When I was little, our family vacations consisted of camping in the beautiful mountains of Utah. From where we lived we could be in the big mountains in about 15 minutes and there was a large, beautiful lake as the view from our front yard backed by more beautiful mountains.
We took camping trips through Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and other western states. We went fishing every summer, ate delicious camping food, slept in tents, in the back of my dad's truck on the floor in his pickup sleeper with our family of four, and on special occasions we got to borrow my grandparent's camper for trips - that was living the high life! Most of my vivid childhood memories are those from our summer camping trips with our small family, extended family and groups of friends. Every summer I still crave a camping trip to the mountains of Utah or anywhere for that matter.
There are so many amazing foods you can whip up like gourmet tin foil dinners and upstyled S'mores, sausages for roasting with an amazing selection of toppings. And then there's dutch oven cooking: breads, cakes, pies, cobblers -- and I suppose you could cook a meal or two in them as well, haa-haa. Did you know you can control the baking temperature of a dutch oven by the number of hot briquettes you put on top and beneath it? Pretty cool and works every time.
Then there is all the sitting around the fire, talking, telling stories, laughing and best of all singing. It's a fun time to bond because you're cozy, warm and bathed in beautiful firelight and everything seems more personal and more magical. And if you set yourself up with some good gear, there's no better sleep than the sleep of a tired camper.
The very best part of camping is waking up in the chilly morning, getting a fire going before you've even tamed your sleepy, crazy hair. Once a hot griddle is going there's pancakes, bacon, sausages and more to enjoy. Camping breakfasts are the best breakfasts ever and a great way to start out a new camping day.
It's the perfect time to plan a summer camping trip and it's never been easier to plan on. You can do all your research online including: maps, campground reservations, state-by-state visitor's bureau web sites and even get feedback from other travelers to the area you are interested in.
Local outdoor retailers are a great resource to get all the gear you need as well are detailed maps and guidebooks. You can even rent tents, backpacks and a lot of basic camping equipment from them for very reasonable fees.
I'm setting a goal to spend at least a weekend camping this year, if I'm lucky it will be in Utah. It's the perfect time to get together with friends and make a plan to go camping while there's still plenty of summer time to go. And if you go, I'd love to hear all about it.