Sunday, October 22, 2017


Years and years ago my family went camping in the mountains of New Mexico.  I was probably four years old but I still remember it like it was yesterday.  All of us piled in the salmon colored Ford station wagon, our beloved daschund huddled in the back seat with the rest of us kids drinking NeHi grape soda and eating Cheetos.   Hey don’t judge until you’ve tried it.  Muck the magic wiener dog loved it.

There we were in the wilds of the Gila Mountains.  Bare cliffs to the north of us and desert to the south of us.  My brother would tell me to get down in the floor boards because there were Indians on the cliffs and they loved to kidnap little girls with frizzy hair and buck teeth.  I looked up to my big brother and believed everything he told me.  Well, almost everything. 

It was in those early days that I learned the Golden Rules of Camping.  Yes, there are RULES.  There are rules for everything and everyone.  You don’t get a pass just because you think you are special.  Trust me you’re not. 

Let’s go over some of those rules and see if you are guilty of these or if you are a happy camper.

       The standard you bring it in, you take it out.  Everything from the wrapper on your snickers to poop.  Unless of course, facilities are provided.  Nobody wants to be out trekking the wilds only to come upon a big pile of your feces.  Novices to hiking will stand around with their guide books pontificating about which animal left their scat under the elm tree.  “It could be the Puma Concolor” Biff will pose while Skip will argue that it is the Ursus Americana.  Nope it will just be the old Americana Dumbass.

2.       If camping in a camp ground be respectful of your neighbor.  Now see I believe this goes back to that golden rule of life.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  What I mean is don’t take up more space than was allotted you.  Don’t be noisy and rambunctious after ten pm and don’t be that morning clatterer clanging pots and pans before six in the morning.  Be respectful. 

3.       Just because you are camping does not give you or your children permission to act like fools.  Kids will be kids but teach your kids to respect themselves as well as others.  Don’t trample through someone else’s camp site.  Don’t set up camp in the middle of walk ways and or driving lanes.  Yes, we are all thrilled this is little Psummer’s with a silent P first camping trip and that little Gailey, pronounced Hailey, just loves to play in the stream but keep an eye on them for goodness sake.  No one wants to police your kids.  That is your job.

4.       If you have a large group camping together, please for the love of all things holy, do not take over the whole camp ground.  There are other people there trying to enjoy it too and may not want to be in the middle of your Corn Hole game or listen to your Uncle Bill’s rounding rendition of Jail House Rock.

5.       Pets.  Can we talk about your pets?  I love dogs, cats, ferrets and birds of all flavors but if you can’t control your animal then don’t bring it with you or at the very least keep it on a leash.  I know you love Fluffy and could not stand to be a minute away from the hairy little fuzz ball but remember Pete Puma loves Fluffy too.  Fluffy tastes just like chicken.  Also remember all animals do not instantly get along.  Dog fights are unpleasant, a kitty being terrorized by Fido is awful and your ferret burrowing into your neighbor’s camper is rude so keep your pet under control at all times.

OK, I’m gonna stop preaching here and leave you with a few thoughts.  Some people LIVE in their RV’s.  It is their home.  They go from place to place enjoying this wonderful country of ours.  Most of them are good at what they do.  They enjoy meeting new people and new faces.  So, when you're camping and someone says Good Morning or Good Afternoon, don’t be an ass.  Smile and return the greeting.  It will make you a better camper.

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