Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Idaho Experience

During the summer of 1972, I was a member of a six person timber crew working on the Boise National Forest, near Lowman, Idaho. Oh what a summer is was! We lived in a tent camp that was more than seven miles from the nearest road. Needless to say, the night life was nearly nonexistent! The Forest Service would fly us by helicopter into the forest where we would spend the next ten days living out of the tent camp shown in the pictures.

Despite the lack of recreational activities, we never seemed to lack for things to do. We all shared in the daily maintenance tasks which were not limited to the following: cutting firewood and building the cooking fires, hauling drinking water from the creek, meal preparation, and the never ending dish washing.

Since we had no refrigeration, all fresh food was prepared and consumed within the first two days. For the remaining eight days, we ate lots of Spam, deviled ham spread, and anything else that came in a can. More than thirty years later, I still have no desire to eat Spam regardless of how it’s prepared!

Evenings were spent huddled around the camp fire waiting for nine PM because at the hour the temperature would drop and magically the ever present horse flies and mosquitoes would disappear. Just as soon as the insects disappeared, the field mice would begin their nightly raids on our supply tent. If the food stuffs were not in a can or a wooden box, the mice would feast until stuffed.

The summer camp out experience of 1972 is one I will never forget! Despite the fun and adventure, I also believe that it was the year that my love affair with camping ended abruptly. Now my idea of camping involves getting a good spot by the pool at the Holiday Inn.

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