Monday, May 14, 2007
Farewell to Camp Greg
What has long been known as 'Camp Greg'. In some circles referred to as 'Greg's High Altitude Training'. A place where one could get away from the city and experience the true life of living in the mountains. Whether it was a day hike into the backwoods, or fishing in one of the many local lakes or streams. Physical activities from heavy lot clearing, busting downed timber into firewood, or maintenance on cabins in the area, as winter is a harsh reality for homes here. No matter what the event one could always find peace in the fresh mountain air, a sense of responsibility for the true meaning of mountain living, as well as the feeling of accomplishment for an honest days work. Warm showers and meals were always a welcomed commodity at days end here. Enjoying the company of each other around a campfire, and gazing at the star filled night sky. The experience of actually watching satellites drifting across the night expanse was always a thrill, as this is something you cant see within the glow of the city lights! From young relatives looking for direction or a chance to make some good money, to friends wanting to just enjoy the life that living in the mountains offers. Anyone was always welcomed, and almost everyone.....always walked away changed in one way or the other by the experience. This past weekend I had the absolute honor of working with an old friend, Scott, and 4 eager and energetic young men, my son included in bucking rounds, and splitting near 4 cords of firewood. In a 'wood whores' last stand, we worked darned near 7 or so cords of firewood in this past month for Scott to stock as his mountain arsenal of warmth. Working with my son John, Scott and his son Nicko, and Nickos' two friends Randy and Josh was a joy for me. We worked hard but enjoyed the two days of friendship and sharing as well as the intense sense of accomplishment when we stood back in awe at the mountain of wood that we made. These guys are worth their weight in gold as far as I am concerned. Responsible, good personalities and the desire to help build an economical source of warmth for Scott and his wife for at least a couple winters to come....although there was some speculation that it would take 12 years to burn it down.....yeah! :/ Just being able to share the knowledge of working rounds in a wood splitter with those who never had before, or having the chance to watch my son utilize his earlier teachings of safely working a chainsaw, it just made me feel good inside to be able to share this time with this last and final group of Camp Gregsters'. I will miss the opportunity to provide such an environment for future visitors to our mountain retreat. My hope is that all that have had this unique experience will in some way pass it on to those who they find need to experience such an opportunity. As for me....like Maryann said, I will live on my legacy as a 'wood whore' in Alaska. I am currently working Camp Greg's reputation of 'High Altitude Training' into what will come to be known as 'Daylight Endurance Training'. With near 24 hours of daylight during the summer in Alaska, there will be plenty of hours to work my fabled reputation of a dedicated camp counsellor! I hope somehow that I will be fortunate enough to come across a native Alaskan, that will take me under their wing and mentor me to the true lifestyle and responsibilities of maintaining a self sufficient existence in what is known to some as 'the final frontier'. I know that I did my best to share this ideal with all who showed a desire the learn and experience such, and I feel blessed to have many fond memories that I will take with me as long as I walk this earth, as we close a long and accomplished chapter in our stay in the Sierra-Nevada mountains, as we humbly bid a farewell, to Camp Greg.