To many, many people this weekend seems to be the end of the camping season. When I was a kid, this weekend was the end of summer and freedom. After all summer of running around mainly barefoot, leaving the house in the morning and not having to come back until the streetlights came on (except you better be there for dinner!), riding your bikes, playing baseball, swimming, fishing, and having lots of fun, suddenly you had to put on new shoes and jeans as stiff as cardboard and shirts with buttons and GO BACK TO SCHOOL!
Well, I am here to say you don’t have to be as sad as a kid going back to school this time of year. Today’s campers are equipped with Heaters! In fact, even here in North Western Pennsylvania, temperatures are not going to be so cold for several weeks that you have to worry about getting that frigid. So, don’t let the time of year stop you from going camping!
Now for safety considerations, please check your heater and make sure it is operating properly. It should burn cleanly, and, after the first few minutes, there should be no strange odors. Any appliances that use flame (stove, heater, frig, water heater) should burn with a clear blue flame. Check the batteries, in your LP detector, smoke alarm and Carbon monoxide detector. Also, test them to make sure they go off! If you have heated tanks, you don’t have to worry about things freezing unless it gets really cold. Just make sure you remember to winterize when you come back if the temperatures are going to be below freezing.
Layers may be needed as the days start getting cooler. But, look at it this way, the bugs are going to start dying off at least up North. Last year in November we went down to the Okefenokee Swamp and almost got carried away by the Bugs!
Now, where can you go? Most of the Summer/entertainment park type of campgrounds are starting to close, and the kids have many activities like football and band. So we like to look closer to home. We also tend to do some less frantic type of activities, enjoying more nature walks, leaf peeping, elk watching, and sitting around the campfire.
So, maybe try focusing on the national park, state park or national forest, state forest campgrounds. These are often closer than you think and many can reach them within a hour or less drive. The sites maybe a little smaller, and there often isn’t electric or water, much less full hook ups. But, if you go closer to home and are only staying for a relaxing weekend with the kids, you should be able to get by. Look at it as practice for your dream trip to Yellowstone and boonedocking! Another bonus is that the prices are often very reasonable most being in the 15 to 30 dollar range, for a night’s stay.
So, don’t let the end of summer end your camping for the year. Get out while you can enjoy the warmth of the fire and make memories with your kids.
Your Obedient Servant,
Gary Smith, Jr.