I’m sorry. Driving or dragging an apartment on wheels into a pull-through parking site, tapping into water, sewer and power lines and then thinking you’re having a wilderness experience because you’ve got Animal Planet on the satellite TV is not camping. That’s bunkering.
For me, camping means getting far away from cement slabs and campground hosts. It’s hitting the wilderness à la Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket and Kit Carson, albeit with a better brand of toilet paper.
When I camp, I cram food, clothing and shelter into my backpack and traipse into the wild. When fatigue sets in, I look for a place to pitch my tent. A peak-view site between forest and meadow is five-diamond perfection.
Oh sure, backpack camping has devilish drawbacks. Bedding is a mummy bag, the bathroom is a tree and bathing water comes straight from a heart-haltingly frigid stream.
And then there are the bugs. Mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, midges and biting flies arrive like the Luftwaffe over London. The few that don’t feast on flesh plop onto dinner.
More perilous beasts such as scorpions, snakes, tarantulas, skunks, ringtails, coyotes, bears and troops of wild Boy Scouts have been campsite neighbors. For me, delight trumps danger.
From camp, I watch as the setting sun ignites clouds and paints peaks with blushing hues. Birds, frogs and crickets chirp soothing serenades while squirrels scale nearby trees. Across the meadow, a doe browses with her fawn.
I’ll take scenes like this any day over Animal Planet on satellite TV.
[While we now own an apartment on wheels, we prefer camping in Forest Service and State Park campgrounds. We don't have a TV in our trailer.]