Saturday, July 23, 2016

Camp Therapy

I just returned from a four-night getaway to the Eastern Sierras of this great Golden State. There was nearly no wifi to be had unless we were traipsing around the bustling town of Lee Vining (pop. 222), and consequently there was no Facebook feed-scrolling, Instagramming, no Pokemon Go-ing outside of town. And I want to be the first to say thank goodness!

Within those five days and four nights, we must have hiked about ten miles, and I read over 300 pages -- both for academic and leisure purposes. We talked under the stars about memories, hopes and dreams, laughed together and sat together in silence. Camping is a time for that which one cannot accomplish in the 'burbs or the big city, a figurative rekindling of humanity and pure thought whilst literally rekindling what is considered man's greatest invention of fire.

As I sit here in my air-conditioned apartment madly conjuring up the sun-kissed memories of wilderness bliss -- wilderbliss -- I can't help but want to navigate the many social media outlets allowed by technology, but I must fight it. What are the new stories being published? When am I going to write that review of the book I've just read? Should I try to beat the next level of that Candy Crush-like game, before I miss the opportunity to earn infinite lives for two hours? All is irrelevant when one is in the company of sequoias, sagebrush, and tufas.
South Shore Tufa Reserve, Mono Lake

At the campsite, the only option is to enjoy the outdoors. You sure as hell don't want to stay inside the tent, because it's made of vinyl and heats up an insane amount during the day. You don't want to sit in the car, because you think of the five hour drive you'll have to take back home. A claustrophobic sensation overwhelms you and suddenly you want to gain as much distance between yourself and the car as possible.
Lundy Falls, 12 miles northwest of Lee Vining.
Instead there's the nearby lake and stream, offering its sonorous trickle of life. There are the wildflowers to remind you that colors are not made up in a lab. There are the mountains to remind you that there is something bigger than your feed, your augmented reality games. There are millennia of work to show off here, and it's all tangible, textured, raw, pure. I love camping.
Tenaya Lake, Yosemite