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Opinion: Camping has really changed over the years

"Today people have campers. Some are the size of my house."
Stephanie Zoer

Camping is very different from when I was younger.

When I drive down the road now, I see trucks pulling these large campers. Other people have cottages on the lake.

When our kids were young and we were living in Ontario, we camped every weekend as soon as the campgrounds opened up, and we went to a place called Elora Park.

It was a beautiful place with a man-made lake, a deep gorge and a river that had rapids in more than one place.

On Friday afternoons, we'd load up the truck with firewood, tents and sleeping bags while the car held the kids, food and our dog.

Often, we went with a group of people. Tents were set up, beds made and a Frank Zoer fire was started. My husband never believed in a small fire, so the truck box was loaded with firewood.

This fire burned all weekend long and most campers knew it was my husband with the large campfire. Often people stopped in.

If a person was lucky enough, they had a pop-up tent trailer, but it was only for sleeping with no fridge, stove or bathroom. Coolers were loaded with ice and the next day more ice was added to keep things from spoiling. Days were spent in the water or lying on the beach, but the big attraction was the rapids.

People flew down the rapids in tire tubes and if you did not get your bearings fast enough, the person needed to be picked up at the bridge.

Evenings were spent cooking on an open fire, as there was no barbecue, and the old pots or pans were used over and over again. Dishes from the house were brought and washed. We did not use paper plates or plastic utensils.

Once this was done, the social time began with games and, of course, drinking.

Today people have campers. Some are the size of my house. They hold regular beds, a fridge, stove, microwave and TV. They have a couch and chairs, along with a kitchen table. They are a home away from home.

Some people park their camper for the season, pull out the rugs, barbecue and chairs. Since they are like a second home, to me they are a second place to clean.

Those that have cottages need to cut grass and often have some flowers to water. I went camping to get away from these household chores.

Considering I am not fond of housework, having a second home does not really turn my crank.

Now that we are older, we have talked about a camper, how big it should be, and if it would be a bumper pull or fifth wheel. So many questions. But the biggest one was how often it would be used. I do go to horse shows, so it would be nice to have a place to stay.

Does a person actually save money with pulling a camper? After all, gas will be more and meals need to be made, which means groceries need to be purchased.

Is it truly a holiday when a person still needs to do the work? Or is it nice just going camping, being in the open air and having an open campfire.

Either way a person wants to go camping is their choice. We cannot all like the same thing or it would be a boring world.

For now, my way of camping is having a fire in the backyard, and my husband cooks our steaks on the open fire. We sit around until the fire goes out and then head to the house to our own bed.

Once again, we might talk about getting a camper, but the discussion usually ends there.

Whether it is a camper, cottage or a backyard, enjoy your summer and stay safe.