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Friday, August 17, 2012

Camp Dreams



When I was a little kid, my dad and a couple of friends built a hunting camp. It was about 9 miles of bad dirt road to the worse dirt road the camp sat on. I loved that place. It had no running water, an outhouse, a woodstove and a couple propane lamps. It was one 16 X 16 foot room. There as a table and chairs, a rocking chair, and a couple bunks.

Outside there was a pretty decent shooting range. Water was from a brook down the hill. The nearest neighbor was another camp about 4 miles down the road. It was packed during deer season, with extra folding bunks taking up all the floor space.

I probably used the camp more than anyone else. Not only was I there during deer season, I used it all year round. It was a base of operations for small game hunting, hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing. Sometimes I’d go up there just for some peace and quiet.

The original partners eventually sold out and I was in no position to buy it. In fact, the deal was done before I even knew it was up for sale. Losing the camp really broke my heart. I used to have dreams about that camp, only to wake up and realize it was gone.

Years later, I can finally say I no longer miss it. Well, maybe just a little. The camp is not as isolated as it used to be. Roads have gotten so good it’s easy to drive there with a regular car. In the past, it wasn’t unheard of to have to hike in the last few miles. A logging company clear cut some of the best hunting areas. The camp is on leased land. Fees used to be nominal, but have gotten pricey -even on a simple deer camp.

Two things have filled the hole left by the loss of the camp. The first is the sailboat. It’s like a tiny camp on the water. The other is my tiny camp on the land, my converted camper van. Mobility and the lack of property taxes are big pluses the camp never had.

-Sixbears

10 comments:

  1. I find that losing cherished places, items and friends is inevitable in this Life. I too lost my boyhood hunting camp haunt - it still exists, but I no longer have access to it. Deer Camp - that is a magical term alright.

    As long as you have access to peace and quiet, and a starlit sky, you have a lot in my book. Life is too full of claptrap, gotta sometimes just relax and ponder whatever comes into your noggin of its own accord.

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  2. Peace and quiet and a starlit sky. Yes, those are wonderful. Well said.

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  3. Our deer camp was dear camp, to us. Used it all the time all year round. To get to it we had to drive down a farmer's lane to his barn, open a gate at the edge of the woods, close gate and drive a mile or so to another gate, do that and then drive to the end of what most people would not call a road. Yes, of course the name of the our camp was "trails end". I loved it.

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    1. There are fewer deer camps around here every year. A lot of kids are missing out on some happy times.

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  4. Camp time was synonymous with growing up when I was a kid. As were tree forts, long hikes along logging roads and Lake Superior. We'd pack a lunch and be gone for hours, just exploring the great outdoors with our St. Bernard or Boxer. those were carefree days where the most trouble we ever encountered was a bee sting or tearing our clothing while going through a barbed wire fence. Those days are pretty much gone now, even where I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It's a loss as tragic as an extinct animal IMHO.

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    1. I really feel for kids these days. At least my grandkids have a taste of it when they vist me out here in the woods.

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  5. Sad to see all the places of my most cherished childhood memories either disappearing or changing due to progress!

    That's one reason I don't visit my hometown anymore! I'd rather remember it the way it was!

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