Camping with Low Vision

Editor’s note: As spring begins to blossom, our thoughts turn to enjoying the outdoors again after the winter months. Beckie Horter talks about the joys of camping, listening to the call of animals, and sitting by the campfire….Enjoy!

woman sitting beside camping trailer looking out at flowing water

Grab a lawn chair and come sit by the campfire a while. The night is cold, and the fire is warm. It’s only us here, unless you count the frogs by the pond or the geese honking overhead. On second thought, yes, let’s count them! Though I may not actually see them, they are an important part of the scenery up here on the hill.

Their company is one of the reasons I love this spot. Along with the call of the barn owls (and maybe some coyotes!), we’ll have plenty of exciting noises to wonder about.

It’s all part of the camping scene I look forward to every year. Low vision does not lessen my enjoyment of these experiences. In fact, it may even enhance them.

I find the warmth and smell of the wood fire comforting, the sounds of the animals fascinating, and grilling outdoors delicious!

Camping Quarters, Not Rustic

Before you get the wrong idea, let me clarify what I mean by "camping." While there are many ways to enjoy the great outdoors, for me, the camping quarters are strictly modern and never rustic.

After I listen to those sounds, I retreat to the safety of my travel trailer with all the amenities of home. Heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, stove/oven, shower, toilet, and queen-size beds. Even heated mattresses!

The wildlife feel doesn’t completely stop once inside, though. Due to the tent ends on our trailer, I have been known to wake up to the sound of something crashing through the woods nearby. Deer? Bear? Again, I couldn’t say, but I will ask my camping buddy/husband in the morning if he heard it, too.

One sound there’s no question about is rain on the tent canvas. Just like rain on a tin roof, water plunking on tent ends is an unmistakeable sound. At times, loud, but also soothing. As long as I stay dry inside, I can enjoy the noise and be a happy camper. If it decides to hail (as it has a few times), I may need to take cover under the hard roof. So be it!

Making Memories

It all becomes part of a memorable trip. Over the years, I have learned to record these outings in a journal for later reading.

"Take only memories, leave only footprints," said the Suquamish Indian Chief Seattle. I understand him to mean, enjoy the land and leave it unspoiled. My journaling reminds me of the footprints I left and the experiences I had.

Making memories is a big part of what camping is all about. That and appreciating God’s creation.

Spending time outdoors has always been therapeutic for me. Ever since I was a girl sitting high up in a tree watching the world go by, I have discovered that nothing recharges my spirit like the natural world.

Another way my husband and I take in the outdoors is through biking on trails close to the campground. With my low vision, these are the only places I feel safe riding; however, we have found some great ones over the years. Trails near water are fun as are paved, wooded paths where my leisurely pace is no problem at all.

Or, we may decide to take a car ride through the country, looking at mountains and stopping by a roadside stand for juicy, red strawberries.

If the pool isn’t crowded, there may be time for a swim before dinner, which is cooked outdoors, of course. Since the produce is summer fresh, the meal is sure to be tasty.

From mid-April through late-October, our travels take us north, south, east, and west. But any direction we go, the way back always leads to a campfire. There I will sit, listening to the wildlife, thinking back on the day’s adventure, and planning the next one in the not-too-distant future.

More About Enjoying the Great Outdoors

Back to Nature with Vision Loss

Hiking with Vision Loss

Spring Chorus of Twitters and Tweets

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