There are mostly two kinds of camping you can see on most occasions. One is camping with the car and the other is the trailer camping. There are places where you can reserve a camping trailer for a certain date. Then on that date arrive at your selected campground, pick out your campsite, and telephone for delivery of your trailer.
The rental agency staff will transport it to your site and spot it exactly where you want it. At the end of the rental period, they will come and take it away.
The trailer probably will be fitted with a complete set of utensils, LP gas tanks filled for the wood burning stove, and everything clean and ready for use. All you will have to bring are your personal effects, clothing, and food.
At the opposite end of the scale, and in the same vicinity, you may see several people drive up in a small car and pull into a parking space. They remove their prepared packs, lock the car and within five minutes disappear up a mountain trail.
On their backs, they carry everything they will need for a two week’s sojourn in the high country, completely out of touch with civilization.
Today’s camper has a wide variety of choices between these two extremes. Ordering a camping trailer delivered to your selected site costs more than some of us care to spend.
On the other hand, backpacking into the high country is not everyone’s cup of tea.
For most of us, at least the first few times, camping is linked to the family car—either a conventional passenger model or a station wagon.
It is not necessary to think in terms of special vehicles for camping. (See later section on recreational vehicles.) If your family is large you may have a station wagon already because of its extra seating capacity, but wagon camping is perfectly practical with the average family sedan.
Trunks are roomy, and when carefully packed will swallow a much larger load than you think possible. There is usually considerable extra space on the rear ledge and under the feet of the back-seat passengers.
Sleeping bags go well here, for instance. If you still need more room, you can rent a roof rack or small utility trailer at a moderate cost.
The condition of the roads you plan to travel should be considered before you load your car. If your selected area is accessible over well-paved roads and highways, you can obviously carry more weight than you should attempt if you are going into remote places.
It is wise to take it easy until you get the changed feel of your car with the additional weight. The car will tend to sway more and not steer so freely.
In less accessible areas, particularly in the mountains, you may have trouble with heavy loads unless your car is large and powerful.
Traffic use on mountain roads does not justify costly modernization, so they are usually winding with steep grades. Road maintenance may be poor, too.
Mountain roads are slow. Whether you are planning to go through these hiking road with bike or car, you need to be cautious. Plan on triple the traveling time you would ordinarily allow to cover the same distance on a high-speed highway. Curves must be negotiated at reduced speed with a loaded vehicle, and grades will also slow you down. You may get trapped behind trucks and cars towing house trailers.
On a narrow roadway, you must stay strictly on your side since sight distance is usually short. The mountain driver who is lulled into carelessness by lack of traffic may find himself in a frightening and dangerous position if suddenly confronted by a loaded logging truck coming downgrade.
Many mountain roads edge along steep slopes, sometimes with awesome drop-offs on one side. This is the only way mountain roads can be built without prohibitive expenditures.
They may be disturbing if you are not accustomed to them, but they do not have to be dangerous. The drivers who come to grief on such roads are apt to be the natives who drive them so often they become careless, or those trying to make up lost time.
There may not be any marks in the roads in remote areas . You will usually discover an error soon enough, but it may be difficult to turn around. In an unfamiliar country, you can expect to make an occasional wrong turn.
Anyone who has tried to use a two-dimensional map in a three-dimensional country knows how difficult it sometimes is to relate the map to the country. This is another reason to allow adequate time.
The driver who finds himself on a strange road, still miles from his chosen camping area with night coming on and a carload of irritated passengers, may wish he had never left home.
Less traveled roads may be unpredictable. A broad, well-engineered highway may suddenly deteriorate to a narrow, steep, winding route simply because a planned modernization program is funded over many years.
Camping in the high mountains or other remote regions has some drawbacks, but it also has its pleasures. If you prefer to get away from the crowd, the difficult access sharply curtails the number of people venturing away from well-traveled roads.
The feeling of tremendous open space is stimulating, and you will find yourself taking deep breaths of the clean air. Although young people adapt to high altitude more quickly than older ones, almost everyone benefits from a sojourn in thinner air.
Light exercise such as a short hike in the rarefied atmosphere is as valuable as a gymnasium workout and much more pleasant.
Wide open spaces also hold their dangers and should be approached with respect. The unspoiled country still preserved is little changed from the days when only the Indians roamed it. It is great to have a hammock and tent set on trees, but be sure to not hurting the trees.
Adults sometimes get lost in these primitive areas, while children often do-especially the younger ones who have not developed a sense of direction and are unaware of the dangers of straying from camp.
The temperature fluctuates tremendously in the high mountains, particularly in late spring and fall. The thin air heats and cools rapidly, and a warm 75° day can become a freezing 32° night.
If you don’t have a camping vehicle, you will certainly want good sleeping bags and a tent, and possibly one of the efficient little heaters now available.
Those who enjoy winter camping in the desert experience the same temperature extremes. You just need proper winter camping clothes or desert camping preparation for planning the trip.
Choosing the campground for large families are little different than one or two-person camping. Especially if you have younger family members, you should consider someplace that accommodates family cabin tent and campfire properly.
Also, the place should be safer for the members of your family and the scenarios must be wide and open.
For gregarious families the large campgrounds are popular. They may range from sea level, possibly on the ocean or close by it, up to altitudes of seven or eight thousand feet in the mountains. Sites in a single campground may number a hundred or more.
A highly scenic area often boasts several campgrounds. Such places take on a resort atmosphere.
Children gather in groups to play or splash in the nearby lake or river. Families with neighboring campsites enjoy other campers as well.
You need to find a campsite, where the access is easy, and vehicles come and go. Well-marked trails in the vicinity afford scenic hiking, and a concessionaire may be nearby to provide horses and a guide for organized trail rides.
Even rental bicycles for mountain may be available. Catch-able fish are probably stocked in the surrounding lakes for trout especially and streams so that there is considerable fishing activity. To the young, the capture of a ten-inch trout is an exciting accomplishment.
Powerboats, trolling boats or pontoon boats may be allowed. But more often, watercraft is restricted to rowboats, sailboats, and canoes because of the noise and danger to swimmers.
Although good roads make it easy to bring in heavy loads of supplies, the preparation of your supply list is not as vital to the success of the trip as in the wilder spots.
Going there with a car makes it really easy because you don’t need any other vehicle to book and you can go in your flexible perfect time schedule for camping trip.
With so many campers coming in, there is almost certain to be a market within a few miles or even an old-style general store with a small stock of everything from groceries to fishing lures.
You might ask: Why not depend entirely on the nearby store? Some campers do, bringing only basic staples. But the selection is often limited, and due to the short season and long supply lines, prices will be considerably higher than you are accustomed to paying.
Normally, a popular campground usually has better facilities than the remote camps. Restrooms often have flush toilets. Plenty of water faucets are set at convenient locations, and in some camps, even showers are provided.
There may be marked nature trails and natural history museums. Most national parks and some large state parks have excellent natural history exhibits, with park naturalists, movies, and naturalist-guided hikes.
The disadvantages of such remote campgrounds are the obvious ones—they are busy and noisy in the daytime, although at night they quiet down quickly. In the summer season, they are usually full, making sites difficult to find.
Most of them offer a wide choice of activity, however, and they provide a good training ground for the new camper.
Another very common type of campground is the small cluster type of grounds. You can find these widely in the national forests.
Often secluded in groves of trees adjacent to a stream or small lake, they have fewer facilities but more privacy. And more importantly, going there with a small car with two to five members is easier and more fun.
The cluster may consist of only a few developed sites, with probably a chemical toilet, a single water hydrant, and the usual tables and fireplaces for each site.
A half-dozen or more clusters may be provided at different elevations along a mountain stream. The scenery and natural features may not be as spectacular as at the larger campgrounds. But these small camps afford pleasant surroundings in a more primitive atmosphere.
They may offer boating and swimming, and almost always fishing and hiking. Car-camper families favor them, but many recreation vehicles will be found there, too.
Although their total visitor use is not so impressive as in the larger campgrounds, there are many more of them. They are found virtually everywhere in our national forests at all altitudes, and campsites are usually easier to obtain.
They are perfectly suitable for the inexperienced camper, though they may require some careful camping and hiking planning and preparation on food and equipment.
A special kind of camping has grown up around large lakes and many reservoirs in the West. Although not so intended in the beginning, many of these areas have become boaters’ camps. Unless you are a boater or a water-ski enthusiast, they are not particularly desirable for camping because of the noise and ceaseless activity.
Another special type is travel-camping. In this kind of camping, you take whatever site you can find near the end of the day of driving. And that how stay two or three days, exploring the country. Rising early on the day of departure you drive to a new site.
This method is uniquely adapted to scenic areas such as the Golden Circle country of southern Utah-northern Arizona where there are many magnificent national monuments and parks deserving more than a quick drive through.
The major disadvantage is the great amount of packing and unpacking, which requires keeping your outfit to a minimum. Travel-camping is one reason the recreation vehicles have become so popular.
Sometimes these travel-through campers will stop at a motel for a hot shower and a restaurant meal. Reservations are desirable, but not really necessary unless you want one particular place.
Except in the most popular vacation spots at the height of the season, you can usually get a room if you stop fairly early in the day. Out of season, reservations are seldom needed.
Looking at the bluest sky, I forget all my stresses. Going through the green I try to breathe, more than I do in my reality. So, that's why I love camping.