HOT SHOWERS, MASSAGES, ROOM SERVICE ...
CAMPING'S GONE UPSCALE, GIVING THE WILDERNESS-WEARY REASON TO
When it comes to all-nighters in the Great Outdoors, there are two
distinct takes: camping as we envision it, and camping as it truly
unfolds. In the one, we sit in a flower-speckled mountain meadow
while a merrily popping fire roasts our peppered ptarmigan and a
full moon turns the world a silver hue. In the other, our tent
leaks, the can opener never got packed, and the topsoil in our hair
would be the envy of farmers in Oklahoma.
Gritty camping has its magical, life-changing moments. I have
watched lightning storms over the Peruvian Andes, been hypnotized
by midnight-blue snow atop the Sierras, listened to frogs glump
while satellites streaked the vast night sky of outback Australia -
all from a tent flap. Such experiences are forever being
romanticized by writers who lack the spine to add the truth. The
Andean electric show, for example, required three 12-hour days of
climbing, days that might have been shorter had my camp mates not
had to dash into the scrub so often to deal with debilitating
Nature is magnificent, but she is hard of ground and cruelly
fickle, too. Which is why there are now tents at coastal Oregon
campgrounds with bunk beds and skylights, and "tentalows" in the
Virgin Islands with hot showers and flush toilets.
And at one recent overnight spot, arranged primly in our tent,
camping essentials that included peach cleansing bars and a
corkscrew for that chilled Chardonnay.
Yes, savvy entrepreneurs have turned our camping fantasies into
reality. And the Costanoa Coastal Lodge and Camp in Pescadero,
California (55 miles south of San Francisco) represents the latest
wave in this Odd Couple merge - forays into nature, with respite
for a full body Swedish and Shiatsu style massage at Costanoa's
Spa, and you aren't required to hike to earn it.