Camping with Allie Petersen

allie standing on a cliff looking out at a vast rocky canyon
Allie standing on the North Rim at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado.
Meet Allie Petersen, an Administrative Assistant with the Institutional Animal Care and Use Commitee in the NPS. She enjoys sharing neat nature facts (or neature facts as she likes to call them) with her family and friends and using iNaturalist to investigate plants and animals she encounters on the trail.
Sketched illustration of an a-frame tent
Last camping trip you took?
I spent National Parks Week 2017 exploring parks in southwestern Colorado: Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and Colorado National Monument.

Favorite thing about camping?
I really enjoy disconnecting from the “real world”. Putting my phone and computer away in order to enjoy a book or just observe the landscape makes me feel more connected to myself and the world.

Most memorable camping trip?
I spent six weeks on a field course in Southeast Alaska. We traveled by sea kayak and camped on beaches of tiny islands in the Alexander Archipelago. The seven of us got to know each other really well and we learned a lot from each other, related to classes and otherwise. Don’t be fooled, it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. There were some days I wanted so badly to be back in my own bed, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything!
Sketched illustration of three pine trees
What parks are on your “Must Camp At” List?
Zion, Yosemite, and Glacier National Park are at the top of my bucket list!

Who would you invite on your dream camping trip?
I would love to camp in Yosemite with John Muir and just listen to him philosophize about how awesome nature is.

Any advice for a novice camper?
Always pack and plan for bad weather like rain, snow, and wind. Pack a rain fly for your tent, rain jacket, extra socks and shoes, and hat and gloves. Better safe than sorry!

"Must Have" item?
It’s not a camping trip unless I have Oreos!
Sketched illustration of animal tracks
Any wildlife encounters?
When I was in the backcountry of Southeast Alaska, camping on the coast, we had humpback whales cruising by our campsite at sunset. It seemed too good to be true.

Favorite camp activities?
Reading, collaborating on crossword puzzles, storytelling, and stargazing.

Favorite camping recipes?
Foil dinners! All you have to do is throw hamburger, italian sausage, carrots, potatoes, onions, butter, garlic, and salt and pepper in foil packets then cook it over the fire for about 30 minutes.

Last updated: February 7, 2019

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