Article written by Yu/stan/kema, Camp Trail Blazer., Decentralized camping., Google+ photos, Learning life skills., Nature lore., Photos from scrap book., survival skills
The next day, I woke up to the sounds of the forest. I heard Cardinals calling out “cheer” to each other, and a Rufous-sided Towhee bird say, “drink your tea.” I heard a Wren shaking a box of bird notes in its throat. A Hermit Thrush made flute-like sounds. Chipmunks were rustling underneath the dead leaves that lay on the forest floor. Squirrel’s raced down trees to hide near by. I threw back my blankets and got tangled up in my mosquito net. I got free and slipped my feet into my shoes and ran to the latrine. Cold air hit my backside, and I shivered in the early dawn. So many interesting objects surrounded me. I laughed because I was standing where I had always wanted to be, in a forest.
I breathed in the forest smells, and loved the coolness of the wind against my cheeks. I dressed myself in sturdy leather shoes, jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, and a sweater. Later, when the day warmed up, I would be removing a layer of clothes, to pull on some shorts. I made my bed to keep the insects and small animals from nesting in the sheets. The mosquito net also protected the cot I had slept on.
I and the rest of the counselors walked up the long winding trail to the dinning hall for breakfast. We ate a lot of food and started orientation on small camp living: cleaning chores; things to build before the campers arrived; how to swing an ax, saw wood with a Swedish and Bow saw; how to stack and store wood for cooking, campfires, and drying out wet clothes; how to plan menus, make out a grocery list, find and buy the food at the camp store; how to pack the food and get it out to small camp; and how to set up a place to store food until cooking it. We learned how to make structures out of tree branches, saplings, and binder’s twine. We made a dribbling can out of a big tin can with a hole in it and a whittled piece of wood. It was an important piece of equipment for a small camp. We had soap to wash our hands and the dribbling can to rinse them and other surfaces that needed cleaning. We were given chemicals to clean the latrines, and brooms to sweep the floors. Every thing was to be kept clean.
We learned the skills necessary for survival and the campers would learn the skills from us. The Big Dipper and the Little Dipper were for showers. The lake was for swimming and fishing. I was not good at fishing, or unhooking slimy fish. I certainly did not want to kill them. I let other people do that. We learned quickly that raccoons could unscrew lids on jars. They loved jars of peanut butter, and honey, We hoisted them up in the air or built structures to keep the raccoons out. ( Continued in Part Three.)