How I Came to Love Camping
A little over a year ago, if you had told any of my family that I went camping (let alone enjoyed it), they would have thought you were lying.
I have a few friends here in Syracuse that love to camp, hike, canoe & kayak, rock climb, and do really any outdoor thing. And being so close to the Adirondacks and Finglerlakes region, it's kind of the perfect weekend activity. I, however, for most of my life wouldn't have identified as that "outdoorsy."
Enter an early spring weekend in 2017, and I found myself on a one-night camping excursion in the Adirondacks. We hiked the Keene Mountain Firetower and camped right on Good Luck Lake. The hike was awesome (as was the mini hike up Good Luck Cliff after we had the campsite set up) and the view from the campsite over the lake was beautiful. I didn't have any camping stuff, but my friends had a bunch I could borrow. Nevertheless, having not been camping in my adult life, I found myself just unprepared enough that this experience was less than enjoyable (I'm pretty sure sleep didn't happen, no thanks to the owls talking from across the lake).
That didn't mean, however, that I couldn't pick enough highlights out of it to want to give it another try. Based on that experience, I decided that if I was ever going to camp and enjoy it, there were a few items that I needed to actually invest in:
With these items and better mental preparation, the second time I went camping up in Lake Placid was an amazing success. My friends completed an open-water swim, we hit up breweries, cooked over the fire, and climbed Catamount Mountain. Most of all, I felt so at peace; the most relaxed I had felt in a very long time. I was officially hooked.
According to Florence Williams in her book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative:
"we all need nearby nature: we benefit cognitively and psychologically from having trees, bodies of water, and green spaces just to look at... We need quick incursions to natural areas that engage our senses... Short exposures to nature can make us less aggressive, more creative, more civic minded and healthier overall. For warding off depression, lets go with the Finnish recommendation of five hours a month in nature, minimum. But as the poets, neuroscientists and river runners have shown us, we also at times need longer, deeper immersions into wild spaces to recover from severe distress, to imagine our futures and to be our best civilized selves.”
Now, I even have my own camping stuff, tent and all (Yes Michelle, you have succeeded). I'm a member of (and in love with) REI Coop. I look forward to weekends spent camping, hiking, kayaking, and touring breweries and wineries. A few weekends ago I even completed my first solo hike up Blue Mountain in the Adirondacks. I would like to climb the 46 High Peaks, and I always love a firetower. I think I can officially say I'm outdoorsy.
View from the Blue Mountain Firetower
Remember: If you're going to explore the outdoors, please do so ethically and sustainably! Follow Leave No Trace! Keep our green spaces healthy, so they can continue to help keep us happy and healthy ourselves.
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