Planning a Memorable Camping Trip
There are two kinds of unforgettable camping trips – the ones you want to remember and the ones you may wish to forget. But in truth, I am personally grateful for all of my camping memories. Some of those early camping trips taught me some pretty important life lessons and also can be quite funny in retrospect.
But seriously – a little planning or at least some thoughtfulness can be very helpful. So here ya go – some of my humble advice –
- First – you know you best, so think about what brings you joy. Think about why you really want to go camping. Do you want to connect more with nature? Do you want to socialize with friends around a fire? Do you want to get rigorous exercise in the great outdoors? Or do you just need a retreat to a quiet safe space? Once you know why you really want to camp, it will be easier to make plans that can lead you towards your goals.
- Second – Again, this has to do with knowing yourself. How much comfort do you need? What are your physical limitations? Do you want to be totally comfortable, or are you willing to give up some comfort to meet your goals. For example, there are beautiful lakes in the Adirondack that you will never see unless you are willing to throw on a day pack or back pack and hike a few hours into the woods. The more gear you bring, the more challenging the hike can be.
- Third – How do you want to spend your time while you are camping? Are you looking for low cost accommodations so you can spend your days site seeing or visiting relatives? Or is your purpose to be out in nature while you socialize with family/friends and hike a few well marked trails? Or maye you looking to connect on a deeper level with yourself or the Earth?
There are no right or wrong answers, but if you have an idea about what you want from the experience it will be easier to plan your camping trip.
There are plenty of sites on the internet that will tell you what to bring camping – and all the attractions that you can get to from your campsite. They will also tell you about all the amenities that your campground offers (or does not offer.) What they won’t tell you is how to connect on a deeper level with nature and your surroundings. That is what I will share with you.
For those of you who are camping to connect with nature, it is not always easy to figure out how to go about doing this. We can hike, swim, bike – but what can we actually do to connect on a deeper level? Here are a few of the things I have done over the course of my life, when I retreat into the woods.
- I open my eyes. I mean seriously, I really open them. Sometimes called Owl Eyes, I make sure I am seeing everything I can possibly see by looking deeply and using “wide-eyed vision.”
- I listen. Sometimes I sit on a rock or log and close my eyes so I can concentrate on all the sounds around me.
- I observe. One of my favorite ways of doing this, is every morning going to the same spot (hidden from others) and I sit for at least 20 minutes ….looking, listening and being right where I am at. It is quite amazing what I have witnessed during these moments.
- I write. Sometimes I just write non-stop about everything I am aware of through my senses. Sometimes I write every thought that goes through my head. Sometimes I write about the emotions that are bombarding my body. And then I take breaks, and look up and notice nature around me. And I am inspired.
- Sometimes I sit in nature and just start crying. Sometimes it ends quickly and sometimes it turns into sobbing. It’s okay because I know I am healing.
- I walk. I explore new trails and visit old trails. I find things that catch my eye, and I might touch, smell, taste or even hug them.
- I run. I run through the woods, sometimes slowly and sometimes I feel like a deer as I hop over logs and streams and feel my feet connect to the earth for brief moments on my journey.
- I swim in wild waters. Once hiking along an isolated trail in the Adirondack’s I saw a beaver in a lake. So I hopped in the water and swam at a distance watching it. Another time, a trail led my to a very wide river. There I swam with the current and enjoyed the sunshine.
- I take photos of plants, trees etc, and then later investigate them using my guides or the internet to identify the plant or tree and learn more about it. Sometimes I return to the plant or thing that I photographed to revisit it with my new knowledge.
- I follow tracks and trails. Knowing that every track tells a story, it’s always fun to follow tracks or a trail to see if I can uncover more of the story.
Whatever your purpose for your camping trip, may you enjoy yourself and appreciate all that our Earth has to offer us. Give gratitude for the experience and let’s ensure it is there for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
Hope to see you on the trail!
With Peace and Gratitude,