Let's Go Camping

A summertime camping trip is the ultimate in family fun — well, maybe not for everyone, but it's certainly a popular pastime. Fall camping is even better, I think. Crisp cool air scented with color-turning leaves, a toasty campfire, hot cocoa, s'mores... yes.

My family and I just returned from a camping trip in NW Ohio. Granted, some might call it "glamping," since it involved a 26-foot travel trailer complete with beds, full bathroom, refrigerator, microwave, TV, and air conditioning. OK, so it's a little like towing a mini-version of your house along with you, but even so it affords opportunities for family togetherness, appreciation of nature, and new experiences.

You might be surprised to learn that recreational camping has been a popular pastime since the late 1880s! Yes -- we're talking about camping by choice. Westward-ho pioneers, homesteading settlers, military encampments, and displaced Dust Bowl survivors in the 1930s roughed it out of necessity, But people have been choosing to leave behind their comfortable homes and sleep beneath the stars, cook on an open fire, and commune with nature for generations.

The history of camping is a fascinating study. Check out this infographic from ReserveAmerica.com.

If you're interested in disconnecting with the modern world and camping like our ancestors, here are a few links that may inspire you. Personally, I wouldn't recommend totally doing without any modern technology at all — my viewpoint about appreciating history is to enjoy the best of past eras, not to be obsessive about it. Safety is #1.





Last but not least, a shout-out to the National Park Service, which has a fascinating history too. Did you know that the first U.S. National Park was Yellowstone, established in 1872? There are now 59 National Parks, and 417 National Park Sites. If you are interested in learning more about the National Parks' rich history, I recommend the documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" by Ken Burns. As of this post, it's available on Netflix.

Happy Trails!


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