So I’m not from Utah.

I’m from Ohio, a lush land of greenery, forest vegetation, rolling hills and sporadic thunderstorms. I also haven’t been camping in over 4 years, but it’s a totally different experience out here. Back at home, there’s a foresty canopy. You can pitch your tent in the shade atop a comfortable bed of pine needles (freshly  fallen depending on the season) and gather up a few handfuls of the natural bedding to get your fire started. Beneath the “air mattress” of pine lies a soft layer of rich, hearty, rockless soil. You stay up late around the fire telling good stories and occasionally wandering down by the lake to throw your line in and see if the fish have anything better to do at 3am than you do. They don’t . Getting to your site is simple, thought not always easy, and it really gives you a good feeling knowing that your camp site doesn’t even look like a campsite. You wake up feeling refreshed, somewhere between morning dew on the grass and a cool relaxing morning breeze.

In Utah, you drive a few miles into the mountains before anything looks like a traditional campsite. The views on the way are positively spectacular, and as much as I love rolling hills, they are decidedly not red-rock mountains. Shade comes when the sun goes down, but makes sure that 20 degrees Fahrenheit go down with the sun. The bed to sleep on is clay and rocks, a less-than-acceptable alternative to pine needles and thick, soft soil.

Yes, I’m whining, but I went (with the intent to go) camping tonight, and couldn’t bring myself to stay the night. We had fun while we were there, and I’m sure that my friends who decided to stay are having a blast. As for me, the rose tint in my “camping glasses” seems to have faded, and my back still hurts.
I’ll try camping by stages; I’ll sleep outside one night, and then a week later, I can set up a tent in the grass. Step by step, I can accommodate to Utah and the way they do camping here, but for now, I’ll keep enjoying the top bunk.