Monday, July 23, 2007

An Unwritten Understanding

Over the past 40 years, I have camped in various campsites in Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, and in the U.S.

Years ago, camping provided an inexpensive holiday where my children could run freely and enjoy the surroundings which sometimes included a park or pool. At the end of the day, a quick shower, supper round the fire, a card game and put the kids to bed was my idea of a good day.

Nowadays, camping has taken on a whole new dimension for me. I love to wake in the morning to the birds, the mountains and the sound of a river flowing nearby. I love to have my first cup of coffee and literally “drink in” the beautiful surroundings of Colorado. It’s not about the financial rewards anymore but the pure pleasure of enjoying nature.

However, I have noticed a few changes in the camping public. Families still arrive late in the day, Mom and Dad looking tired and ready to crash for the night. The children are still the same and leap out the car or campers as soon as the vehicle has come to a standstill. I’ve noticed an increase in dogs on the sites (something different from years ago) sometimes as many as two or three to a family! Needless to say, the children soon make friends with other kids on the site, and run off to play in the park or ride their bikes exploring the campground.

There is one thing about camping people that hasn’t changed: the respect campers have for privacy and belongings of others. Campers will nod as they walk around the campsite, but otherwise keep to themselves. When leaving the campsite for any length of time, chairs, coolers, bikes, clothes, etc. are all left behind in the certain knowledge that they’ll still be waiting for them on their return.

At the Sugar Loafin’ campground in Leadville, Colorado, I was recently reminded of this honesty. I lost my gold and silver necklace, and after searching in vain, I decided to ask at the campground office to see if anyone had handed it in. To my delight, a fellow camper had done just that.