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Keeping Camping Fun

Recently I camped with a couple aspen trees outside my door, for the first time this summer.  It was hard to believe that such a little thing could make the camping experience so cheerful.

Why?  Is it because the white bark and twittering leaves of aspens are such a contrast to the dark bark and uninteresting needles of spruce/fir trees?  That makes it sound like I don't appreciate spruce/fir trees.  But I do.  In Idaho they are so grand and noble, and stay big in diameter a hundred feet up. 


The summer heat has finally broken.  It is time to appreciate once again how nice it is to sleep in cooler weather.  And my little dog runs like a maniac in cooler weather.


What is surprising about these humble examples is how intense they were.  Normally when we praise the simple pleasures of life, it sounds like a cliche'.  It reminds you of a Hallmark card or a Campbell's soup commercial of yesteryear.

'Simple pleasures' sounds like insipid pleasures.  To those who have a romantic streak regarding the outdoors, something stronger and more intense is desired.

Maybe that is one way to assess yourself as a camper: have you managed to make 'simple' pleasures forceful!  After all, isn't that one reason why people go camping in the first place?

And then what happens?  We get monetized vlogs on You Tube that continually throw money at every problem.  They always need to spend $800 on yet another lithium battery.  Or the industry suckers people into buying too big of a rig.  Or we get RV forums or free-camping apps spoon-feeding microscopic details about 'how-to' or 'where-at'.

All that over-spending and bean-spilling just serve to destroy the very thing you are there for, in the first place.

It's too bad that the word 'cynic' has changed over time from its original meaning.  Some of the philosophers of ancient Greece were called 'cynics', which just means 'dog-like' in their language. (*)

And indeed, that is the perfect model for a camper who wants to keep his life zestful and flavorful.  Just think of your little biking or hiking buddy who has gotten thirsty on an outing.  They never sip -- they guzzle like they mean it.

My late dog, Coffee Girl, enjoying life to the fullest. What a beauty she was!

Dogs drink so noisily and lustily.

(*) If the original meaning of 'cynic' seems strange to you, just think how similar 'cyn' in Greek is to 'can' in Latin, as in canine.  Vowels are more fluid than consonants.