COLUMN: Camping solves work-week stresses

NANAIMO – There’s something to be said about camping.

There’s something to be said about camping.

Something that just naturally brings a smile to one’s face.

Whether it’s the anticipation of just getting away from it all for a weekend or hitting the pavement for a camping holiday, it’s a lot of fun.

Of course there is the preparation before an outing and the clean up once you get home, but there is always a ‘next time’ to look forward to.

That rings especially true this year as my wife and I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a travel trailer to camp in.

Of course I received the “it’s a condo on wheels” and “this isn’t camping” comments, but what the heck, we’re worth it.

And with all due respect to my loving wife, we’re also getting older and a night in a tent is quickly losing its appeal.

Now, when we hike Cape Scott and shelter, food and equipment must be hauled in, that’s a different story. If one chooses to spend a holiday there, one must put up with the inconveniences of rain, boiling water to drink and scrounging for firewood to stay warm.

But for an overnighter or weekend around the Island, a hard roof over our head, a bed, a sink, a toilet, a fridge and a furnace (jeez, it is a condo on wheels) is just the ticket.

And with a trip planned for the Rockies and Alberta this summer, the trailer is going to be especially sweet.

But our travels in the first few weeks haven’t been much further than the central Island as we get to know the trailer and remember all that’s involved in towing it.

Each camping trip has resulted in a lesson learned for the next time. Fortunately they’ve been inexpensive lessons, costing more time – don’t drop your trailer, make it level, put down the stabilizer bars and hook up power and water until you’re sure the black water hose reaches the sewer outlet – than money.

My backing-the-trailer-up skills leave something to be desired. It’s been years since I’ve had to attempt it and that was with a tent-trailer so I could cheat and look out the back window over the unit and avoid using the mirrors.

I’m sure practise will make perfect eventually, but if there is one aspect of this camping that causes me some stress, it’s backing the unit up. Any  sure-fire hints to make it easier would be welcome.

But camping is not supposed to be about stress. Camping is about relieving the work week’s worries.

Park me in front of a campfire with beer in one hand, a stick to poke the embers in the other and I’m happy.

I think camping does that for everyone. It’s all about having fun.

Our latest trip on the long weekend had us at a busy campground. Everywhere you looked, families were enjoying themselves.

Our place backed on to a steep, forested slope and a host of young boys came roaring up the bank through our site and down a little gully. They all had sticks in their hands that took the place of guns and bows and arrows and they were having a ball.

No fear of the slope, no fear of the woods and no fear of the strangers whose sites they invaded as they passed through. It was cool to watch them running through the forest for hours, disappear (I assume to check in with their folks, grab something to eat) and then get right back at the fun.

It made me wonder how often they get to do this at home where television, video games and smart phones probably dominate their waking lives.

I caught some adults watching a hockey game on their trailer’s television (I’m just as guilty) but these kids know what camping is all about.