Category Archives: Camp Life

Learning to See: Happy Are the Painters

Learning to See

Happy Are the Painters

When a Christmas Eve fire left Tamia with little more than the clothes on her back, she mourned the loss of her camera and photos. But out of this loss came something of enduring value: She learned to see again. And so can you.

by Tamia Nelson | March 23, 2018
Originally published in very different form on June 6, 2000

Nearly forty years ago, Farwell and I made our first home together in what had once been the servants’ quarters of an imposing Victorian manse. Then, on Christmas Eve, the century-old structure burned to the ground. As luck would have it, we were away from home at the time, visiting family, but we didn’t escape unscathed. Except for an aging Volkswagen Beetle and the clothes on our backs, the flames consumed everything we owned.

This blow fell hard on us. We had no insurance, for one thing. Still, although we missed our tent, our sleeping bags, our climbing gear, and our books, the losses I felt most keenly were my treasured Nikon camera and my collection of photographic slides and prints, a collection which had filled dozens of steel boxes. From the … Read more »

Smoothing It: Secrets of a Happy Camper

Smoothing It

Secrets of a Happy Camper

Camping can be great fun, but the fun fades fast if you’re soaked, bug-bitten, hungry, or tired. A few days of misery like that, and you’ll find yourself daydreaming about the traffic jam on the way to the office. You don’t have to rough it when you hit the trail, though. Here Tamia tells you how to smooth your way in the wild.

by Tamia Nelson | August 10, 2004

A Tamia Nelson Article on

We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home.…
—Nessmuk (George Washington Sears)

Some folks like roughing it, or think they do. I did, once. My dream of a good time was hanging like an addled bat from the flank of a knife-edged ridge and snatching forty winks in a gale-buffeted tent, while waiting for the next avalanche to sweep down off the towering heights. So when my first long camping trip proved to be a never-ending ordeal of sodden clothes and blood-sucking flies, I shrugged off my misery, comforting myself with the thought that I was preparing for bigger and better agonies to come. But … Read more »