!  Once it was daylight, I emerged and circled my tent looking for prints.  The only ones I found were human.  I have a feeling that several of the teenagers that were camping there decided that scaring folks might be the highlight of their night.

I now can set up camp and tear it down in no time.  Lillie is apparently paranoid that I am going to just leave her behind so she has requested that I load her into the Jeep first.  After all, she's very aware that I won't be going very far without it!


  1. You are amazing!! I have tented for one week each year for the last 7 --but always with my biking buddies so always felt very safe (and I'm not on a river in Georgia!)

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