Look at all these people.
Chairs, cots, two-burner stoves, coolers, tents large enough to walk around in.
To walk around in!? Are you kidding me?!
I am currently camped at a particularly nice “campground” that resembles more of a “bring-your-own-room hotel”. We have got ourselves flushable toilets, (hot) showers, a pool, a jacuzzi, a store, vending machines, and readily available, potable water.
I am cooped up in my ultralight tent and I am surrounded by tents eight feet high, large enough to sleep nine people. Said tents are all erected in a nicely maintained, gated, grass field, complete with picnic tables, trash cans, lighted pathways, and plenty of trees for shade.
Why have these people come here? So they have any excuse to sleep outdoors and eat cup o noodle while still being afforded all the luxuries of home? I have been to hotels with fewer amenities than this place.
THE KOA EXPERIENCE
Now don't get me wrong, as a hiker this place is absolutely awesome (except for all these other people being here).
However, if I were someone who wanted to “go camping,” this place would hardly meet even the loosest of camping standards. We are quite literally right off a main highway (and although whilst being homeless in town may still be considered camping, if you drive somewhere to camp this way it does not count).
Why these people have come to this place, I do not know.
There is no dirty factor, no “without electricity” factor, no real “living outdoors” factor whatsoever (there are hot showers!). Perhaps this place is simply another of society's siren songs, attempting to lure hikers off the trail and back into a forced paradigm of life. Perhaps I am being too cynical (HYOH, right?).
Simply because I have chosen the masochistic path of the PCT thru-hiker, it does not give me the right to judge the activities of others. HA! Just kidding, it totally does. These people are free to enjoy the outdoors however they choose, and I am free to judge them for doing so in the most embarrassing of ways.
These tents are just so unbelievably huge – it makes you question what a tent really is and what purpose it is meant to serve. I am content with mine, it keeps bugs away and I can sit up inside of it – true luxury.
Bringing someone back to your place after a long day on the trail, on the other hand, can get a bit uncomfortable (literally, there isn't room for more than one person in here). But hey, this is the life I chose for myself.