We’ll let you in on a secret. Long-time campers know that the best way to learn about camping is by living the experience first-hand – good old-fashioned trial and sometimes error.
For those having mastered certain camping skills, they become a member of “The Watchers.” To be qualified, you must have attempted and succeeded in backing your camping trailer into a campsite, avoided hitting the trees or driving off the pad. Afterwards, the successful ones can crack open a beverage, settle into their lawn chairs and begin “watching” the next group of newbies arrive.
Tent campers can also join the ranks by carefully reading the instructions or following the how to assemble diagram. For those who do otherwise and after a bit of head scratching, they likely will figure out what pole connects where. For many years, we’d watch people arrive after dark and attempt to put up their tent using their vehicle’s headlights until they dimmed. We were then left to listen to the clanging from – in those days – metal tent poles. At break of dawn, we’d chuckle when seeing the unsuccessful ones had slept in their car that first night.
Having grown up camping with no electricity, water toted from the spigot to our site and wooden outhouses, watching was our form of entertainment. It was a ritual. Seasoned campers stood back and allowed the novices to figure things out on their own. Sometimes the shouting and hand waving that ensued among the neophytes was outright comical.
While it may appear long-time campers have fun at the expense of those who are new to the activity, don’t worry. All campers have lived through these experiences at one point or another. Most tend to allow everyone the space to get settled. Shortly thereafter, neighbors will walk by, wave, say hello and ask, “Where ya from?”
By nature, campers are friendly folks who like to get to know their fellow campers from a distance. Rarely do they become intrusive unless invited to sample some freshly caught fish frying in the pan or are encouraged to try a favorite locally brewed beer and join them around the campfire.
Welcome to the world of camping!