Camping Season is Underway!
Wake up in the woods. Breathe deep the cool, damp, mountain air. Listen to the stillness of the wilderness. Threre's no commute to the trailhead - you're already there. There are many reasons to love camping.
The smell of sweet balsam wood smoke. The warm glow of a fire on a cool night. Whittling a suitable stick with your pocketknife for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. The commeraderie and conversation around the campfire, mesmerized by the flicker of red-hot embers. Crawling snug and warm into your sleeping bag, ready to wake up in the woods once again.
The Next Adventure staff was out camping on Mt. Hood National Forest this past week. It was an opportunity to hang out together in the woods, enjoy a campfire, and share tips and tricks for keeping safe and comfortable while camping. We practiced backcountry skills in an easy frontcountry setting. Everything from tying knots, building fires, rigging tarps, packing your pack, setting-up tents, trip planning, camp cooking, hygeine, wilderness ethics, equipment reviews, and other pertinent topics were covered by demonstrations and discussions.
Especially important was how to stay dry when camping in Oregon. We had plenty of opportunity to practice during our three days and two nights in the field. It didn't rain all of the time, but we were camping in the clouds at elevation. Even if it wasn't raining, the trees would comb moisture out of the air, providing a steady drip.
There was still snow by the roadside, but the campsite was free of snow. Some folks just hung out in camp, but most hiked around and explored the old logging roads and trails in the Tumala Mountain area. Hiking up the Fanton Trail, we hit snow around 3800 feet. Snow is again dusting elevations down to 3000 feet this week, but summer is on its way to the mountain.
Wildflowers were blooming, including yellow violets and white trilliums. Plenty of lichens and mushrooms were to be found as well. At lower elevations, we found pink streamside corydallis and the purple Oregon flag iris in bloom.
Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start of the camping season. Come on by Next Adventure to get geared up for camping this year. We've got three floors of equipment and apparel - new, used, closeouts and rentals. The Next Adventure Outdoor School has hikes and backpack camping trips scheduled this summer, and our Kayak School has all sorts of paddle trips and classes planned to get you out there enjoying our great Northwest outdoor playground.
Greg Hill works in the Camping Department, is a lead guide for Outdoor School, and an Outreach instructor for Next Adventure.