Summer Sunday: Camping, Always Worth It

Summer Sunday: Camping, Always Worth It

Our camping plan usually goes something like this.

The text comes in: Camping in Crested Butte next weekend?

Our reply: Cool. We’ll be there.




However, as “next weekend” approaches so do 100 obstacles. All the “to dos” I’ll leave not done: out-of-town friends who are in town; the inevitability of a late Friday start; speculation around getting a site; my realtor husband’s need to show property on Saturday and come late; the anxiety over having to back up the pop-up camper and set it up in the dark by myself.

But, I’m one of those people who hates to bail. I grew up with a second generation Russian immigrant self-made cardiologist for a dad who always said your word is your word. I can be literal and this trickles down to that social contract I made in the original text that stated I’d be there. I also realize that the obstacles are just easy excuses and I know I’ll go despite the wavering and the voice in my head reminding me what a pain-in-the-ass it will be to get it all together.

If I can just get the gear together and out of the house, I know I’ll have a weekend free from cell phones, iPads, and televisions. The kids will mountain bike on the buff, user-friendly trails in Crested Butte like Lower Loop and Lupine, then hike up the short ascent to swim and cool off in Lake Meridian. We’ll drive through Slate River to get to our favorite campsites at Oh Be Joyful and take turns with friends riding the Butte’s classic trails: Lupine to the Gunshot Connector, Snodgrass, and the 401. But most importantly, I’m drawn to the prospect of waking up, lingering over breakfast and savoring my cup of coffee, then later doing the same with an afternoon cocktail. The kids will play around the campsite with no schedule, plans, or obligations.


over a fire


We do get out of the house and both sets of expectations come true. We arrive at the campsite at 9 p.m., in the dark. A friend is waiting next to the orange tarp she laid out to save us a spot. The kids run out, already looking for marshmallow sticks. She directs me into the spot coaching me which way to turn my steering wheel so as not to jack knife the camper. I jack knife it; we try again. Now, I’ve got to set it up. I take out my notes and reference my iPhone with the pictures of my husband’s demonstration in the driveway.

Step by step, and with many errors, we set it up. It’s crooked and a little lopsided, but it’s up. The other families arrive, also late and from different adventures around the country. Finally we’re gathered. My anxieties are gone; the free and commune culture that comes with camping prevails.

Conversations unravel without direction or purpose. Stories of summer adventures are shared – backpacking in Wyoming’s Wind River; rafting the Colorado Rive; finishing the Telluride 100 bike race – before they morph into the silly and ridiculous – mothers-in-law who visit Telluride and want to “try pot” for the first time; a child’s pride after a good fart; and ambitious travel plans gone wrong. And of course it jumps into the reflective—work/family balance, career changes and goals, and travel dreams.




At the end of the weekend, when the bikes are back on the rack, the camper is all closed up, and the fire pit is full of ashes, we say our good-byes and promise to do it again…

Because camping is always worth it.

1 Comment
  • Joanna
    Posted at 14:42h, 28 August

    Loved this read. Totally right on!