Monday, January 17, 2011

I loved camping and still do

I was always the kid that loved to go camping at the lake. Water skiing til our arms were ready to fall off. Swimming, skipping rocks, packing fire wood, finding treasures. Eating fresh peaches from home, trout from the lake.  The smell of the forest, the smell of wood smoke from the fire.  The sounds of the loons calling in the evening. Up early to watch the sun come up, the lake was like glass. I loved camping and still do.
Mom and dad had an ol army tent to sleep in.  My brother, the three boys that came with us, and I slept out under a blanket of stars.  We had ancient camp cots to put our bedrolls on.  The only flat ground was taken up by the tent, camp table, and fire pit, so we dug holes for our cot legs.  If you moved around too much on your cot you would find yourself rolling down hill into the lake.  Not real great, as you would invariably bounce off a few boulders on the way down and as you were usually snugged into an old mummy bag, the air hole having become fixed at the back of your head, you couldn't see, and you sure couldn't stop. You just knew you better hope that one of those thick headed boys would wake up and keep you from turning into the girl of the lake.
One night after more smores than any kid should eat, we slipped off to dreamland. Then the screaming began, up popped five heads, again the scream. Now there are five heads up,and five flashlight beams whipping around amid a chorus of frightened voices.  Dad called from the tent to "pipe down out there and go to sleep".  "But, but, what was that, who had screamed, and it seems to be getting closer?"  Dad said, "it's just a mountain lion, across the lake, go to sleep, now."   "OK, if you say so, but, it sounded like a woman screaming." "It's not, it's just a big mountain lion, they sound like that."  We finally settled down, and went back to sleep. 
I was woken by the sound of something moving around in camp, oh God, it's a bear or the mountain lion come to get us.  Having scrunched down to the bottom of my bag, I could only see a small area in front of my cot, but I could hear what ever it was getting into stuff in camp.  I could hear it eating what sounded like Fritos, and getting closer to my cot.  Then an ol doe stuck her nose in the end of my bag,  and that's how come I screamed, rolled off the cot, rolled down the hill, bounced off a bunch of boulders, and nearly drowned in the lake.  I loved camping and still do.

10 comments:

  1. This is one of my all-time favorite stories! Thank you!

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  2. Terrific story. Told with humor and pathos!!!

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  3. Wonderful, wonderful story! Keep them coming.

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  4. What a delightful story, beautifully told and one I did not see coming. Thank you. You made my morning.
    I too love camping.

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  5. What a great story, brought back memories. When I was a kid we too camped in an army tent and slept in mummy bags. Your wonderful writing brought back the smells and sounds.

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  6. Very funny story. I can't share your love of camping though, I hate it. Mainly because as a boy I spent two weeks at a Scout camp where it rained non-stop for two weeks and the campsite was just a lake of mud. I've never been camping since.

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  7. Ladies: Thanks, your way too kind.
    Nick: Oh I've been there as well during camping, but I still love it. Thunder boomers off the hills are heavenly. When I was little an ol cowboy told me that it was the gods bowling.

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  8. Your dad was really relaxed. Leaving food out in bear country? Not me. Now, how did you keep from drowning?

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  9. Grayquill: No my dad was and still is a very savy outdoorsman. We had metal lock boxes for food, and a clean camp. The boys had left a small bag of chips out, emergency night rations. I made enough noise rolling down the hill to wake the boys, who were laughing so hard they were no help. I managed to unzip my bag and swim it to shore. Being around the boys just honed the ol survival skills.

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  10. I haven't had quite the same kind of adventure that you did, but loved camping in the Boy Scouts and the National Cadet Corps. Such training came in handy when I became a traveling salesman but the permanent living off a suitcase, eventually got me to shift to more stable work but the traveling did not stop till I finally retired.

    Your post has revived many long forgotten memories.

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