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Nothing campy about backyard excursion

Like most of you, I am missing time spent in the great outdoors.

A few years ago, my husband and I bought a travel trailer and began camping, something my family did regularly when I was growing up. I treasure the memories I have of our many excursions and the sights we saw. Even the moments that were harrowing at the time, have become wonderful stories to share.

Although my husband and I don’t rough it quite as much as I did years ago, it still affords us the opportunity to explore nature’s wonders. Being in a campground — even if it is a “fancy RV resort” — offers a far different type of getaway than staying in a hotel.

The fresh air is invigorating and we have gained a greater appreciation of the beauty in the world around us. We have visited areas that we had only seen in pictures before, taking our own photographs that now fill the pages of a coffee-table book and on the walls of our home.

We have even gained a few crazy stories of our own to share.

So until we are given the green light to roam freely again, we can venture outdoors and take advantage of the safety of our yards and stage picnics and camping experiences.

Friday, Trail Life USA, a South Carolina-based organization that promotes adventures for boys, sponsored its first National Backyard Campout event.

Families were encouraged to set up a tent, cook over a fire and create a backyard adventure. There was even a way for them to share the experience with other backyard campers across the nation. More than 5,000 families from all 50 states participated.

For those who had no previous camping experience or are novices, Trail Life USA’s website offered a variety of resources, such as instructional videos on how to pitch a tent or make a camp stove. It even offered tips on how to camp comfortably with minimal equipment and sleeping outdoors, as well as games to keep you entertained and a constellation guide.

Naturally, no campout is complete without a meal or two, so several recipes were featured , including one of my favorites from when I was a Girl Scout: Banana Boats. (If you have never had one, look up the recipe and make them. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.)

One of my favorite childhood memories is of a similar type of event my family hosted in our backyard for my sister’s Girl Scout Troop.

I remember waking up early the morning of their sleepover while they were still tucked safely in their tents and sleeping bags to tie assorted breakfast foods on the tree limbs and plant branches in our yard for them to go “hunting” for provisions when they woke up.

When my girls were younger, I tried to do something similar for them.

Unfortunately, the xeriscape in my backyard is not conducive to pitching a tent. So instead, I turned to the outdoor kitchen to whip up a meal and we dined al fresco. Then, when the sun set, we had a stargazing session and sat around a fire in the fire pit. The only thing missing was marshmallows to roast.

It wasn’t quite the same as camping, but it was as close as we could get under these circumstances.

Even though we were a mere 10 feet away from the dining table, looking up and seeking the sky while listening to birds chirp was a wonderful change of pace. It was an enjoyable escape from staring at the walls inside our home or at the television set.

Perhaps, we will do it again this coming weekend.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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