|The Back Forty
By Roger Pond
A recent camping trip reminded me of how much this activity has changed over the years.
We’ve gone from the days of the old canvas tents to nylon taffeta shelters that will take you to the next campground if you have to put them up in a heavy wind.
I bought a 10 by 10 dome tent a few years ago but threw it away after my son and his wife found it impossible to erect in a nasty wind. We still have some dome tents, but they are only seven by seven. These will handle a major breeze.
That’s why I was a little nervous when my brother and I unpacked his new tent and began setting it up. I reached into the pole bag and pulled out a folding piece of fiberglass that appeared to be 30 feet long.
“Uh, oh! Kite city!” I thought.
That tent must have been at least 12 by 12 with an eight-foot peak in the middle. The slightest breeze would have sent it into orbit.
Then, I pulled out the stakes that came with the tent. These appeared to be made of number 9 wire - with a crook on one end.
“We’d better find some stuff to tie this thing down,” I said.
Luckily enough, we had plenty of rope, and Kenny tied one side of the tent to a picnic table. Even more fortunate, we didn’t have a whiff of wind in three days of camping.
Other than the $15 per night camping fee and two inches of goose manure everywhere, we had a pretty good trip.
My brother and I marveled at how different this type of camping is from the expeditions we enjoyed as kids. That was real camping: A duel with the elements.
Anyone who wasn’t wet, cold and dirty wasn’t having nearly enough fun.
We surmised that kids today probably don’t know what real camping is like. They probably play camping games on their computers.
That’s when a brilliant idea dawned on us. Somebody should invent a camping game. (I’m sure they already have.)
I would make it one of those card games, played by two to four people. Each person draws a card and follows the printed instructions.
You go first. Go on, take a card.
“Sorry, you forgot the hamburger. Move four spaces backwards and eat some nuts and berries.”
(My turn.) “Ran out of toilet paper. Move three spaces backward and go look for paw-paw trees.”
(Your turn.) “O-o-o-o! Those are nettles. Move five spaces backward and forget about sitting down for a few weeks.”
(My turn.) “Got the fire started - or smoking at least. Move four spaces forward and draw another card.”
“Fire’s out. Eat some raw hot dogs and go to bed.”
(Your turn.) “It’s starting to rain. Not to worry, you have rain gear. Move five spaces forward and draw again.”
“Too bad. You might have rain gear, but you left it at home. Grab whatever you can carry and run for the house.”
This farm news was published in the Sept. 6, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.