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The Newcomer

Getting a whiff of the great outdoors

Camping season is upon us and I still don't have a camping partner.

I love sleeping under the stars, but usually put up a tent. And I love cooking over an open fire, when burn bans permit. But solo camping just hasn't been for me.

One year a grandson and I spent every weekend and lots of summer days at home alongside a river, where he panned for gold and always found some color.

We camped from spring right up until the frost bit our toes and icicles sent us shivering to the nearest motel, which wasn't all that near but a whole lot closer than home. Fortunately we had a friend in that town, so we stocked up with blankets and returned to our campsite for another night out. Amazing what an extra wool blanket tossed over your sleeping bag can do.

That year saw the most camping I've ever done. It made for a lot of good memories. It's surprising how hours in the outdoors can help unknot problems and reveal solutions one might not have thought of while sitting in front of the TV or scrambling to keep up with the busy schedules of everyday life.

It's not often a family would have the opportunity to spend as much time getting to know the world from the dirt up, so to speak, as we did that year, but even a weekend or two a year would go a long way toward togetherness, I would think.

There's no use for me to look for a camping buddy among my relatives. The camping grandson is in Arizona, and most of the other kin think roughing it is staying at a Motel 6.

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