Some of my best memories were made at the old hunting camp. It wasn’t much to look at: a 16’ X 16’ square box. It was framed with spruce poles. Boards and siding came from lumber salvaged from an old barn. For heat there was a pot bellied woodstove. Lights were two propane lanterns fed from a 100 pound tank in the back. The propane also fired up a cook top. Water was hauled from a nearby brook. There was a sink that drained into a dry well.
Sleeping arrangements consisted of a bunk bed and a single on the other side of the room. Hung on the wall were two folding beds that could be taken down and used in a pinch. There was a table with four chairs, also a wooden rocking chair -and that’s about it.
Outside there was a woodshed, outhouse, and a shooting range.
My dad built it with two partners. By the time I was 16 I probably used the camp more than anyone else. It was originally just used for hunting. For me it was a base for that and much more. There was brook fishing, hiking trails, cross country skiing in the winter, plus there was good snowmobiling.
Most winters the only way to get there was either by snowmobile or cross country skis. Sometimes logging operations went on during the winter and it was possible to drive up. Driving up in the winter was pretty hit or miss. Once it took me three days to get my car back to town.
The camp was a 9 mile journey up a dirt road through the woods. It sat about a ¼ mile off a side road that was rarely maintained. Once in a while the lumber company would run a bulldozer down it to keep it open as a fire road. While the main dirt road was sometimes open in the winter, the fire road never was.
It used to be pretty isolated. When my dad retired he sold his share and I lost access to the camp. It eventually ended up with one of the partner’s two sons. For years I mourned the loss of the camp. Then the logging company decided to clear cut most of the woods around the camp. Barely passible dirt tracks became veritable highways. There’s very little game left in the area.
Now I don’t mourn the loss of the camp. I mourn the loss of the woods.