View Full Version : Cool Camping Stories - Uplifting of course!

Wise Old Owl
05-25-2009, 23:50
Perhaps you have heard the expression “Do a good turn daily” Tonight here on Memorial Day I was at a family get together and was reminded of a good story as my dad told a powerful message to my younger bother about doing things for people that are handicapped or a little less fortunate than others.

Every year I insist to all my relatives to come and join me on a back of car campout for my birthday (April 19th) I enjoy cooking some really thick steaks, downing a few beers, and enjoying each others company around the campfire. Even if I have to provide the Smores or the Bar tab. Our “back of car trips” takes us to places like Northeast Maryland State Park or Peaqua Park in Lancaster PA, near the Conestoga Trail.

The night was late and we were all ready for bed when a older car pulled up to the site some 50 feet away and two little boys jumped out and were helping dad set up what appeared to be an eight man tent! He at first attempted to set it up in the car headlights as we all watched at a distance. I could hear the excitement in the children’s voices and dad was attempting to make the best of things as he tried to control the situation in a calm voice. Although there was an obvious problem that was clear to all of us experienced campers, the dad was doing a great job. So we waited a little bit. Sure enough the dad finally came over, and introduced himself. It was the first time he had the boys out and the tent was borrowed and he had no clue how to set it up. “Hey I would be happy to help you! I said. You see, he had no legs. He did not have any prosthetics, his “feet” were two arm chair rests turned upside down and that made him four foot tall, and he was amazing as he got around. Unfortunately, that was making it difficult to set a 7 to 8 foot high tent up. Half an hour later the kids were in bed I shook his hand and went back to my tent to go to bed. I never gave it a second thought. I just thought what a great dad for those boys.

I was interested to hear from you as I am sure some of you have a few uplifting stories to tell regardless of the trail, so long as it has something to do with camping or hiking. This is one time a little thread drift is OK.

Looking forward to your posts!

05-26-2009, 07:03
Growing up one of my best friends Jake had (has) Muscular Dystrophy. It made me learn from a very young age how to help those that are disabled in any way I can. We used to go camping every year with a whole bunch of families up at Hermit Island in Maine. Every year a group of us kids would go up there (Jake included) and we would have a blast. We used to all ride bikes around the island, climb the cliffs, find crabs + such in the water....you know when parents used to let you roam free....no leashes:D

But we all used to make sure Jake could come along in the wheel chair some how. We had big off road tires for one of his push wheel chairs and we used to either push him and run after the bikes and a few years we tied it up and dragged him behind the bikes.....he said it was terrifying so we didn't do it anymore:D But we refused to let him sit home. Winter time was great up at his cabin in vermont....he had two huskies that used to pull the sled for him. Also his older brother Josh (and his parents) became certified handi-capable ski tether holders and instructors. The whole family is full of great people and no one ever judges him by his disability.

MD is a horrible disease. Since these good times as a child Jake has taken a far turn for the worse. He is under 24 hour care for all his basic necessities. He can no longer feed himself and requires someone for everything. His brain still functions as well as it ever did and by all respects he is a genius with computers and Television Marketing. But we are all glad for the times we had as children. They are no longer possible, but he lives in Colorado now so that he can enjoy the view of the Mountains he used to ski and climb.

Wise Old Owl
05-26-2009, 22:22
Thank you Homer, great story, in spite of the turn...

Wise Old Owl
05-27-2009, 19:36
Gosh I was hoping for a few more good stories! what happened?

05-28-2009, 00:10
Those were great stories and I can't even come near either one. But I have found people to be nice and helpful on whatever trail and it made me feel good to finally pay it forward in a very simple way.
Three of us hiked in the Grand Canyon in 2007 and we carried all kinds of stuff to fix blisters. I have never had blister issues, but carry all this stuff...just in case I do. We had been out three days and were just about done with our trip up from the bottom and reached the resthouse on Bright Angel, the first one coming down, where there were alot of folks that just come down the trail for a few hours. We stopped for a water and snack break and there was a mom and dad with two tweens in sandles with blisters and hot spots and they had to get back up steep trail to the rim. We could hear the parents concern and that is what drew our attention to them. The girls were not whiners, but they were uncomfortable. At this last resthouse, we three were an oddity. Chubby middle aged women, fish belly fair skin midwesterners with backpacks. We had grabbed some shade, sat in the dirt and elevated our feet on our packs. Not quite the swelte tanned fit young we saw on the trail. This little family plunked down right next to us. I had been lucky. My friends had used up their stuff and I had not touched mine. Out came the antiseptic wipes, moleskin,little scissors and tape and Iworked on the little girls feet to get them back up to the rim comfortably. They were the nicest people and from Scotland. And I have been to Scotland twice when I was young so I found something to chat up the girls while I worked on their feet. We finished our trip and went to Vegas the next day for a day and night before we flew home. Our last night we were walking thru New York casino and ran into this family in the food court. This place was packed with tourists. In that city with all the places jammed with people on a weekend and we just ran smack dab into them. It was like old home week. The girls feet were doing great and they had a wonderful time. We had drinks with them. I never needed any of that blister stuff for my feet. But there was a reason I had it.

05-28-2009, 06:57

Nice idea for a post! I just thought I'd mention that there is an organization, Wilderness Inquiry, (http://www.wildernessinquiry.org) that works to offer people outdoor experiences. They offer trips to many places in the US, doing activities like sea kayaking, horseback riding, canoeing, and backpacking. They also do a few international trips. Anyway, pretty much anyone is welcome--and needed--but they work very hard to include those who have handicaps. I've done two trips with them, the first was sea kayaking on Lake Superior, and two of the 12 of us were blind. They were some of the most enthusiastic people I've ever met. I found some blooming pitcher plants, and I showed them to the group. The blind ladies immediately stuffed their hands down the pitchers, and traced the stem of the flower. It was "eye opening" for me. Last year, I did a canoe trip with WI on the Missouri River on the White Cliffs section, in Montana. We had 4 mentally, hmm, "challenged" individuals of 12 of us. I think one was autistic, but I never knew what any of them "had." It was so neat watching them experience the outdoors. I still miss those people. In 6 weeks, I take a 3 week canoe trip in the Yukon and Alaska in the Arctic Circle with WI. I'm excited about the trip, but I'm also excited about the "eye opening" experience that will occur as we progress down the river. It's a pretty wonderful setup.