How (and Why) to Camp in the National Parks

Chris Santella says he wasn’t raised by “outdoorsy” parents. But as a young man growing up in Connecticut, with grandparents who lived in Maine, he developed a kinship with nature — in particular, a love for standing knee-deep in rivers and fly-fishing. The East Coaster ultimately moved West, settling in Portland, Ore., and put aside a corporate career in marketing to write about his outdoor adventures, including trips to at least a dozen national parks.

His new book, “Fifty Places to Camp Before You Die” (Abrams Books), showcases some of the world’s most beautiful campsites. More than half of the book is devoted to American national parks, including Denali in Alaska, Big Bend in Texas and Crater Lake in Oregon.

Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with Mr. Santella, 53, conducted just before he was heading out on his next camping adventure in Oregon.

03QA2-master768Redfish Lake in the Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho, an overlooked “gem” that combines a beautiful lodge and wilderness. CreditAdrienne Baisch/

Q. What do you love about camping, particularly in the national parks?

A. When I’m out camping, and visiting places such as the national parks, my system slows down. I spend a lot of time sitting and observing rather than just doing. It just wakes you up — in a different way.

Read the full story at New York Times Travel.


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