A different camping experience, indeed.
I remember, the first time I came to the Rockies (January of 2000), I promised myself that one day, I would come back in the summer, to camp and hike here. And here I am living here, and camping in The Rockies for the first time.
As always, camping is everything I ever want it to be: disconnecting, refreshing, re-plugging, invigorating, wandering and wondering, all at the same time. Nature never disappoints! Humans, on the other hand …
The campground we wandered to this time is only maybe 15 minutes away from our house: Whiting Campground, in Mapleton, UT. It’s so nice to live in the middle of this beauty and to have it all available at your backdoor. Pretty much literally.
The venturing out was not empty of adventure. We managed to dent our driver’s door when my husband backed the truck into a tree; he lost his watch, and both of us were attacked by flies and bees, and both of us got stung by yellow jackets. We also found out that adults can be a pain in the neck, so much more so than kids!
All weekend, the adults were the ones guilty of all the noise! They were laughing too loud, driving too loud, at all hours of the day and night, revving up the engines on motor bikes, riding horses on sidewalks until wee hours of the night, driving trash trucks, or maybe horse trailers at midnight on a Saturday through the middle of the campground, making a huge fire and partying ‘til 2 AM on a Saturday, only to return to town the same night.
We have found out that one downside of the campground being that close to town is that young people (I know! They’re the ones guilty of living it up, aren’t they?!) stop by for a fire and a hotdog, and a joint, any time of the day, or night, and then drive away. Unlike out East, this campground didn’t seem to have a gate that closes at dusk, so drifters were pretty much coming in and out as they pleased, all day and night long.
Despite these small distractions, we did manage to do everything we planned to do to disconnect and recharge our batteries: we slept in, we made fires of our own ‘til we started smelling like bacon, we hiked, we watched the moon and stars in the night sky, we read, we snoozed in on a lazy afternoon in the shade, we ate beans and dogs, like true cowboys, we made grilled dough, or “brown bears” on the open fire, like camping friends have taught me out East.
We saw hardly any wildlife at all, for some reason! They were probably hiding from the human noise! That didn’t tame down my paranoid fear of bears, however! I lived with that fear the entire 36 hours of living there!
We found out that the hot Utah summer left the river bank dry, so there was no babbling brook there. But the mountain air alone and the fresh, rusty colors of fall were enough of a backdrop for a wonderful getaway.
With all the other mishaps, of sorts, we did have a successful trip – one that is begging us back soon. After all, we didn’t get killed by the bears I was afraid of, we did not break any bones in the very steep hike we took, we didn’t get slashed into pieces by the hooligans that were having a bonfire and a wild gathering in the middle of the night, a couple of sites down from us, either. We survived it all and lived to tell the tale.
So, maybe we’ll raise the danger level next time and go off the beaten path a bit and just be one with nature alone - no campgrounds, just wilderness. Away from humans and all their array of noises… We’ll see.
It was a great trip. As the pictures can always tell.