Ideally, the view from the front door of a camp, should always overlook a lake, pond or stream.
Last week’s column about the tradition of camp life, has sparked a deluge of responses. It appears Adirondackers are very proud of their camps, which have provided many with a connection to the land, for generations. It is also obvious that camp life continues to be a vital component of our regional identity, heritage and culture.
Undoubtedly, the charm of a camp is proportional to the simple, simplicity of it all. It involves a return to the basics, and the opportunity to escape from the intrusions and demands imposed by the social and technological constraints of modern, everyday life.
Camp life moves at a slower pace, and it occurs in a place where you can let your hair down, and be yourself. It is a place where your stomach often aches from the combination of too much food, and too much laughter. It is where the air is always fresher, the water is cleaner and life is sweeter. It is a place to uncover new adventures, and to relive old traditions. It is where we go to recover, to be free and to become absorbed in a quieter, deeper, and older way of life.
Some claim that camp is not even a place, and it simply cannot be considered a physical location. Although we arrived at camp by various means of transportation, we only fully arrive by achieving the proper state of mind!
Camp is defined by a certain primitive nature and the spirit of simplicity. A camp was never intended to have electricity, a telephone, or a satellite dish located along the lakeshore. The outside world should not be allowed to violate the sanctuary of camp. If it does, it’s no longer a camp; it’s just a second home.
Even though we go to camp in order to escape the rules and routines of society, many camps have their own distinct set of rules, or an established code of conduct.
Primarily, these rules were developed for the safety of visitors to Adirondack hunting and fishing camps. However, I’d like to believe they are applicable to all camps. I’ve included several that readers have contributed, which are listed in no particular order.
A Camp Code of Misconduct
Above all else, what happens in camp, stays in camp, period.
Before departing, please extinguish all fires, tie up all boats, close all windows, lock all doors and be sure to unlock the woodshed; so that your mother-in-law can leave with you.
Etiquette is not welcome here, nor are lawyers, even if they’re family.
Camp is a place where you can spit, cuss, pass gas or scratch ‘yer butt in public, and nobody cares.
Baths can only be considered an optional activity, for the first month in camp.
First one up makes the coffee, last one down stokes the woodstove, and all others do dishes.
A dish is considered clean, if the last meal eaten off of it cannot be identified. Shirts and/or pants will be held to similar standards.
Camp windows may only be broken, if the front door is stuck on Chili Night.
Socks may be utilized as toilet tissue, and shirtsleeves as a handkerchief; only if they are your own personal items.
The front porch can only be utilized as a rest room, if no women are present in camp.
For those using the top bunks, please respect the posted weight limits.
Camp members reserve the rights to use any available methods necessary to limit the decibel level of chronic snorers.
Please remove all live ammunition from trousers, before hanging them over the woodstove to dry.
Television has no place in camp, nor do telephones, cell phones or other similarly, modern conveniences. If you feel a need to communicate with the outside world, please walk outside and yell!
Forget what needs to be done tomorrow, and also what you did yesterday, ‘cuz today, you’re in camp!
Pick up your food scraps; remember mice have to eat too!
The ‘five second rule’ does not apply to beer, whiskey or chew.
The number of points on a buck’s rack, or the size of a fish taken, cannot increase by more than 33 percent per season, regardless the state of a camp member’s intoxication.
If you become lost, fire off only three shots. Search parties are easily discouraged!
If it gets real dark inside your camp, real quick, you may need to refill the lantern.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org