Day 48 & 49 August 13 & 14, 2001
I stayed two more nights at Lake Louise in my hard sided van camper. Some seasoned hikers told me to buy a set of bells at the camp store because the grizzlies were afraid of them and would move on. A bought a bell bracelet and shook those jingle bells so hard I thought my hand would fall off my wrist.
Thinking about my experiences on this trip, I came to realize that camping is a lot like life. People come to the campgrounds to pursue happiness. Everyone arrives on their own path and each of their personal stories is unique. They bring enough with them to meet their needs and the extent of their needs shows itself in their choice of shelter, from small tents to huge RVs with expensive cars in tow. But there are trade offs for each approach. The big rigs may have TV, a microwave and ice that doesn’t melt but the people within miss a lot of the woodland sounds, the constant changes of the sky, and the golden light that fills up a tent at dawn. But no path or pace is wrong because there is freedom for each camper to choose the way he or she finds joy and that is to be respected.
There is an awareness of others in the campground community but there is also a code of privacy just like in real life. Social norms exist like they did for the cavemen long ago, no staring, respect for another’s space, and no loud voices. The friendly people will reach out and others will stay to themselves. It’s easy to know the difference. But the universal human capacity to care is always present. I have seen campers come to the aid of others just like in real life when people help each help other during a natural disaster or times of hardship.
Our human paths cross. With some people, you may choose to cross their path multiple times. Others may cross your path and move on. There are paths of people you may choose to avoid. I wish life was more like a campground where we let life happen without judgment and respect another’s path in peace.
Camping like life is a matter of attitude. If you stay positive, the trip will be wonderful as your mind focuses on the good things and not the bad. Yes, things will go wrong. The air conditioner in the RV might break down. Or the bedding in your tent may get wet in a rainstorm. Or your perfect golden marshmallow may fall into the campfire. But you might as well do camping and life as much as you can with a smile.
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