Camping Across the Country

Camping Across the Country

By Jerry

Not long ago, my son and I went on a father and son campout on the other side of the state. Even though he was active in the Boy Scouts and we camped often with his troop, from time to time we took one of these “boys only” family camp outs just to try out our camping skills and hang out together for a couple of days.

On the second night of the camp out, all was going well and we were preparing our camp fire to cook some foil packs for dinner. As often happened, another camper hiked by and we exchanged greetings in a friendly way. He asked to stop and enjoy the fire for a moment and we agreed to the visit. But the story he told us of his adventures was one that peaked our imaginations for years to come. It seems he lived in the Seattle area and had recently landed a great job in Florida. So he had decided that instead of flying to the new job site, he would camp from coast to coast and use that method of discovering America and along the way experience some of the country’s great camp sites.

To be sure to attempt a coast to coast camping odyssey would take a very well prepared and experienced camper. Our family has camped for as long as a week so we know that to accomplish a feat of this magnitude would take some good preparation and ability to camp in all kinds of different situations and environments. But thinking of what our friend experienced as he camped across the country makes such a venture alluring to be sure. Because in his trek from Washington to Florida he would be able to…

• Camp on the beach of the Pacific ocean and experience its majesty and power. • Camp in the mountains of the Grand Tetons and the phenomenal mountain expanses that fill the middle of the country from Colorado to Idaho. • Camp at the Great Salt Lake, a truly amazing natural wonder. • Camp near the phenomenal Mount Rushmore memorial and spend some time admiring that work of art before moving on. • Camp on the banks of the Colorado river and perhaps enjoy some white water rafting as a diversion during his journey. • Camp in the flat lands of Kansas or western New Mexico and see lands that seem to stretch on forever. • Camp on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico adding yet another ocean to his list of wonders he had visited. • Camp near the swamps of Louisiana and become a Cajun for a few days. • Camp in the mountains of the great southwest and compare them to those he had experienced in the middle of the country. • Camp on the shores of the Atlantic ocean, becoming a citizen of all shores. • Camp on the tip of Florida and look out on the warm waters that would take his imagination to further camping adventures in South America or beyond.

You can see how easy it would be to get carried away imagining the sheer adventure and fun such an extended camping odyssey would afford an intrepid camper. We as Americans always have had a bit of the wanderlust in us and that love of travel and getting up close and personal with nature in many different environments never ceases to call to all of us.

Its hard to imagine the preparation and lifestyle issues you would face when setting out on such an ambitious camping adventure. Perhaps our friend had taken shorter but still ambitious camping ventures across certain segments of the country so he could be ready to take on such a challenge. For our family, just camping in a few camp sites across the state in one trip is a broadening experience. While we are always glad for the many experiences we have had on such journeys, our goals are clearly modest compared to the concept of packing every night on a continuous journey across America.

You can tell that to this day, my son and I have dreamed of being able to pull off a camping adventure of this magnitude. I suspect if you are a camper and have a love of the outdoor life as thousands in our society do, such a large scale camping exploration has a real appeal to you as well.

Who knows, my son and I may continue to dream of such an outing and never get to the point that we are ready to tackle such a feat. But if we do, and we are out there enjoying every mile of our journey to discover America, maybe we will find you setting camp and enjoying a nice camp fire. If we do, can we sit and warm by your fire and share our adventures for a while?