An Introduction To "Camp"


What could a boy raised in California and a girl raised in Massachusetts have in common? Well, quite a bit, as we can attest to nearly 60 years later. But now I'm thinking about one thing in particular: Camp.

"Camp," as will become evident in the following pages, is a tract of land with a cabin on it, set at the end of a dirt track deep in the northern New Hampshire woods. From 1947 to 2009, it was the part-time home of, first, the Harrises - Sally's family - and, later, the Wilburs (us). We loved it, and being there - and anticipating being there, when we were elsewhere - became very important to us.

I won't describe Camp here; I'll just let the story unfold. Suffice it to say, by most 21st Century standards in the Lower 48 States, the living was "primitive." If you are familiar with the writings of Louise Dickinson Rich, of her life in the Maine woods in the 1940s and early 1950s, this 2009 note from our daughter Sara may give you a hint about what to expect:

"I forgot to tell you on the phone, I just finished 'We Took To The Woods' this morning. I'd never read it before, and I thought it was quite entertaining. Not much different than if we lived at Camp year-round, but fun to read it from another personality/perspective."

If you don't know "We Took to the Woods," you'll just have to read on.

It's been almost 10 years now since we last saw "Camp" [See "Telling the End of the Story First," link above], but I still write about it. There's still a lot to tell, and I continue to draw on an accumulation of notes, photos, and personal memories about living there. For the last 15 years of our stay, we kept a detailed daily journal, in which we recorded: weather data; lists of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians seen; when plants bloom, and where; how the bugs were (usually bad, if we took time to mention them); what we did that day; and - usually the highlight entries - "interesting events". Entries from the journal are used to start many of the following chapters. Sometimes, they say pretty much all I wanted to say, and stand as written. More often, you'll find I wander off on parallel tracks that compliment and/or expand on the original observations.

I think you might be interested in some of these chapters. If you don't know New Hampshire's country "north of the notches", maybe I can convey to you some of the flavor of this very special but not well-known region. If you are familiar with Coos County ("kooz" in Oregon, but "co-oss" in New Hampshire), I suspect you will be able to identify with the sights, sounds and feelings I have to share. If you are a North Country native, you may be interested in how someone from "Away" (and, after forty-plus years, I realize that in many ways I'm still from "Away") views your backyard.

Please, read on. And check back occasionally, as I continue to add chapters to my "North Country Journal."

Sandy Wilbur - Gresham, Oregon - August 2017



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