Thoughts on my return to camping:


By Max R. Weller

I suppose the easiest plan would be to go back to my old neighborhood around N. Broadway & U.S. 36 in Boulder, CO — and use Boulder Shelter for the Homeless for a hot shower every morning as well as the $1 washers and free dryers when needed. I’d be very lucky to find an available locker after the influx of transients beginning October 1st, so I won’t count on that.

Perhaps I can ask for some logistical support with storage and clean clothes from a friend. I’m also without any camping gear currently, and no money to buy any.

It would probably be wise for me to take advantage of the free hot breakfast every morning at BSH, something I haven’t done in the past (unless you want to count hot water for my own instant coffee), but this might make a positive difference in how well I can stand up to being outside in the cold temps most of the day and all night. Also, if I can get a new Thermos, I’ll be sure to make Ramen noodles in it to have a hot lunch, too.

I know my friends are a little taken aback by this decision, but there’s no alternative I can see. Yes, I’ve considered the options:

Filing an appeal of Boulder Manor’s decision to discharge me; although I can’t stand this place, which is right out of a Dickens novel.

Overnight emergency shelters; dangerous, dirty, and dehumanizing.

Transitional living programs; I’ve been in no fewer than six, ranging from private religious to Missouri DOC halfway house to private nonprofit secular, and NONE do what they promise to do for clients.

Moving to a city in a warmer clime; BUT, transients are unwelcome in more cities than ever. 

Playing a lottery to get onto a waiting list for housing; one or two years, if you’re successful in the lottery.*

Becoming a drunkard with a dual diagnosis of mental illness to qualify for Housing First.

Staging a fake bank robbery to get sent to prison; seems extreme, and I won’t do it, but the idea did in fact cross my mind.

I need to do more research on possible campsites and places I could shower daily in Boulder County, where it seems I’m stuck.


Less than half of them have any ties to Boulder County, CO 

*Here’s the reality: NO responsible landlord who maintains his properties and carefully screens for tenants who will be good neighbors is going to consider anyone, like me, who has been chronically homeless for many years (and is an ex-convict, to boot). It is what it is, and I’ll never accept any Section 8 dwelling in a slum.


One thought on “Thoughts on my return to camping:

  1. alex in San Jose

    It sounds like you’re able to do the outside thing OK, and so many people have all kinds of spare stuff, from Thermos’s to sleeping bags etc yadda yadda. If I lived in Boulder I’m sure I could hit a few garage sales and thrift stores, load the bike bags up, and help set you up.

    What a lot of people don’t understand is, the air is very clear and healthy up in those mountains. I lived in the Springs and living outside in Boulder isn’t like living outside in a Northeastern state.

    I have to ask, is there any, anything at all, you can do that’s a talent, skill, craft, art, anything you can give to the public? I have zero problems with begging, beg it up! But it helps one’s self-respect a lot if there’s something they can “do”.

    You might also try entering the housing lottery, because a couple of years can go by fast.


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