This I Believe

Owen - Parker, Colorado
Entered on January 18, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: family, nature

I believe in the power of camping. Camping is the superglue of building family relationships. It’s the stuff that bonds and creates memories for a lifetime. The memories of my dad that have had the longest lasting impact on me have centered around us going camping. From the first all family one week excursion into the ‘Rawah Wilderness’ in Colorado that my dad took our whole family on to the father -son camping trips he and I enjoyed so much, there are memories that will never die. Those camping trips formed long lasting bonding activities that I have been able to pass along to my family.

My two daughters and I have talked about some of the camping trips we have been on and reminisced over some of our favorite experiences. Those experiences are always very vivid as if they just happened. Camping is the core activity that has provided us the opportunity to remember some pretty crazy things. Where else other than the campground next to a high mountain stream could I have become more of a hero in my daughter’s eyes? As I was reading the stream in preparation to go fishing later that evening, I heard a lighthearted cry mixed somewhat with a sense of urgency, ‘Dad, save Barbie, she’s floating down the river’. As I looked upstream towards where my two daughters had been playing, I could see Barbie floating down the stream towards me. Without hesitation I stepped out into the water just in time to grab Barbie as she was ready to float on by in the streams current. Dad was a hero. The girls were giggling with excitement having seen their precious Barbie doll saved from the streams rushing current. It’s those kinds of memories that become so much fun to remember and make a lasting impact on family.

There also is one key activity that camping seems to gravitate towards no matter who is participating in the camping doings. That is the campfire. What a great place for everyone to kick back, relax, and let their being go. Gathering campfire wood, building and starting a fire, telling campfire stories, making smores or roasting marshmallows, keeping warm, keeping the mosquitoes away, and so on and so forth are all centered around the fire. Everyone enjoys the campfire. I can remember when it had been an especially long hot dry summer in Colorado. The fire danger was extreme, and the state had put in place a statewide ban on open fires which included all campfires. The ban had just been put in place before a summer camping trip with my daughters. We were pretty bummed out knowing ahead of time that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a campfire. A key ingredient of camping would be missing. We still had a good time hiking, fishing and all the other camping activities, but we sure did miss our campfire ritual. There sure is something special with being around a campfire. It wasn’t the same without it.

It surprises me that more families don’t take advantage of the power of camping. I believe there is nothing better than getting outdoors and camping. The memories and bonding activities that camping provides are forever.