An Ode to Camping

By Madeline Crowley

By far the most affordable way of traveling and relaxing is a nice long weekend of camping. After a long, stressful school year I plan on unwinding and going camping this summer in order to reconnect myself with nature. The experience of camping is so incredibly rewarding. From the excitement of setting up a tent and starting a campfire to the sense of peace and tranquility that comes with being surrounded by nature, there is nothing quite like the feeling of spending a night under the stars. The sounds of rustling leaves, chirping birds, and rushing water lulling you to sleep, and the crisp morning air invigorating you for a day of adventure. Whether it be in a RV or a tent, camping gives you a break from the usual surroundings of your room and provides a refreshing reset. A few of my favorite places to camp in California are Yosemite, Big Sur, and Jedediah Smith National Park. Although by the third day or so of being in nature you start to smell so bad and are caked head to toe in dirt, nobody even notices because they all smell the same way. Additionally, the feeling of a first shower after a long camping trip is simply unmatched. I will always trade a sunburn, a few bug bites, and sore muscles for the view on top of a mountain after a long hike. If the campsite has a lake or a river nearby, count on me to be swimming all day! With opportunities to roast marshmallows over a fire, take naps in hammocks, identify bird calls, walk around in nature, and find bugs, the idea of scrolling through Instagram ceases to cross my mind and I feel at peace in the moment. It is a chance to unplug, disconnect from the constant stimulation of screens, and immerse ourselves in the natural world. Most would disagree that camping food is good, but I believe it is one of the best parts about camping. Trail mix is simply such a good food that I forget about and don’t find myself eating unless I am camping. From s’mores to hotdogs, using a campfire for cooking in itself is fun to do. I enjoy the process of waking up in the morning and making my own hot chocolate or coffee under a roof of tree branches. It makes us realize how privileged we are in our everyday lives with electric stoves and amenities. You will also often eat much healthier when camping because there’s no option to go out for fast food or reheat leftovers. My favorite part of camping however, is the chance to spend quality time with friends and family. I have made some of my most valuable memories out in the forest with people I care about. Overall, the camping experience is a perfect reset for stressed out minds and by far my favorite way to vacation in the summer.