Friday, February 8, 2008


Read the first few chapters of Rod Nash's Wilderness and the American Mind and you can get a clear picture of what the early settlers from Europe thought of the wilds of the New World. The forests and mountains were dark, scary, and filled with evil. They would huddle in their cabins at night, worried about strange noises and ready to defend themselves from the bad things that lived out there. The only way to deal with this threat was to clear and tame the land, by bringing in light.

Shoot forward to the twentieth century, where camping was a favored pastime, a healthy and normal thing to do. We had pretty much gotten over the dark evil fears, although I remember reading Night of Grizzly when we were camped out in Glacier National Park, and it scared the heck out of me.

Today, we still have folks camping out in fairly large numbers, but some are suggesting that camping may not be a "normal" thing to do anymore. The normal thing, according to a columnist's words I read this morning, is to sit at home in front of the TV. Camping is scary and dangerous. There are so many dangers and the folks you might meet are not normal.
They suggest the proposed campground would attract strange people. Sadly, that's true.

Camping isn't something normal people do any more.

Normal people sit indoors, in front of the television. Their children also are indoors, but watching television in another room.

Has the information revolution pulled our society closer to the point that our ancestors were at? My answer is go camping.