Every now and then, in the Adirondacks the stars, and the moon and the sky line up in just the perfect manner to provide a perfect end to a perfect day.
As woodland wanderers trudge back to camp tired and sore from the day’s adventures,
The sky is cobalt blue, with puffy clouds puffy chasing across the far horizon and streaks of magenta sunset staining the late day horizon.
In camp, a fire snaps and crackles under a fresh load of cedar twigs, accompanied by the roar of dry birch logs.
The weather is fair, and a sweet, warm breeze riffles across the waters to chase away the late day punkies. Lighting bugs begin to glow in the nearby field, as the low who-who of an owl’s note whispers from the woods.
Soon, a million stars appear to light up the evening sky and the full moon shines overhead. Crickets begin to chirp, while far off in the distance, a loon lets loose with a mournful tune. It echoes across rippling waters where dappled stars dance on the surface, and is chased back by the surrounding hills.
Such is camp life, where the sweetest sound is the giggling of kids nestled in their sleeping bags, attempting to drown out the roar of their father’s incessant snore.
A child who has never experienced such joys, is surely missing out on one of the true joys of childhood; and any parent who fails to provide such experiences is missing out on some of the finest memories a family will ever share.
Camping is an activity that fosters cooperation and compassion. It can make men out of boys, and boys out of men, or women.
Fortunately, family camping has become much easier in recent years. There are numerous how-to manuals, and even self-erecting tents.
Flame-free LED lights have replaced the glow of white gas lanterns, and foam pads are now incorporated right into the sleeping bag. There’s no need to blow up a leaky old, air mattress.
A night under the stars can be as comfortable as sleeping under the roof of your own house, although the air conditioning is likely to be sweeter and the atmosphere more entertaining.
For those who may prefer to rough it a bit easier, this may be the perfect weekend to camp a little closer to home, as the National Wildlife Federation is again hosting their Annual Great American Backyard Campout on Saturday, June 28, 2014!
The annual event finds thousands of people across the nation gathering in their backyards, neighborhoods, communities and parks to take part in a fun-filled evening for all generations to get outside and connect with nature.
Great American Backyard Campout® is a part of National Wildlife Federation’s efforts to help inspire Americans to protect wildlife, including a three-year campaign to get 10 million kids to spend regular outdoor time in nature.
Since 2005, thousands of people from across the nation have come together the fourth Saturday of June to participate in the Great American Backyard Campout in support of Great Outdoors Month. The annual nationwide event is designed to promote the benefits of camping as a way to connect people with nature and support NWF’s efforts to get kids outdoors.
This year, NWF has set a goal of getting more than 200,000 people across the country to camp out for the 10th anniversary of the Great American Backyard Campout. For further information, please visit http://www.nwf.org/Great-American-Backyard-Campout/Event-Details.aspx on line
Spare the rod, and you’ll spoil the child
The coming weekend has the potential to provide an additional bonus for campers, as June 28-29, 2014, also happens to be the annual Free Fishing Weekend in New York State.
All across the state there will be Free Sport Fishing Events with family fishing clinics hosted. And anglers can fish for free; as no freshwater fishing license is required during the event, which is hosted annually on the last weekend in June.
In addition to fishing, participants can learn about fish identification, fishing equipment and techniques, fisheries management, angling ethics and aquatic ecology.
Angling, similar to camping, is a life skill that every local child should learn at a young age. I’d far prefer to have my children lost somewhere on a stream, than wandering around in the mall.
Although a river may transport kids far from home for a spell, it will similarly always bring them back. I discovered this truth of this statement, while fishing with my niece and nephew last weekend.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.