American tradition: Backyard camping

Westwind in the backyardIn preparation for our much anticipated camping trip up amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Skyline Drive [pic] at the end of this month, the husband wanted to try out a brand new tent (one he’d bought years ago but never used) by camping out in the backyard at his parents’ house. He told me the idea and I liked it. So, last weekend, we brought our gear (two sleeping bags, two pads) and headed to the Shenandoah Valley, where we got the tent out of the attic and set it up in the backyard.

To increase the camping flavor of our adventure we decided to watch the documentary Grizzly Man while settling into the tent before we slept. It was fun, well except for the fact that the movie freaked me out a bit. It’s a real-life story about a man who gets eaten by a grizzly bear while camping in the wilds of Alaska. I’m pretty sure there are bears where we are going to camp but, according to the husband, they are "small bears" that you try to ignore if you ever run into them. Of course, this did not make me feel any better about the possibility of a bear attack, but I’m up for adventure.

I was also surprised when the husband told me that backyard camping is pretty common, often done by children seeking an escape from their parents’ house. Mom Tynes shared her backyard camping adventures from when she was young; she’d even craft a stove and cook! I had no idea. The American lifestyle never ceases to amaze me.

8 Comments

  1. Khaled September 11, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Intresting, I wish I could do that in Amman. =(

    Reply
  2. Irving Isler September 11, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    The wife and I were supposed to be camping on a beach in Costa Rica. We went to a nearby eco-lodge for some dinner (which was a fun but horrendous experience) where we were promptly informed of our bravery considering all the recent Jaguar sightings.

    I didn’t sleep a wink; between the fear of being mauled by a large cat and the fear that some of the coconuts in the tree above us would maim us in our sleep I pretty much gave up on camping right then and there.

    Reply
  3. Lisa September 11, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Yup, I used to camp out in the backyard (mine and my friend’s) a lot as a kid in the summer. We’d gather up some goodies (candy, etc) a couple of flashlights, some comic books and pretend we were camping out in the wilderness. Of course, Mom and Dad were 30 feet away in the den watching TV. šŸ˜›

    Reply
  4. Guy Tynes September 11, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Of course, small bears might prefer small people…so just be sure your 6’4″ hubby doesn’t have you sleeping close to the entrance flap on that tent!

    Uncle Al

    Reply
  5. Don Cox September 14, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    I remember camping in the back garden as a kid in England, too. So it is not just a US habit.

    Reply
  6. Brian Ulrich September 14, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    I think this featured in one of the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” movies.

    Reply
  7. ratherdashing September 17, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    I used to love camping in the backyard with my neighbor buddy. We’d set up an old military issue pup tent on the grass and throw another smelly tarp down for the floor. We’d wait ’til we were sure the neighborhood was asleep and sneak out into the moonlight to goof off. I can remember waking up feeling dew covered in the morning.

    Reply
  8. Peter S September 23, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Also, don’t bring sugary or sweet items. Those can attract bears.

    I highly recommend that you read “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. His urban dweller–turned backpacker memoir of walking the Appalachian trail is a must read for people planning outdoor adventures in American woods.

    Reply

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