Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Camp Is Made Of Wood,

And Wood Doesn't Grow On Trees - Part 1

Part 1 In The Story Of A Backwoods Haven Built On Equal Parts Of Passion And Stupidity

Like a lot of things, it started innocently enough. Four of us on another one of our day trips. Tired, wet, cold, it's early May and we are still exploring for that elusive place where the big fish are as plentiful as the small. It's 1994 and we all agree we should find a piece of land to build a camp on. A warm, dry resting place. After a lot of walking through the woods, and driving logging roads, we find it. We spend the year fishing the area. The results are more than we even imagined. Before the year is out, the land is ours, and the work is ready to begin.

On the final weekend of the 1995 Mayfly season, the four of us are camped out near one of the lakes. Sleeping in tents, we are still wet and cold. We cleared some wood from our land, for what will be the resting place for our camp. On a Coleman stove we have some canned beans, and an old kettle, hanging from a branch, over our fire. With a full plate of warm food, and a cup of hot tea, we talk about where everything will go, what it will be like to have a warm place to call a backwoods home. We are all very proud of ourselves. We will get this thing done, sooner rather than later, and it will be our own private refuge.

While I am drinking my tea, a thought came rushing to me. I drove 90 minutes to get to a dirt road. I then drove 12 KM on that dirt logging road to get to a place to park. I then walked 15 minutes, behind a lake, over a hardwood hill, loaded down with gear, through the wet path. Twice. Now i am sitting here, in the middle of trees, a rock as my cushion, with a view of a lake. There isn't a stick of lumber here yet. Not a window, a door, a stove, a bed, a mattress, nothing.

Four of us sit there, quietly. We drink our tea. I can't speak for the other three, but we all admitted later to having a similar thought that day. "A camp is made of wood, and wood doesn't grow on trees." Everything that would be needed for this camp would get here the way that kettle did, in our hands. Not one of us would want to ruin the moment, but the events of the next couple of years would be the basis of our backwoods legend. To this day, the lucky few who have been to our getaway, always seem to ask the same first question. "What the hell were you guys thinking?" I first asked that question about 12 years ago. I still don't have an answer.

No comments: