Gratitude And The Simple Act Of Camping

“Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.” ~ Louis Schwartzberg

It’s Not About Comfort

We are fortunate enough to have wooded space by a creek for pitching a tent. Aside from the past few years as development has encroached on our nature oasis at home, it is a serene, quiet and reflective place in which to commune with nature.

But when we start to get too comfortable with privileges of suburban home life, out comes the tent.

As a family, we have camped every year (since our youngest was a 3-yr-old), in every season, no matter whether it’s rainy, snowy, hot, or cold, mosquito-infested or any combination thereof. Being slightly inconvenienced by it all is the entire point.

A tent with screened doors and windows is merely to keep the bugs and water out. When it’s humid outside, you can’t stop that from coming in; endurance is the game. And any comforts from home are kept to pillows, foam pads, and some familiar bedding.

Autumn (Yard)

Winter (Big Bend NP)

Spring (Yard)

Summer (Zion NP)

The best path to daily happiness is to count your blessings, I’ve been told. When you’re a regular tent-camper, you certainly won’t forget to include air conditioning, running water, and a toilet on that list; there is a whole host of other things we regularly take for granted.

Scrabble

Setting Up Camp

Away from home, a few extras will come along for the campout as well: a gas-burning stove, mess kits, lighting, wash buckets, a deck of cards, board games. Most of the time, we just make do with what we have and enjoy our time together as a family exploring the world around us, right where we are.

Appreciate the Little Things

Occasionally I will go out summer camping in the yard all by myself rather than sleep in my comfortable bed. Learning to sleep with heat and humidity is the best way to keep from getting too accustomed to air conditioning. An 80-degree set-point indoors not only saves on the electric bill, but it feels and dry cool compared with 95 degrees and 75% humidity on the outside.

Plus, the night chorus is the best for drowning out the traffic noise that continues until the wee hours of the morning. Deafening and soothing all-at-once.

[Email Readers: Above is an audio embed that will only be played while reading at the blog. Go visit .. and turn up your speakers!]

Some people go to malls, sporting events, churches, indoor summer camps. We look instead to nature to find other things to adore and explore for a short time. It minimizes our impact on the world around us, and being a part of of that world costs us nothing at all.

To see these wonders, you have to get outside first.

Camping Buddy

Teeny Nest Up High
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Wake Up With The Sun

Nature always gets going first thing in the morning, and it’s these hours where most of the action is happening. While my teens are busy snoozing in comfortably indoors, I lay in the tent listening intently to the sounds of life all around me, before the human world wakes up.

I use my senses to triangulate where everyone is, then I quietly step out of my tent with my finger on the camera shutter.

Good morning, everyone!

Peck peck peck In the Canopy
Pileated Woodpecker

Peep peep peep Newly Fledged
Carolina Wren Mother and Baby

Birdie birdie birdie Mate Calling
Mama Cardinal

What’s your favorite thing about camping?

30 thoughts on “Gratitude And The Simple Act Of Camping

  1. Well that was a cool post. I loved the links to the night sounds. I actually grew up near Land Between the Lakes which is in Western KY. Those were the exact sounds I heard every summer while camping there. The cicadas, crickets and frogs are still among my favorite sounds. As always I loved the photos as well. I hope you have had an awesome summer… ❤

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  2. I loved reading this and it sounds like you live in a wonderful location. Me and my kids regularly camp and they never complain, people ask why I like to camp and this post explains why exactly.

    Thank you

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    1. I prefer a high thermostat to a high electricity bill. During peak hours, brown-outs are already randomly occurring in my area. No problem though .. accustomed to not depending upon A/C. It’s life as usual here even without electricity.

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    1. Hey Benjamin! Stepping occasionally out of our comfort zone is just what we need to keep from getting too stagnant with the routine of daily life. Have a great summer, and do come back. 😀

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  3. There are few activities I love better than tent camping, Shannon, and I agree with all your reasons. My favorite part is being aware of what is happening in nature: the time the sun rises and sets, the weather, the activity of animals (birds, in particular, of course). What is not to like? I don’t miss anything, really, but I have to admit that we don’t often camp in rain and in snow, at least if we can help it. 🙂

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    1. Awareness! Yes. Difficult to be aware of anything outdoors while wiling away the hours in front of a TV on a sofa, or in a car on the highway, or with a screen in your face, etc. Outside is where I like to be—and obviously you as well. (Me .. especially at night.) Cheers, Tanja!

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    1. There will be a day when Scott and I will just haul a small trailer behind the van, for carting supplies as well as having a place to cook and sleep out of the elements. Until such time .. tent. It’s been decades since I slept under the stars, nothing around me but a blanket and pillow. Glad to not do THAT anymore! Have a wonderful summer, Pit.

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      1. I’ve been thinking of an RV or a small camper trailer for our roadtrips, to be more flexible. But that’s more expensive than staying in motels.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Camping growing up was always hoodies at breakfast and warm feet at night. No matter the day time temp, night temps don’t rise much on the west coast. I’ve been mustering up the gumption to take the little ones out of the backyard tent and into a campground… But maybe when the nights cool down. A particular little person here is quite sensitive to temperatures.

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    1. Sadly, it’s only heat we endure here, day or night. Last year on our NP tour, the temps between days and nights would swing wildly, from a high of 105 to a low of 45. We had to dress for both; layers are best. I hope your pumpkin can hang with it and you guys can be out camping away from home again. It’s a great family binder!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I too love the recordings, Bill! I visit my blog often to relive these moments, and the sounds take me right back. Glad you enjoy them too .. and that your new ears let them in.

      After camping three nights in muggy heat, the A/C in our house went out. I was already used to sleeping without it, so no problems! But it is rather nice having it again. I’m hooked.

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  5. I don’t camp, although I “went to camp” regularly as a kid. I suppose four years in Liberia might count, though, and years of going to a hill country cabin where there was no electricity and water was carried from the spring. I loved both of those experiences, for many of the reasons you mention.

    You’re right about that 80 degree set-point, too. After a day on the docks, 80 feels pretty darned good, although I have been known to crank things all the way down to 76 once in a while.

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    1. We prefer the rustic cabins even to a motel space; we use them after 3-4 days of tent-camping. Always nice getting a shower that’s not from a bucket!

      Water carried from a spring .. that is the ultimate in unplugged. Of course, I’d make the kids fetch the pail for me. Too tempting.

      I don’t know about you, but we are loving the ‘cooler temps’ of July. Mosquitoes aren’t too bad either!

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      1. Tempting it is, to meet a fellow vegan and to see Big Bend once again. Then the thought of the 48-hour 2800-mile round trip takes the gumption right out of me. But, we’ll see.

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