This weekend we went to Cold Springs Campground, near Council, Idaho. We've never been there before, but at 4800 feet, the elevation is right for June. Some of our favorite camping spots are still closed this time of year due to snow. Saturday morning we headed over to the Lost Valley Reservoir. When we got there, I was disgusted. The shoreline was packed with pickup trucks and boats. That's normal for an in-town lake, but even out in the middle of nowhere, it is becoming more common. People were everywhere. The sounds of motors, the smell of exhaust...these are the things we go camping to get away from. People haul up generators, lights, some people bring televisions. RV camping with refrigerators and air conditioning are tempting, but motoring around the trails at light speed on an ATV?
I think about the gas that ends up in the water, the smog filling the air from dozens of exhaust pipes and I want to cry. I think about the transformation that could happen if those campers were to dismount their four-wheelers, climb to the top of the pine-covered mountain, lift their face to the sky, and just...breathe. If they were to stop creating so much poison and racket, if they closed their eyes and listened to the river of wind in the trees, the chipmunks skittering through pine needles, to feel the sun slowly sink into their skin...would they be so quick to flip on their portable T.V.s? Would they tear up the shore with their trailers? Rip up the hillside with their toys? Would they be so quick to toss their cans, their Caprisun pouches, their cigarette butts on the ground?