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Camping Through The Eyes of Theodore Roosevelt

camping

Camping is a super fun activity that can be enjoyed by most ages. While some campgrounds are rustic, others can offer “high end” experiences. Glamping is a word that best describes the latter, a portmanteau of “glamourous” and “camping.” This style of camping offers resort-like service and amenities. However, no matter what type of camping you choose – whether in the backwoods or at a camping resort, both options put you close to nature and allow you to witness beautiful landscapes and dream under deep starry skies. If you’re new to camping, or you’ve never been and would like to try it, consider setting up a tent in your private backyard to see if you like the experience. While it’s not quite the same as a true camp trip somewhere in nature, it may give you a glimpse of what it’s like. Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th U.S. President, loved nature and often expressed the joy it brought him to spend time outdoors camping and the like.

No other president embraced the outdoors with such enthusiasm as T. Roosevelt. After camping at Yosemite National Park, he declared, “It was like laying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man.” As a hunter who combined frontiersman thinking with principles of conservation, he was deeply respectful of natural surroundings. Of the Grand Canyon, Roosevelt shared, “Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness, and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” Camping allows folks to see new places, enjoy the company of others around a campfire, and use the land conscientiously and hopefully responsibly without leaving a trace behind. Heading into nature also allows us to observe nature and notice even the smallest of details. Roosevelt shared this and other observations, “The little owls call to each other with tremulous, quavering voices throughout the livelong night, as they sit in the creaking trees.”

Camping is generally an inexpensive way to see the world. Many campers love the activity so much that they claim it’s a necessity of the human spirit. Here’s some truth serum: While camping, you are at the mercy of the weather. And some energy must be exerted as gear needs to be packed, brought to the campsite, and unpacked. Also, for rustic camping, you might be far from amenities such as hot showers, comfortable bedding, and sometimes even flushing toilets. However, for the beauty if affords and for time well-spent in natural surroundings, most people don’t mind. Theodore Roosevelt explained it best, “The lack of power to take joy in outdoor nature is as real a misfortune as the lack of power to take joy in books.” So, get outdoors if you can, and go explore the land. He describes it like this, “The farther one gets into wilderness, the greater the attraction of its lonely freedom.”


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