It’s summer, which means camping! Have you ever been looking so forward to getting away for the weekend and ended up having a really crappy time because you ended up next to or across from some idiot campers? Most of us go camping to get away from the TV, video games, stress, noise and daily grind. We’re looking for peace, serenity, quiet. A chance to drink in nature and listen to the sounds, get some reading done, have uninterrupted conversations, be romantic.
Granted, we all go camping for different reasons, but it never ceases to amaze me the odd things people do when they camp and how different we all are…
Teenagers and college kids who go camping to get together with 20-30 of their closest friends. They want to party…drink, play their music, play drinking games, have loud sex, pass out, and then pack up and leave forgetting to clean up their empty beer bottles and garbage they’ve left scattered across their campsite for the camp hosts to clean up.
Older couples who choose the most beautiful weekend of the year to leave their quiet, childless, squeaky clean homes to drive their gigantic 9,000 foot motor home into the woods with their two yippy sit-in-their-lap dogs in tow, to spend the weekend inside playing cards, not once venturing outside to enjoy their surroundings.
Men who go camping with their other men friends, hauling their boats, ATVs, Keystone beer and hunting dogs. They go camping to bond…do guy things…get away from the fam…drink. The more they drink, the louder they get. Although they are standing right next to each other, the alcohol has apparently made them all deaf, and they yell their stories back and forth. They have also become too drunk-deaf to her their dogs barking.
It amazes me how a group of people can move into a quiet campground, spend time setting up camp (in the quiet campground), have a couple hours to assess their surroundings (a quiet campground), then throw open the doors to their truck and blast their tunes. WTF? Did you not notice the people across from you taking a leisurely nap outside? The people on the right of you sitting at their picnic table quietly talking while they play gin? Your neighbors on the left kicked back in their loungers reading? Did you somehow think they were all waiting for you to arrive to show them how to have a great time?
One of the things I was taught growing up very early was to “read the room”. When you’re somewhere other than your own home, you respect other people’s spaces. If you enter an area that’s quiet…duh, you also need to be quiet.
All campgrounds have rules. Camp hosts (if the campground has one on site) will remind you of those rules if you’ve forgotten them, or another camper complains. If the camp hosts can’t get you to behave, the ranger will be notified and they WILL (first hand experience) come visit your campsite and warn you, and then eventually remove you if you are causing a disturbance. Most campgrounds have a “quiet time” from 10 pm until 8 am. It would be so great if people paid attention to that. More often than not, when we are camping there is some type of obnoxiousness (screaming kids, people using your campsite as a shortcut to theirs, drunk women, loud men, barking dogs, loud music, etc. etc. etc.) long past the 10 pm rule.
Campground Etiquette: Let’s Go Exploring lists some simple camping etiquette, and suggests these tips regarding noise…
Noise happens, but when noise becomes a continual annoyance for neighbors, it becomes pollution. Noise pollution can include loud kids, generators, radios, electronics and even a family preparing/eating/cleaning up dinner at a late hour. Observe campground quiet hours; these times in most campgrounds is between 10 pm – 8 am the following morning. Radios can be a big irritation for neighbors. Most people are nice and never say anything, but the reality is people go camping for the experience of being outside, to get away from the daily grind, and sharing that time with family – they do not want to enjoy another person’s radio.
Well, no shit Sherlock. Is this not common sense? So, short of throwing rocks at your noisy neighbors, what do you do if you’ve chosen your campsite next to a group of clueless, disrespectful, self-absorbed loudmouths?
Yahoo Voices suggests:
1. Check the rules
Before you can complain about any noise that your fellow campers are making, you will need to check the rules that are posted at the campground. Most campgrounds have strict rules on what time of night you must stop all noise, and what time of morning you can start making noise.
2. Talk to them politely
This is the first thing that many people often try to avoid doing. Of course you never know how your camping neighbors will react to you asking them to keep it down. Campers however are usually pretty nice, and may just not realize how loud they are being.
3. Let the rangers know
Most campgrounds have park rangers, and there job is to make sure that all of the rules of the campground are followed. If you are having a problem with your fellow campers, and just don’t feel comfortable approaching them yourself, find a ranger and let them know.
4. Switch campsites
In a worse case scenario you can ask for another campsite. You may not want to move all of your gear, but if you are staying for an extended time, this may be best.
So why do we continue to go camping? Because sometimes, just sometimes, you hit it just right and the planets align. You find a great site and set up. Kids are playing, other campers are busy doing “camping” things…horseshoes, Frisbee, talking, laughing, bike riding, gone to the lake. Then you start to smell charcoal burning, hamburgers, hot dogs, and steaks cooking, campfire smoke. People are talking quietly, tired from their day’s activities. Then the campground starts to wind down and you notice you’re not hearing kids voices, trailer lights are being turned off, lamps are being put out, and you can make out silhouettes of a few people sitting around the embers of a dying fire. Then you hear…nothing.The stars are out, you hear crickets and frogs, a slight breeze ruffles the tree branches, you smell pine and fresh air, and lingering campfire smoke. There’s only some far away laughter, muffled voices, an outhouse door closing, and a couple dwindling campfires. Peace. Serenity. Quiet.