How to go camping: pack light, bring a good book, wake your boyfriend up in 45-minute intervals to get him to check if there’s a bear outside, whisper “Did you hear that?” a total of 16 times, give up and man the area yourself from 2 to 5 a.m. because you’re obviously the only one paying attention around here and, per usual, it’s on you to save your lives.
All this aside, as I get older — or rather, as technology gradually takes over my life (to the point where I get that twinge of anxiety if I’m not within arm’s reach of my phone) — I look forward to trips like these even more.
As cliché as it sounds, being forced to engage with the world IRL is invigorating. And in my experience, the act of disconnecting is easy to dismiss as nonessential until I realize (each time I do it) how much better I feel.
To be fair, technology has also made camping infinitely more fun. The menu has expanded from hot dogs and roasted marshmallows to beef stroganoff and grilled chicken jambalaya. You can now buy freeze-dried Pad Thai in a bag that is ready to eat in 9 minutes — food that tastes way better than what I can make at home. (Not that this is hard to do, like at all.)
I’m still making my way through the state’s “must-see” marvels and wonders, but this latest trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park has been one of my favorites by far. From a distance, it looks like meringue; a sandbox for giants; the desert I left behind in California. Maybe it’s because, against a backdrop of mountains, it looks like it doesn’t belong.
Where do I camp next? Send your recs to email@example.com.
— Staff notes originally run in our daily email newsletter, Indy Now, along with news updates, photos of the day, a weekly poll and more. Sign up below.