Publisher’s Note: Take It Outside

1674

In this issue, you’ll find a big feature that details many of the recreational opportunities you can find in our region: cycling, hiking, swimming, picnicking, rafting, kayaking, windsurfing, wildlife viewing and more.

Reading the story reminded me of my love for camping out. Or, at least, that I used to be fond of it. For a short while, anyway. Two vivid memories of my interactions with nature come to mind.

One of my first extended camping trips was in the ’70s, when five buddies and I went north to McCloud, near Mount Shasta, to camp and fish for a few days. We had a Volkswagen bus and a smaller VW bug filled with guys and stuff (mostly coolers) and two beloved dogs. We were well above Redding when the smaller vehicle broke down, forcing a half-dozen guys, the two dogs and all our gear (mostly coolers) to squeeze into the bus. We scoffed at our misfortune and pressed on, ready to welcome whatever life could throw at us. That night, at a remote campsite we shared with a skunk who wanted our dinner, a severe thunderstorm rent the skies. Torrents poured through our tents and sleeping bags until it was as wet inside them as out, and we feared we’d get washed away. Imagine the smell of six wet guys, two big dogs and several soaked sleeping bags crammed into a VW bus searching for a Laundromat in the city of Mount Shasta at 5 a.m. 

The second memory: Years later, when my daughter was 3 years old, my wife and I took her and our then 8-year-old son to meet friends at Manzanita Lake by Mount Lassen. It was beautiful. We secured a lovely campsite and easily set up all the equipment, including our new tent. Life was grand—the kids played amid wildflowers as the day’s warm breezes faded, our campfire and sweaters perfectly insulating us from the evening’s chill. Our hair and clothes smelled like a sooty old campfire. After we ate a tasty barbecued dinner, the kids were exhausted and climbed into the tent early to go to sleep. Finally, we adults sat down to gab around the fire surrounded by pines and the starry night. It was then that we heard our daughter’s cries as she vomited all over the inside of the tent. The next couple of hours were spent furiously cleaning out the tent, with my running from campsite to campsite begging fellow campers for quarters to use in the coin-operated shower and washing machine, which miraculously were nearby. Ah, another experience in the great outdoors.

I hope you’ll enjoy this issue and our outdoors coverage. If, for any reason, you’d like to invite me to join you on a campout someday, I’d be honored.

Unfortunately, those dates just don’t work for me.