There have been a few campsites over the years that have introduced me to animals I would never have had an experience with otherwise. Every landscape has it’s own indigenous creatures. Bears, mountain lions, alligators, and rattle snakes are among the animals we’ve been warned of at the entrance to various parks. Though just because you are in their habitat doesn’t mean you’ll actually interact with or even see them.
In Puerto Rico the crickets sing at night so loudly that it can be hard to fall asleep. I was happy to have never seen the actual crickets, as I have an aversion to them, but their songs we’re lovely to fall asleep to. They even sell cds of the crickets various songs at the toursity gift shops.
At Pace Bend park just outside of Austin, TX there are ringtail cats. I read about them before going camping (I always thoroughly research my campsites before heading out), though I didn’t think I’d actually run into any. Our first night while sitting around the campfire, I saw something dart across the path. Now, I have to say that their is something a bit more endearing about these animals being called ring tailed cats, as opposed to raccoons. Then, sure enough, there they were just behind me heading for my food. Luckily, just standing up was enough to scare them away. I tried to take some pictures of these feisty cats, but they were too quick and it was too dark.
Most recently I had the pleasure of interacting with chipmunks:
We did some car camping at Wood’s Lake near Kirkwood, CA. Aside from being one of the most beautiful campsites where I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching the sun set behind the mountains, it also has plenty of furry and cute chipmunks.
Now, there were signs at the camp entrance warning us not to touch or feed these critters. Apparently they carry the plague. Yes, that plague. But really, I had no intentions of doing anything more than taking some photos and laughing at their antics.
It’s the little things, like interacting with a new animal that I’ve only ever seen in cartoons that make me head outdoors again and again.
What’s your favorite animal you’ve ever run into while spending time outdoors?
What’s the point of a tent?
For me, a tent is one of the greatest secrets to enjoying the outdoors.
I love scenery, fresh air, and spending time outdoors. I don’t love the concept of the bugs and other critters who can come out undetected after dark.
Tents provide protection. Sure, in the traditional sense they provide protection from the elements: wind, rain, sun. For me, they provide protection from the critters.
I have zippers to keep them out. Inside my tent, I can sleep soundly knowing that nothing is crawling on me, nothing is biting me.
I can deal without a sleeping bag (depending on the weather), I’ve dealt without a sleeping pad, and I regularly deal without a pillow. But for me, a tent is where I draw the line. For me, a tent is required gear when it comes to camping.
What gear is required for you to go camping?
It’s all too easy to get swept up in work, weekend chores and other priorities until you realize its been months since you’ve made it out on a camping trip.
S240 is a term that’s familiar to me. Though, I’ve learned, many other campers, hikers and other friends react with a quizzical look.
It’s time that more people learn the beauty that is the S24O. It stands for Sub-Twenty-Four Hour Overnight. The concept: stop the excuses and take one night and just go. Find the closest camp site, leave after work and be back home in less than a day. When you go for just one night, it’s easier to carve out the time. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if you forgot the sleeping pad , the lantern, or the coffee? You’ll be back home before tomorrow night.
Open up google maps and find the closest camp ground. Throw what you need in a bag after work and head on out.
Though I’ve lived all over the country, I’ve never lived more than an hour’s drive from a great campsite. Worst case, utilize your ‘leave no trace’ skills and head toward the closest open space for some stealth camping.
It’s even the perfect excuse to get that friend of yours to come who claims they don’t have the skills or the gear to head out with you on your longer trips. When it’s only one night the excuses come few and far between.
The concept of the S240O was originally popularized in bike-touring circles by Grant Peterson of Rivendell Bicycle Works in an Adventure Cycling article.
So what’s your excuse to not go play in the woods this weekend?
More S24O Resources:
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