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The Camping Connection

Ah, the Great Outdoors. There’s nothing like lying in a tent at night listening to the final crackles of the fire, the occasional owl hoot, and the far-off coyote call. Even better is letting the songbirds wake you up in the morning, the rustle of the chipmunks in the trees, and, umm. What is that annoying tapping sound?

I’m talking about the sound of the gal in the tent next door. The gal who is furiously tapping on her keyboard thanks to the glory of wi-fi access, which according to the Associated Press, is becoming more and more common in campgrounds each year.

Remember when camping meant truly roughing it? It meant tying your sleeping bag to your back and hauling all your supplies into the middle of nowhere and then struggling to pitch a tent in the fading light and burning the beans on the fire and laughing about it over s’mores. Nobody knew where you were. No one could reach you. And it was fabulous.

I don’t mean to channel Andy Rooney. I’m all for the latest gizmo gadget. I know GPS has guided thousands of lost wanderers and cellphones have saved many in a pinch. But I think there are some boundaries worth keeping, and I think the fewer computers make their way into the campground, the better.

The increase in the amount of campgrounds with wi-fi shows that I’m in the minority, though. These are days when there are even bloggers on Everest, so where to go to truly escape?


My name: Rachel Berg.

Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.

View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.

Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.

Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.


Tom P.

My guess is the people that bring their laptops to the campgrounds are the ones most desperately in need of detaching from them. A ban would be lovely…


Hmm… not sure how I feel. On the one hand, it could be a handy tool for figuring out the best hiking trails.

On the other hand, I would likely be tempted to check my email and get work done.

Perhaps the compromise would be that Wifi was only available in the common lodge or something?

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