• Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

SHARON BAILEY: You’re never too old to tent camp | Opinion

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Sep 7, 2022

As a child, I never camped in a tent and never liked “sleepover” or summer camp. Family vacations were more fun, and as an only child, the activities and food were better than anything a week or two at a campsite could offer. In the 70’s I stayed in cabins as a Bluebird at Camp Fire, formerly known as the Camp Fire Girls of America, and enjoyed the annual class weekends at Camp Pioneer when I was a student at Martin Luther Christian School, which closed in 2004. However, my parents and I loved amusement parks. Crystal Beach, Fantasy Island, Disneyland, Cedar Point and Six Flags over Georgia were some of my favorites.

When I moved to Niagara County in 2017, my interest in tent camping was piqued. I used to bike across the Rainbow Bridge and ride along the Niagara River Recreational Trail north to Niagara-on-the-Lake or south to Fort Erie. I once passed by the Riverside Park Motel and Campground on one of my trips along the southern route. The location offered shaded tent sites. A bike camping trip was something I wouldn’t consider, but I listed it as something I could definitely handle.

I mentioned the idea of ​​a bike-tent-camping trip to my partner Tom. He wasn’t so enthusiastic at first. I thought he would appreciate the opportunity to dust off his camping gear and practice the skills he honed as an Eagle Scout. On more than one occasion he said, “Being an Eagle Scout helped make me the man I am today.” He would surely jump at the chance to show me the ropes of camping. Instead, I had to listen to him complain about how he got it out of his system. He only uses his backpacking tent for men’s motorcycle trips and, blah, blah, blah. Eventually, I changed my mind. It only took five years. I am very patient.

We packed his “motorcycle travel only” two-person backpacking tent, cooler and overnight bag into our SUV and drove to the Niagara Shores Campground and Event Center in Olcott for the weekend. of Labor Day.

I grew up more outdoors as an adult and my first tent camping experience did not disappoint. It rained Saturday night, but the tent was dry, and I didn’t melt. The RV site is a small area compared to other places. Traditional tent camping sites are not as plentiful as they used to be. A few sites have replaced their tent groves with gravel to accommodate the increase in RV use. The pandemic has been a boon for RVs and campgrounds. Fortunately, Niagara Shores accepts tents and has no plans to reduce the size of the tent grove.

Cabins are nice, RVs are cool, but I prefer a traditional camping experience. Nothing like sleeping in a tent under a starry sky. I loved it so much that I ordered a four person tent and booked a visit to Four Mile Creek State Park.

Niagara County is naturally wonderful. I love living here and in a few weeks I will be snuggling up in my new tent and counting my lucky stars in the beautiful Niagara sky.

Sharon Bailey resides in Niagara Falls. Contact her at sbailey.opinion@gmail.com.