Spring has come alive these last few days. April is upon us and we have all know that April showers bring May flowers. I don’t mind the cool, cloudy days. Those are the days when I do the most thinking and therefore my best planning. All of the outdoor adventures I could discover this camping season have been dancing around in my mind.
This time of year is when I do most of my camping preparations. My method usually goes something like this:
*Take Inventory: Now is a great time to locate your camping equipment and do some inventorying. If you are like me, in all likelihood, you pushed a lot of odds and ends from last camping season into various bags and totes in some sort of pile. I could definitely use a refresher of what tackle I have. Is anything broken? Is there anything you could donate to a friend or coworker who is a newer, less equipped camper? What equipment would you benefit from to buy this year?
*Test Out Your New Gear: Did you get a few new outdoor toys for Christmas? Did you find some great deals this winter on last year’s clearance gear? Take the time to test out your new camping equipment. Taking the time now could help you big time later on!
*Camp On a Small Scale: Use the next nice day and night to “practice” camp in your backyard. It always feels good to get your tent aired out and checked for any broken zippers, any holes, etc. Include your kids in this process! If it gets too cold at night, just head back inside your house.
*Develop Your Skills: I love that camping incorporates so many different skills. There is fire starting, meal prep, campfire cooking, wildlife viewing, weather watching, astronomy, geography, and even first aid just to name a few of the skills that can be cultured and mastered through camping. Developing these abilities can be done in many ways. Use your free time to read up on new talents and practice, practice, practice them. You can find a variety of helpful workshops offered through Nebraska Game and Parks Commission throughout the year. Check out: https://www.register-ed.com/programs/nebraska/75-nebraska-outdoors-skills-events-workshops? the Becoming an Outdoor Woman (BOW) Program event page http://outdoornebraska.gov/bow/ and Becoming an Outdoor Family (BOF) Program page at http://outdoornebraska.gov/bof/ for offered workshops and events aimed towards learning outdoor skills.
*Pick Your Spots: I have a few favorite camping spots in Nebraska that harbor years worth of great memories. Of course those spots have a special place in my heart and I try to visit them again and again. However, I always strive to find one or two new camping spots each year. I have found that using the Nebraska Game and Parks webpage http://outdoornebraska.gov/parkpricing/ and especially the “Find a Park” tool: https://maps.outdoornebraska.gov/Parks/ to pinpoint potential camping areas is very helpful on my quest of ready-to-use camping sites.
We all have the opportunity of a fantastic camping season ahead of us. With so many great designated camping areas in Nebraska, the possibilities are endless! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore!
Allie Claypool, Outdoor Education Assistant