Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

A Fabulous Camping Odyssey

Explorer C

As a 58-year-old Registered Nurse from Troy, New York, getting to the wilderness isn't always easy.  But my best friend Clare and I recently enjoyed the most thrilling camping excursion in the mountains of the Western United States. Leaving our husbands behind, we flew to Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines and rented a car.

Our cargo consisted of only the essentials: camping equipment, a styrofoam cooler, a bunch of dried food; veggies and apples; cheese and rum.  For nine glorious days, the sprawling wilderness in the mountains of Arizona and Utah were ours.

This trip was only possible because Southwest flew all our camping stuff for free in two huge suitcases, 49 pounds each (I weighed the bags meticulously).  This is what we fit:

  • one tent
  • one queen-sized air mattress
  • two sleeping bags
  • two bag chairs
  • a lamp
  • dishes and eating utensils
  • coffee mugs
  • two flashlights
  • an air compressor
  • an extension cord
  • small tools
  • pillows
  • hiking clothes
  • a portable shower bag
  • two insulated water bottles
  • bags of instant-brew coffee
  • six bath towels
  • a camera
  • toiletries
  • two swimsuits
  • a heavy winter jacket
  • long underwear
  • rain gear
  • a laptop computer with a charger
  • bug spray
  • And MORE!

It was up to me to bring everything, as my best friend was coming from Canada, and had to cross the border, so she could bring very little for free.

Pamela's Journey

We began our camping odyssey in Flagstaff, AZ (elevation 7,000 ft.), and the memories we made along the way are unforgettable.  We created our very own underwear tree (hey, we had to do laundry SOME time!).  We hiked five hours to see Betatakin, a 125-room adobe cliff dwelling built 800 years ago by the Anazasis.  I stepped barefoot (full foot!) on a cactus.  We climbed the cliffs and walked through the 900-year-old homes of the ancient Sinagua people.  Clare bravely drove our rental car on a 4-wheel-drive 17-mile-loop through magnificant Monument Valley.  And we capped the journey off by swimming in the icy, fast-moving Virgin River in Zion National Park.

Cave Dwelling

I have shared pictures of my journey with countless friends and acquiantances, and I never leave out Southwest.  They are so amazed that Southwest made this camping odyssey possible.  I wasn't surprised at all.

1 Comment