Camping Guest Post – My Camping Trip

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I’ve got another guest post for you today. All photos belong to the guest poster.

Every summer, my family has a Great Camping Trip and I’ve been going since I was about six.  My father is a huge outdoors fan and is basically the heart and soul of our planning, hiking, and camping.  Perhaps it’s because of I was raised on minimalist camping, but I didn’t even understand what “car camping” or “cabin camping” was for many years.  Camping, to me, meant carrying everything you need on your back, which encourages you to give up a lot of things you don’t need.  (Mind you, I always managed to bring at least one small paperback with me.  No need to be without reading material.) I learned to pack my clothes for a week into a single gallon-sized ziplock bag.  Our food was light, our tents were small, our extras comforts were minimal.

The night before a GCT, we would all be cramming things into my dad’s collection of ancient external frame and highly uncomfortable backpacks (we’ve since updated, but not that recently).  Each pack would be weighed and each person would try it on to see just how much they thought they could carry.  It was a time for bragging, but also a time for admitting to being a wimp.  I still remember the year we went when I figured out that my dad was approximately three times my age (20 or so) and was still carrying twice as much weight (my pack was near 30 lbs).

Back when I was six, I didn’t go on the long trips.  I only started those when I got to be about 11 or 12.  I remember the first time I got to go on the Big One.  This trip entailed traveling across a basin surrounded by mountains (Uinta Mountains in Eastern Utah) about 7-10 miles a day.

We would hike from early morning until afternoon, until we got to a new lake, make camp, fish, eat, and then fall into our sleeping bags, exhausted.  Usually the next day we would pack up and move another 7-10 miles to the next spot.  Occasionally, we would rest for a day between hikes, but not always.  It was hard, but it was so rewarding.  Despite living for a week with aches and blisters and very poor sleep (we don’t carry much in the way of padding to sleep on), it was so thrilling to be out in such a remote location.

I think that is the best part about camping where we went.  Very rarely we would run into other hikers and campers.  It was a time to escape from the craziness of modern living and your regular life to be in a peaceful and beautiful place.  Even if hauling my butt up the almost-70-degree-incline 50-foot unnamed (because no on should be crazy enough to climb it) pass led to utter exhaustion, there was still a sense of accomplishment and the thrill of being on top of the world looking down.  I imagine that is how extreme mountain climbers feel.

Of course, camping like this has its drawbacks.  The food is anything but gourmet.  The sleeping arrangements, as I mentioned, are uncomfortable.  And there is the latrine.  We have a special little shovel and always nominate a strong and unlucky individual to find a place close enough to camp to find at night without getting lost, but also offering some privacy.  And then they dig.  The deeper the hole, the more time before you have to dig another (assuming you stay in one place for a few days).

It certainly makes the trips to do your business shorter.  Most of us will wait as long as possible before giving in.  All these things are small prices to pay, I think, for the privilege of being surrounded by such beauty and serenity.  I’ll be the first to admit, I like car camping.  You can bring lots of things you can’t when you are carrying it all on your back.

But even if you’re a car-camper-only kind of person, everyone should try this kind of camping at least once.  If only to say you’ve dug a latrine :)

Author Bio:
Melissa is a reluctant academic librarian longing for a public library job (preferably in the children or teen area).  Her secret love, aside from reading of course, is minimalist camping.  She blogs about books and bookish experiences (and very occasionally about camping trips) at One Librarians Book Reviews.

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