Archives for posts with tag: camping

“Are you ready to frolic?”

I overhead the question, spoken in a gentle male voice, from a nearby campsite. After I turned my head toward the source, I saw that a father had asked his young girl, who couldn’t have been more than 17 or 18 months old, this question. She said something about “froggie”. He father responded, “Yes, let’s have froggie go frolicking with us, too.”

Camping brings forth images of enjoying stately woods in solitude, like one’s own personal communion with God. Unless one is a backpacker, this is typically not the case.

I am on vacation, camping on Orcas Island, which is part of the San Juan Islands in northern Washington state. We are extremely close to British Columbia, Canada. The islands are only accessible by boat. Some of them are accessible by public transportation, that is, the Washington State Ferry System, which is the largest of its kind in the U.S. It takes a good part of the day to get up here and there are very few campgrounds. We are staying at one of two on Orcas Island, the other being a dozen sites on Obstruction Pass, which are “walk in” (camp equipment is hauled down a mile long trail to the campground) and cannot be reserved ahead of time.

I reserved our campsite eights months ago and even that far ahead, most of the spots were already taken. So, the campground is a busy place. It also happens to be located right on the main road. Now, Orcas Island is far less densely populated than say, Manhattan Island, but car traffic is heard from our little campsite in the woods. We have also had visitors.  A little dog named, “Nacho” has visited three times since he arrived yesterday, along with his family, who hung both a U.S. and a Seattle Seahawks flag outside of their tent. Earlier this week, we had a number of visits from a blond toddler with big brown eyes. He just observed with curiosity, whatever we were doing in the seconds until his father, a gentle and patient Israeli man, walked down to scoop him up and take him back.

Campgrounds are typically a home base for outings into the wild or at least the wilder. Nonetheless, communion with nature can even be found in a busy state campground. (Tip: In the U.S., National Park campgrounds tend to be prettier and more secluded than state campgrounds. However, state campgrounds often have showers.) In our few days here, I have seen the green mountain in back of Cascade Lake, visible from our campsite, the sun glistening on the water. The nights have been clear and dark. Two nights ago, I saw the constellations and the Milky Way.

I hear people complain a lot about car camping around here because of the people “spoiling” nature. And honestly, sometimes people can really be annoying in the woods. But to me, hearing a father asking his little girl if she’s “ready to frolic” is a most gentle gift.

This is the gift of the next generation learning how to love nature’s majesty and surprise.

And froggie gets to join them, too.

What could be more natural?

 

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