Sometimes I lose track of the notion that it’s ok to be in the woods and not have some kind of agenda. Going on a camping trip for a night, or two, or more is one of the best ways to get some serious relaxation time in. You can hike or canoe into a remote site and really unwind in the peace and quiet. I’ve done a lot of camping with the family in regular campgrounds where everybody brings their camper and spends time at the arcade and then going down to see the band at night.
I don’t really consider this camping in the true sense, even though it can be really fun under the right circumstances. But there’s a big difference between the relaxation of a backwoods, off grid, camping trip compared to the alcohol fueled camping trip to your favorite campground where the RV or tag-along is the home of choice.
To me, a true backwoods camping trip means you’re off-grid and not within easy reach of civilization. You have to be resilient enough to handle any emergencies by yourself. It might mean hearing strange noises at night and not being fully sure of what’s making them. It means you’re responsible for your fire, tent, sleeping bag, food, water, and everything else modern humans need for a short time in the wilderness. Are you up to it?
How much civilization can you leave behind? Are you ready to ditch your cell phone? Camping off-grid might just mean you don’t have any cell phone reception. Can you navigate without your GPS? Your map and compass skills might be the only thing between a successful camping trip and a long week being lost in the woods. Are you ready to handle any emergency that might arise and not have 911 at your fingertips?
Bring a couple of books to keep your mind busy and a notebook to capture your thoughts or draw in.
I broke my ankle once in the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine and there was no cell reception where it happened. I just had to suck it up and deal with it. Do NOT put all your faith in technology because when you need it the most is when it will fail you.
Once you have the confidence to get out there and do it you’ll find those close to home camping trips inadequate. You’ll find your yearning for a return to the wilderness like a psychic splinter you can’t get rid of until you load up your pack and hit the trail with everything you need to survive for a week on your back.
Happy hiking and camping!