Camping with Kelly Coy

kelly backpacking with friends in Rocky Mountain National Park
Kelly backpacking with friends in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Meet Kelly Coy, a busy graduate student who's always looking for more time to spend outdoors, hiking, camping, boating, gardening, and traveling. Kelly is a project manager for the Community Stewardship Program in the National Park Service.

Sketched illustration of two acorns and leaves
Last time you went camping?
September, Lonesome Ringer Grove

Favorite thing about camping?
Taking care of your fundamental needs using only what you brought with you and what's available in nature. I try to be prepared for any situation while bringing the least amount of stuff possible.

Favorite campground?
A small aspen grove along a stream surrounded by Ponderosa forest in the Colorado foothills, known as Lonesome Ringer Grove. I have been camping there every summer with my family for 25 years.
Sketched illustration of a crescent moon
Most memorable camping trip?
A 10-day backpacking trip I took with a group of friends in high school in the Snowy Range Mountains, Wyoming.

What makes a perfect campground?
I like to camp near water, whether it is a small mountain stream, a lake, or the ocean. I like to have two trees just far enough apart to hold a hammock and rocks or stumps to sit on when making dinner or playing cards in the evening. I like to be tucked away on the side of a natural barrier like a cluster of trees, a hill, or granite outcrop to be protected from the wind and where there is as little noise or artificial lights as possible.

Advice to a novice camper?
Layers. In whatever climate you are camping—be prepared for both the high and low extreme temperatures and be prepared for precipitation. Don’t bring much more than you (personally) can carry even if you're car camping.
Sketched illustration of a fish
Frontcountry or backcountry?
Both. I try to do one or two backcountry trips a year and camp regularly in the frontcountry.

Tent or RV?
Tent (although if it is nice out I like to sleep under the stars)

Most frivolous item you bring?
Cribbage board and deck of cards

Favorite recipes?
You can’t go wrong with fish and asparagus wrapped in foil with slices of lemon and cracked pepper cooked over a fire, but really everything tastes better when your camping.

Pro tip: If you make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, make sure to put peanut butter on the inside of both pieces of bread and the jelly in the middle—that way the jelly doesn’t make the bread soggy.

Last updated: May 19, 2017

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