The Sounds of Bygone Voices

Too many parents of small children make the mistake of putting off camping until the kids are “old enough.” Too late, they discover that by the time the kids get old enough, they’d rather be doing something else. 

No, the time to take kids out is now. We’re not talking, here, of wilderness, over mountains, through rivers, and over glaciers, but we are also most certainly not talking of setting up camp in the living room in front of the TV either. Though that might be good practice, since all good camping requires planning, and camping with kids requires the best possible planning.

Kids don’t need much to keep them happy. All they really want is and need is to be comfortable, safe, and well fed. Start with short, easygoing outings, with plenty of games, books, crayons, and favorite teddy bears. Spoil them rotten on such trips. Double desserts and triple attention. Listen together to loons, tell each other great stories.

For what playpen could be better, and safer, than a ten? Pitched in the pines. Under the stars.

Wit & Wisdom of the Great Outdoors

Jerry Wilber

The cliff overlooking Bear Lake on the Superior Hiking Trail (The Twin Lakes Loop between Beaver Bay and Silver Bay, MN) on a calm evening as we are about to make the steep hike down into the campsite
The cliff overlooking Bear Lake on the Superior Hiking Trail (The Twin Lakes Loop between Beaver Bay and Silver Bay, MN) on a calm evening as we are about to make the steep hike down into the campsite

I was paging through a book that I came to possess when my grandfather passed from his collection and found a post-it note bookmarking this passage. It was eery to read and imagine that this was his mission with my cousins and me. As with everything I inherited from my grandpa it has to do with the outdoors. This was always my connection with him, that is no secret. All the days and nights I spent hidden from the world in the great wilderness of Minnesota taught me how to live. There is a unity that bonds everything in the world from our fellow people to each blade of grass. Our time spent together was often volunteering at various camps for the Boy Scouts of America, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and other organizations he cared a great deal for. Looking back now I see how we were helping others to learn about the peace and wonder that can be found at the campsite. Pitching tents as a team, taking day hikes to learn about flora and fauna found in the area, the stories told around the yellow glow of a campfire, and the inner peace found lying in your tent as you listen to the voices of the wind through the busy night woods. Often we were trying to help people to find the wonder explained in this passage. Admiration of the outdoors is inherently linked with a respect for it. If we do not care for our wilderness now it will not be there to share with our children and grandchildren to make these connections that cannot be found in the hustle and bustle of daily life. As I move towards a phase of my life where I am ready to have children and many of my friends are having them this is an important notion to keep in mind and an important practice to put in place.

At Home Up North

Easily one of my favorite campsites on the Superior Hiking Trail this view of the sunset from where our tents were set up shows why it is worth the effort to get to.
Easily one of my favorite campsites on the Superior Hiking Trail this view of the sunset from where our tents were set up shows why it is worth the effort to get to.

After moving to Texas I have been more drawn to trying to capture the magic of the sunset. The colors in the sky that are created during this time of the day are so vibrant and magnificent it is hard not to feel an appreciation for things beyond the control of man. I must admit I have not yet captured a Texas sunset I deem worthy of showing, but upon looking back on images I had taken I found this wondrous scene on the shore of Bear Lake on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT). This section, the Twin Lakes Loop, is one of the most popular areas for many reasons. Foremost is it’s beauty, this section goes from rocky outcrops, through wooded marshes, scenic lakes, and more. It is also on the southernmost leg of the SHT; making it an easy weekend destination from the Twin Cities. Over the past several years I have found myself at this campsite countless times. This image is a perfect example of the serenity found at any given moment while sitting at this campsite. The subtle details in this image are overwhelming to anybody who has been to this location. The strips of birch bark along the shore are easily mistaken for litter, but are simply a sign of the beavers who have a den built at the southernmost tip of this lake on the stream that leads to Beaver Lake. Hidden in the water is the beaver swimming across the lake creating the ripples that are coming towards the shoreline from where the photograph is taken. The crystal clear water is all too inviting on the heated days of July and August after a sweaty hike through the ups and downs of the Sawtooth Mountains to get to this hidden oasis. This view accompanies every activity at the campsite from cooking breakfast over the propane stove, conversing over a campfire on a chilly eve in the north woods, lying in the afternoon sun to relax after a day hike, etc. Easily my favorite parts of the day while at this campsite are the sunrise and sunset. Even if you are not an early riser it is hard to not be awoken by the early morning sun heating up your tent on the shore. For these reasons and more this location is a place that in my heart has a feeling of home.

Down the foggy ruins of time

Down The Foggy Ruins of TimeThis image holds so much of the magic that photography consists of. I consistently look back upon this shot to dissect what in my mind makes a wonderful image. I think it began with the normalcy of the situation. This was not an out of the ordinary site to wake up to, and was therefore natural and relaxing for me to capture. The unplanned shots tend to be the most honest. Then the ice trail makes such a wonderful line to the island, which upon looking closely you can see the boat and person whom created this break in the ice. The little details add up to the big picture. The magical part of the image is the fog. The sense of mystery and intrigue that it brings to the scene glues everything together. To me it looks like something in a dream, yet it is a part of ordinary life.  This is a cold and typical November morning on the lake in Wisconsin. It shows the slowness of life and the serenity of all activities. I was watching the rowboat make its way to the tiny island as I ate breakfast on the dock with my camera on a tripod capturing segments of time.