When you really think about it, good old fashioned camping is basically an outdoor version of housekeeping. As writer-humorist, Tim Dowling, puts it, “Camping is to living as cooking is to barbecuing. There is something satisfying about escaping from our reliance on infrastructure that turns the most tedious chore into an adventure. Suddenly making toast is interesting, just because it’s so hard.”
It’s fun to get away. Being out in nature feeds your soul. It’s fresh air, nothing but the sounds of nature. But, when you get down to the nitty gritty, you’re still cooking, still cleaning up.
“Camping is exciting because even at its most tame, it’s still a tiny bit dangerous,” Dowling continues, “although when you’ve finally put up your tent and fetched your water and made your toast,mere survival can get – whisper it – a little boring.”
Although, over the years, the joy of camping – being with good friends and family, joyfully hanging out, seemingly, without a care in the world – has been enjoyed by millions of people, it’s always been the brunt of humorists. One looks at it as enforced inactivity. Another doesn’t think cooking over a campfire, in the dark, in a squatting position does anything for him. New York-based writer and actor, Mike Trapp, goes on to suggest that, when camping, your worth as a human being is really determined by how much you can carry without complaining about it.
Perhaps the best piece of humor is the conversation between Sherlock Holmes and Dr.
Watson while the two were on a camping trip. After a good meal, they lay down for the
night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke, nudged his faithful friend and
said, “Watson, look up and tell me what you see.”
Watson answered,” I see a fantastic panorama of countless stars.”
Holmes, asked, “And what does that tell you?”
Watson pondered for a moment, “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of
galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. I
deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God
is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we
will have a beautiful day tomorrow.
“Why, what does it tell you, Holmes?”
Holmes was silent for a moment then spoke. “Someone has stolen our tent.”
So there you have it. Camping humor. What, then, would Holmes and Watson say
about glamping, the buzzword for “glamorous camping?”
In the good old days, most people hated the thought of going camping because they knew they would probably sleep in a leaky canvas tent and have no creature comforts. There was no phone, no radio, no Netflix, no texting, no selfies, no potty, etc., etc., etc. They only ate what they could catch; and they were always on the lookout for clean water. They built fire from twigs and branches and traveled by navigating the sun and stars.
You’ve probably never had that experience. You’re not that old.
But, think about it, baby boomers. As you’ve gotten older, are you getting used to those creature comforts? Even here, in this magnificent Rocky Mountain setting with all that outdoors that it offers – has life taken over so that you don’t make time to get down and dirty? Or maybe you just don’t want to get down and dirty anymore. Do you still want to connect with Mother Nature, but do it your way? Nice and tidy?
Well, there is a solution. You can still commune with nature without pitching a tent, building a campfire or ruining a manicure. Essentially, “roughing it” will be a thing of the past, for when you glamp, around here, you can do it from sleeping in a high-end tent with linens, custom furnishings and private outhouse to staying in a place with running water and chef-made breakfasts.
Yurts, too, can be had a place to rest your tired body, after driving to a campsite.
Of course, you’ll still be connecting with the fresh smell of the woods, the quiet of a still night. You just won’t have to spend a week making all sorts of plans, or buying all sorts of food. Essentially you’ll have all sorts of creature comforts without the creatures.
Besides, you can rough it or glamp it in a yurt. Some come equipped with everything from the basics for a simple camping experience to all kinds of goodies to make your adventure less an adventure. Certainly, it’s not the quaint structure that has been in existence in Mongolia for over 2,500 years. Enthusiasts swear that the unique round shape of a yurt creates a relaxing, positive Feng Shui experience. And, yes, you’ll still have positive Feng Shui if you choose just the basics.
And speaking of basics, you can always rent a basic cabin – a step up from good old-fashioned camping, but a far cry from the nouveau tents and yurts. Although, these days, “basic” in some cabin worlds include solar lighting and beds. Yes, beds!
Eagle County is made for outdoor lovers who want a little something of everything – and it begins with an unforgettable place to rest your head. In need of a backcountry excursion? There’s Shrine Mountain Inn, a nearby collection of huts that’s part of Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. Looking for a yurt on a lakeshore? Check out Piney Lake, near Vail, or Sylvan Lake, outside of Eagle. Want to experience the glamourous side of camping? Yep, there’s that too, with cot-side service at the 4 Eagle Ranch, a glamping oasis in Wolcott. And if you simply want to camp, just like your forefathers, you’ll find more than a dozen secluded campgrounds spread along dirt roads and riverbanks right out your backyard in the glorious White River National Forest.
Okay. Let’s assume you choose to have the experience of simple camping, which means pitching a tent, sleeping in a bag and OMG – cooking your own meals on a campfire. Meals just are not as they were “back then.” Gone are the days of hot dogs and beans and whatever else you could fit in the cooler to simply sustain you through a weekend of camping.
Lots of campers have gone to the “other side”. Easy fixin’s are passé. That’s not to say that more sumptuous meals have to be hard to make. They just require lots more thought and preparation. And nobody’s complaining. Some are actually preparing gourmet meals – beforehand – and cooking them up in the middle of the forest. Gourmet dishes with lots of summer veggies, a good-looking salad, scrambles with cheese and crème fraiche – complete with a cobbler dessert – have become commonplace.
So, whether you choose to sleep under the stars in a bag with nothing more than a tent and a fire ring or you choose to cozy up in a bed, in a yurt with good Feng Shui, you can bet that you’ll be able to get back to your daily grind feeling refreshed, renewed and ready to take on the world. There’s nothing as good as Mother Nature’s private getaway.