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Get out and stay out, in the woods

Notes from the North Woods

There are precious few beds that are as comfortable as the floor of a tent camp on a cool summer’s night.

There are precious few beds that are as comfortable as the floor of a tent camp on a cool summer’s night.

My parents were campers. I expect it was quite a chore for them to accomplish a tent camping expedition with the addition of five active kids.

I guess they really enjoyed it, because I know the kids sure did. Our family did a lot of tent camping, but as my mother got older, she finally decided to purchase a small tow behind camping trailer.

She was in her mid-50s at the time, and I guess she wanted something more comfortable than sleeping on the hard, cold ground.

Or maybe she just got tired of Dad’s feeble attempts to set up a tent.

Although he spent a lot of time in camp, both as an educator and a counselor, my father did not have good relations with tents. In fact, if my father even looked at a tent with lines drawn taunt, it would droop instantly, and hopelessly.

While poking around through some of our old family albums last weekend, I discovered old photos of Mom and Dad while they were camping in Yosemite National Park, in the early 1950s.

There was even a shot of my father, feeding deer out the window of his car, and others of bears climbing on the fenders of tourist’s cars.

The 50s and 60s were popular years for campers, as the mobility afforded by the automobile provided many travelers with instant vacations. The two decades brought Yogi Bear and Jellystone Park to tens of thousands of traveling campers in real life.

The 70s ushered in the era of lightweight materials, and the backpacking craze introduced another whole generation to the lay of the land. Kelty framepacks and lightweight tents, were matched with down sleeping bags and single burner, Svea stoves to cut the weight of a full pack in half. Of course, the advent of lightweight equipment meant there was much more food that could be carried, and we packed it all in.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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