Hey Everyone! Hope everyone is healthy and safe today. Today I want to talk about car camping. First, let's describe what I mean about car camping. There are all kinds of camping. There is backpacking where you carry all of your possessions on your back into the woods to a campsite. There is RV camping where you either drive or pull behind your vehicle an RV (Recreation Vehicle) or camper. But today we're going to talk about car camping where you load up the car and the kids, go to a campground, park right beside where you'll be camping, and then set up camp. Now, I have been camping for almost 40 years, and if you count Boy Scouts even longer. But most recently, since I turned 50, I have been camping quite a lot. I do all of the camping mentioned above, but I probably look down my nose at car camping the most. I don't know why. I actually do it the most out of all the other kinds of camping. But I usually say something like, "I was just car camping" when someone asks me about camping. Last weekend my son and my travel companion Forrest came with me to the mountains of North Carolina, and we did some car camping. And it was great! We camped at a National Park Service campground. It's an older campground with old-growth trees and large campsites, over 100 campsites at this location even though it doesn't seem like it. This weekend the campground was full. This was my first trip to this campground, so I don't know if it's full like this all of the time or if it is because of the COVID virus and everyone just wants to get out of the house. We camped very simply. My son and Forrest put up a tent to sleep in, and I slept in the back of my truck in the bed that I had made in it. This was my maiden voyage in the truck, and it went okay. I slept well, but getting in and out was a pain. We cooked on an almost 40-year-old camp stove that we use for car camping. We cooked steaks and veggies, and we made fresh ground coffee with a French press we brought. The temps were cool and the weather was great. While I was sitting in my camp chair looking around at the campground, I got a great feeling. I could see all of the campfires going with people huddled around enjoying each other's company, children playing, and people cooking. It was a beautiful sight to see all of these people from all walks of life, rich to poor, all races young and old, and everyone was enjoying themselves and being very polite while doing it. What a contrast it was to the nightly news of riots in the streets, politicians calling each other names, and of course all of the death from the COVID virus. It was how life is supposed to be, everyone getting along.
Soon it was time for bed. And as old men do, I had to get up in the middle of the night to relieve myself. While I was by that tree I looked up and saw all of the stars. There were thousands of them! I have taken photos of the night sky before, but tonight it was chilly and I wanted to get back into that warm bed in my truck. So I got in and went back to sleep. Now, people that know me know that I am a morning person and a very early riser. So about 4:30-ish I got up and as quietly as I could made some coffee on the camp stove. It was still dark and I didn't want to make any noises, because dogs go crazy when they hear noises and I didn't want to wake all of the dogs in the campground. I got my coffee without much commotion and noise and also got my sleeping bag and sat in my camp chair and watched all of the stars. As I sat there and as the night slowly turned into day, the stars slowly went away. The weaker ones first, and then finally the strong ones just went away when enough light was in the sky. I have to say, this is the first time I have ever looked at the stars that way and it was fantastic, maybe the best part of the trip.
After my son and Forrest got up, we made some breakfast burritos, and they were great. We decided to take an almost 3-mile hike around the lake which was nice, and it was like we were the only ones out there. Forrest had fun exploring new things and smells. When we got back to camp, we packed up everything, cleaned the site, and stacked the wood that we didn't use by the fire pit. Then we departed. This was a fantastic little trip, and I could talk about it for quite some time. The bottom line is, I'm not going to look down my nose at car camping anymore. Although I enjoy the other types of camping, I still enjoy car camping, and I think you will too. So get to your local campground and do some camping. You'll meet some great people and have a great time in nature. So until next week, get outside and make some memories.