Along The Trail 7-3-14

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Editor’s Note: This is a column written by Switzerland County’s David Hewitt. The articles center on all things ‘outdoors’, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.

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An early morning sunrise, colors of orange, violet and yellow make their way through the cloud cover.

Dew covered dampness, the air thick with the smell of last night’s campfires. Wisps of blue smoke curl to the sky as other campers stoke their coals back to life. Soon the aroma of eggs frying and bacon grease will be on the breeze bringing the rest of the campground to life.

I breathe deep and soak it all in with a stretch and a yawn.

A typical summer morning camping here in Indiana. We’re blessed to have a some great campgrounds and State Parks within a short drive from home. Whether we stay in our borders or venture across the river or State lines, there’s nothing like a weekend of camping to renew oneself.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a million dollar motor coach or a tent from a big box store, camping does something for your soul. Being outdoors, roasting hot dogs and brats over a crackling fire.

The sizzle of a perfectly prepared burger. Everyone seated around the campfire, sharing laughter, stories and fun. Relaxing the way it was meant to be:

Simple.

Sure, it might be a little hot, a little sticky at times and maybe a few mosquitoes to contend with, but the rewards from a weekend spent with family and friends or your special someone outdoors far outweigh a little inconvenience. Besides, it is camping after all and not turning into a potato while sitting on the couch at home.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive affair.

You can find all sorts of camping gear on-line, second hand. Coleman stoves, tents, cots, cooking equipment, it’s all there. Yard sales and auctions can be treasure troves it you spend a little time hunting around.

A ‘Ben Franklin’ can go a long way when you’re buying camping gear. Start out with the necessities and add as you go. A quick trip through the camping section at any of the major retailers can get you set up for most weekends at one of our parks or reservoirs.

And, if you’re thinking the fees for an overnight are too high, check out the prices for a weekend stay at any of the State properties! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how affordable camping can be. Many of our local, private campgrounds will offer deals as well, especially through the week.

It might not be the same as staying at the Hilton, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper and I’d bet you’ll make a whole lot more memories, especially if you have young ones.

So, if you haven’t got the itch yet, pack up you car, truck or mini-van, throw the tent together or hitch up the RV and get out there. There’s lots to see and do. Hiking, mountain biking, swimming, wildlife programs, fishing, the list goes on – or just sit, toss back a cold one, make some s’mores, tell some stories and relax.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll camp next to each other and we can share some hunting stories across the fire and over some marsh mellows.

Life’s too short to be spent indoors.

– David Hewitt