Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Camping @ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea

Unlike my previous posts, this one doesn’t describe a place or a trip. I want to share my thoughts on the way I experience camping and how I feel about it. Two years ago, I went on my first camping trip around this time. I still remember the day we drove to Upnorth Michigan and camped at Brimley state park(my first blog post). The nights were so cold and frankly, I felt its just not my type. Over the last two years, we visited and camped at few national and state parks. Each time, I realized camping is the best way to enjoy nature’s rugged beauty..I liked it even more!

 We usually do hiking or tour local attractions for most of the day. As we go on these nature trails, the best things always come unexpected. We walk to a waterfall, a viewpoint or a landmark but we see many true wonders all the way. Its surprising to see hardcore backpackers to determined older couples, curious kids and people hiking with toddlers on their backs, everyone enjoy their share. There is definitely a lot of passion involved and we build a relationship with nature, between us and ourselves! I remember the lines I read from the Ken Burns interview(the filmmaker of The National Parks: America's Best Idea), “That's what happens in a national park. You can stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon and see rock that is 1.7 billion years old, but it matters very much who's holding your hand. We save these places, and they show us a glimpse of what the land was like before–but there are also intimate histories. Parks are places where we forge connections.” As quoted by John Muir, In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. Some find God, some draw inspiration, some just have good times while some make memories for a lifetime. We capture few in camera while others get imprinted on our mind forever, whatever it is, we are sure to return with a smile. 

After a physically tiring day, we like to spend the evening at the campsite in solitude. Far from the crowds and the modern lifestyle, we would sit at the campfire with a favorite book, cook listening to oldies, enjoy the nature sounds: the birds, the creeks and the waves, talk endlessly into the night watching skies or take a walk in the campground and meet the friendly neighbors. Once there was this old couple at smokies who helped us set up our canopy and saved our firewood from rain when we were out hiking. Then there was this another group who got their preschoolers along,  invited us to their campsite for a coffee on a cold night and said they were building their character. No doubt, there is so much to learn: the endurance to climates, become outdoorsy, adjust, act responsible and several opportunities to learn life lessons with fun. After years, these kids will come back, bring their children and memories along and the saga continues. Visited by generations, there is, as John Muir said, a practical sort of immortality in these parks. I hope, my friends, when you make a visit to a park next time, camp a night or take time for a short hike with your beloved ones. Pause for a second from your busy lives and experience the deep abiding love and power of Mother Nature!


  1. I used to do a great deal of camping in my younger days and enjoyed it very much. Over the years I guess I have become soft and spoiled and haven't camped in over two decades. Now my idea of camping is a hotel with no internet access and no restaurant in walking distance.

    Thanks for becoming a follower of my blog. I have reciprocated on yours.

    Tossing It Out

  2. Hi, I just ran into your blog as I was researching on my upcoming camping trip to prairie creek state park.

    I am very inspired to start a blog after reading yours. We have alot in common when it comes to the outdoors. I got introduced to hiking and camping about 3 yrs ago and it changed my life. It is my passion now. I love road trips. I have been to about 13 National parks (Mostly in the West) and many state parks. I have visited 24 states so far and I always like to discover places wherever I go.

    As I read your blog, I was just nodding with agreement. I totally know what you mean. I love the quotes John Muir left - very inspiring indeed.
    Keep exploring......

    P.S. I am from Kenya and in IT too

  3. @mgitiha
    Hi Martha, Sure we have lots in common:) Thanks for liking my blog and don't forget to share your blog link, would love to read!!