Wondering about wild grapes

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Young Campers

Do you remember back when you where a kid and went camping with a friend? Maybe it was just out in the back yard up close to the house or maybe it was far off in the woods. No matter where you went camping, it was an adventure, fun, and exciting experience. I grew up in a camping family. Both my parents grew up camping.

After World War Two, there was a lot of military surplus stuff to use for camping. One thing I remember is the tent halves. Why halves, you ask? Back then, canvas was what tents were made from and it was heavy. A soldier in the field had a lot of other important things to carry with him, so each soldier carried a tent half. It could be used alone as a one man shelter, but if he had a buddy, they could attach the two halves together and have a fairly roomy two man pup tent.

Well, I had both halves, so with a little help from my Dad, I would pitch a tent up in the woods or at the edge of the woods on the back of our property. He even taught me how to trench it so the rain would not get inside.
Well, my best friend and companion who lived within a mile of my home, used to come up and we would camp out. Here is a picture of the two of us:

He and I have been best friends ever since I can remember. He is a year younger than me, but back when we were growing up, he was the bigger of the two of us. Not only did we camp by ourselves, but we would go off to a church camp for a week every summer.

Here is a picture of my buddy and one of the cabins we stayed in:

And the creek that we swam in:

It had leaches and was really cold. After a few years, they built swimming pool and we used that instead. We really had good times at that camp, except for the early morning calisthenics. And the time I fell out of bed. I was sleeping in the top bunk all wrapped up inside a sleeping bag. I must have rolled off and didn’t wake up until I was half way to the floor. My arms were held to my side by the twisted sleeping bag and I landed face down on the wood floor without the ability to slow the fall with my hands. Of course, being young helped me get over that. Got back up in bed and don’t believe I even woke anyone else.

The good old days. How about you, have any camping stories when you were young?


  1. My family did several camping trips together when I was young! I can remember that I thought my Dan was a wonderful cook with the camp stove, because everything always tasted soooo good!

    All food still taste better when cooked outside! Just one of life's wonders, I guess!

  2. Yeah, I got one!

    As a Boy Scout, I belonged to a troop whose scoutmaster wanted every boy in the troop to earn his hiking merit badge. Our troop hiked a lot. Some times instead of having a weekly troop meeting, we would hike; Sometimes 5 miles!

    Saturday was reserved for the longer hikes 10 miles or more. One weekend we went on a 20 miler. It took all day to walk to our campsite. Each of us had a pack and we were expected to have our own food with us so we could cook it (heat it up over a fire) at the camp site.

    I still remember Leo Cardoza! He was from what we called a ‘Broken home’ in those days. The P.C. crowd tries to dress this up now a days by calling it a ‘Single parent family!’

    The absence of a father figure became painfully obvious as Leo joined in troop activities.

    We brought stuff to heat up for supper in our packs, like canned stew. Leo brought a 3 pound box of chocolates.

    The scouts continually stole a piece of candy from Leo’s back pack as we hiked along. Leo got tired of that so he put his back pack on backwards, and put the flap over his head as we hiked along every once in a while, and ate his candy with alternating hands.

    By the time we got set up for supper, Leo had a stomach ache! He didn’t feel like eating even though the guys offered him a portion of their food.

    Guess who I got stuck with as a tent partner?


    The next morning we were cooking breakfast on an open fire, community style. Blueberry pancakes; well it was ‘supposed to be pancakes’ but we ate the mush anyway!

    Right in the midst of this scene, Leo picks up a rock the size of a foot ball and throws it into the fire. Ashes went up in the air like a nuclear blast and settled on the ‘Pancakes’!

    When it was all over, Leo had no friends and even though I had to punch him in the stomach to get him to go to sleep and not bother me in the tent, I felt sorry for him.
    He was a wild one! Leo was a likeable guy, when he wasn’t acting up. I missed him after he stopped coming around.

    I think about him every once on a while!

    I hope he turned out OK.

  3. Hermit, You are so correct, everything tastes better when you are out side, especially camping.

    Ernest, you are right that every kid needs both parents. I knew kids like that. Everyone probably does. It is a shame. Yes, I wonder how he turned out. Probably not a chef.

  4. We never camped when I was little,don't know why. I would have loved it. I was married when I went camping the first time, and fell in love with camping. Blessings jane

  5. Jane, falling in love with camping; better late than never. I love everything about it and all different types of camping.

  6. Like Jane I never went camping as a kid. It would have been fun but my parents were not fond of the outdoors.

    First time I went camping I was in college and we went to Padre Island. It rained the whole time were there and we didnt have a real tent...it was more like a tarp. And to make matters worst they invited this redheaded guy who liked me and whom I could not stand. That pretty much ruined it for me.

    It took me two decades to get over that first camping nightmare and give it another chance. That second chance took me camping to Terlingua and now I wont miss it for the world:-)

  7. MsBelinda, better late than never. Too bad you got sush a rough start. I have been camping as long as I can remember, but last April was the first time I made it to Terlingua. I, too, love it there.

  8. Picture the terror of 12 little brownies(the girl scout type) packed into one huge old smelly canvas tent on a rainy night by a lake when the roof caves in from too much water. I was, happily, not a brownie at the time and was next door in a nice nylon tent snoozing away with my older friends until the screams and wailing began. It was a weepy, soggy, two hour ride home piled atop drenched sleeping bags and miserable brownies. Parents were called in the wee hours of the morning to come and get their traumatized little girls and I doubt that any member of that troop ever went camping again! My friend and I still thought it was great fun...we were at the lake anyway...aren't you supposed to get wet?!

  9. Scubabon, I can remember some wet, soggy camping trips, also. But I always enjoyed being out in nature.