When we were young and immortal, our family often camped out in a tent. A couple of times we decided two days in a row of warm weather in late winter meant it was time to go camping and fishing. The result was sometimes… interesting.
One spring another couple joined my husband and me – and our tent – at a pretty mountain trout lake. We got there way after dark on Friday evening, and with the help of headlights and flashlights got the tent set up, coffee made and supper cooked.
The tent was plenty big enough for all four of us to lay out our bedrolls, so we did. During the night my husband complained I was crowding him and he was freezing. I angrily yelled I was not crowding him, and I was the one freezing to death. The family “discussion” deteriorated from there – loudly.
Later, our guy friend said, “I had to get up and go get more wood – and we had plenty of wood.”
Morning finally came – still cold. I got my fishing pole, walked down to the lake, found a nice spot and cast out my line. Now and then a car went down the road on the other side of the small lake, and I waved at them. I caught a couple of nice trout and forgot about my “angries” from the night before. After a couple of hours my cousin who lived nearby showed up.
After I proudly showed him my fish he laughed really loud and said, “The season won’t open for another two weeks. Lucky your game warden friend didn’t happen by. You know how he loves prosecuting outlaws like you.”
After that we tried to remember to look up season opening dates before we went. Still, I remember a few years later opening the baby food jar and feeding my daughter while the guys dug our 4-wheel drive pickup out of a snowbank. As I recall we caught quite a few fish, but I can’t remember whether we were too early again.
After our two daughters were old enough they became excellent little weekend campers and fishermen. Our family instigated a system that worked part of the time. One girl was in charge of hammering in the tent stakes after Dad checked the lay of the land and chose the spot. The other daughter took care of unloading sleeping bags, etc., and putting them inside the tent.
We learned to take along pre-cooked food for that first night, except for coffee. Gotta have coffee.
One summer we made a camping and fishing trip into Colorado. The second day we found a pretty little mountain lake in mid-afternoon, and decided to stay there a day or two. It seemed like we got camp set up in no time at all.
As I was thinking how good we’d gotten at it, one daughter clued me in: “This is the first time we’ve ever put up the tent in the daylight, Mom.”
Glenda Price has been a contributing editor to New Mexico Stockman magazine since 1982. Contact her at email@example.com.