I’ve slept under the stars in Idaho. I’ve slept while hearing the waves hit the shore in California. I’ve hidden from the rain in Maui and I’ve doubled up on sweatshirts to beat the chill on Santa Cruz island.
In Glacier National Park, I didn’t have a roof. Neither did Ron. Or our oldest and youngest girls. And in Yellowstone I snuggled into a cozy spot away from the wind that just wouldn’t stop blowing.
In every place, we only needed a tent. Or less…a hammock in some places. And only needing that tent allows us to see so much…and to show our kids so much.
Let’s be real…it’s only a few days. You might go longer at home without showering if you’re being honest. And if you’re really keeping it real, there are probably a number of nights at home that you fall asleep on the couch awkwardly or in a chair in some oddball position.
So don’t talk about the need for a nice mattress and a comfy duvet. We’re talking a few days.
I will say though that hammock camping is like being in the womb. It’s like being swaddled as an adult and it’s a magical way to sleep. I honestly can’t wait to do it again, and can’t wait for all of the kids to try it at once.
What I’m really saying is that by camping the world is more available to us. We packed everything for a campsite in Hana in a backpack and flew to Maui. I mean….the site was less than 40 bucks a night. And there were less than a dozen other tents in the park.
There’s no way we could have done Yellowstone with our entire family had we not camped. Those lodges? Forget it. With seven of us – needing two hotel rooms? I can’t even imagine the cost.
Same for Glacier. Sleeping outside, especially there, is the way to go. Bears be damned.
And some places — like the Channel Islands — don’t even have lodging. It’s camping or nothing. And these are places you don’t want to miss. Also, it puts you right in the middle of the action.
When you camp inside a national park, you in before the rest of the world. You can watch the sunrises and you can lay back and attempt to count all the stars (you’ll lose count, promise). It’s how to get a jump on crowds, especially at popular parks, and it’s how to experience a new kind of quiet in places that grace postcards.
The laundry room will be waiting for you. So will your shower. And your mattress. But those places won’t. They’re changing every day — melting and crumbling and taking on new shape.
Besides, sweatshirts are fun. Mosquito spray is starting to smell better. And nothing beats a campfire, especially in a place that is suddenly available to you just because you tossed aside a few of life’s conveniences for a bit.