We went above and beyond for one of your favorite themes of the year—and you can read the issue right here, for free.

Matt Bean  – September 8, 2020 | Updated October 29, 2020

The camping issue is one of our favorites to produce every year, and judging by your letters it’s also one of your favorites to read. So this year, we kicked things up a notch or two: We went to Mars.

Well, we went to a HipCamp site called “Mars on Earth,” anyway. They filmed an episode of Star Trek there back in the day, and for being so close to Los Angeles you might as well be on a lunar buggy blasting over a series of sandstone boulders with otherworldly vistas once the driveway ends.

The whole point, beyond satisfying a latent curiosity for this Hollywood connection, was to roam near home. This was out of necessity: We needed a spot close enough to a major city that we could all pull together, but one sufficiently isolated we could disconnect.

Sound familiar?

The trip became one of the last hurrahs for us before quarantine, a final, prescient chapter of cooperative humanity just before we all turned into Zoom zombies. 

Like any proper camping trip, there were wildcards, curve balls. Our nemesis: the winds. Night one they were dormant. But night two, they raged. We pulled taut the tent stakes, battened down any hatch that was in sight. Great whorls of dust raged like cyclones, salting our tents with silt and coating our throats. This was no Earth. The Martian dust storm enveloped us. You could all but hear Captain James T. Kirk wrestling with Spock out there in the din.

We emerged in the morning, bleary-eyed but resilient. That’s camping for you. Expect the unexpected; prepare for anything. I like to think the creative problem solving pulled us together, and proved why camping is such an essential activity. You’re not just settling into a patio chair with your closest family and friends. You’re engaging in what might be the perfect pandemic pastime: safely escaping to the great outdoors, tackling obstacles, exploring, learning more about the world and, whiskey willing, maybe even more about yourselves. 


Read the Fall 2020 Camping Issue—Right Here!

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