Change Of Pace
Inside the Outdoors, July 29
, 2011

Ever since the pioneers of camping ventured out into the woodlands, they as well as outdoorsmen today love to rough it a bit as a means of getting away from the office, changing pace in their lives or calming the built up stress that seems to be pulling them down.

Even though camping, to some degree, has modernized, there are still those who like the challenges of taking hikes, following paths and devising campsites of their own.

And there must be something to what is being stated, for there are approximately 165,000 state parks in the country that have campsites for sports-minded people to bed-down.

In an essay titled, “A Short History of the Campsite,” Martin Hogue writes, “In essence, camping is an act of faith and survival, a way to buttress a modest, isolated human settlement against the forces of nature. Situated somewhere between the challenging new circumstances and the safe reassurances of familiarity, the camp is a temporary substitute for the home – a place to dwell, to sleep, to interact socially, to prepare and eat food. Stripped of any but the most vital conveniences, the camp is literally and figuratively open to the stimuli of its natural surroundings.”

And least it be said, people will make it what they want it to be, something starting from scratch or climbing into the perfect setup of RVs, campsites and yurts such as can be found at Keystone State Park in New Alexandria.

Yurts are portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwellings. Its walls are thicker than a tent. According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “The felt is made from the wool of the flocks of sheep. The frame consists of one or more lattice wall-sections, a doorframe, roof poles and a crown. Some styles of yurt have one or more columns to support the crown. The felt is additionally covered with canvas and/or sun-covers. The frame is held together with one or more ropes or ribbons. The structure is kept under compression by the weight of the covers, sometimes supplemented by a heavy weight hung from the center of the roof. They vary regionally, with straight or bent roof poles, different sizes and relative weight.”

Keystone has two Mongolian-style tents which have a cooking stove, refrigerator, countertop, table chairs, bunk beds, electric heat and outlets, fire ring, picnic table and adjacent water pump. It sleeps four people.

It is wondered what the original campers may have thought if they knew that their successors would be sleeping in such a luxury site with all the fixin’s of home sweet home.

In addition, there are three camping cottages in the Lakesdie Campground which have wooden walls and floors, windows, bunk beds, electric lights and outlets and a porch. A cottage sleeps five people. There are 11 modern cabins which are available for rent year-round Each cabin has a modern bathroom with shower, kitchen and stove, refrigerator and microwave.

Yet, with all this said and done, both groups, upon returning home after a wonderful two-week get-away should now feel refreshed, sharing a similar opinion – “It was great, we got away and camped in the great outdoors. The scenery was fantastic. One could hear and see wildlife to our heart’s content, and we did everything we wanted, including fishing, swimming, cooking out, roasting marshmallows and yes, relaxing. We did it all and had a great time!” What more could be said other than to state, “Stress was exchanged for happiness and relaxation.”

- Paul J. Volkmann
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