Thursday, May 10, 2012

Remember When....

My first hook-up with a Yellowstone Cutthroat
  Remember when you where a kid and the summers where spent traveling the back roads of America with the family.  Remember when the only map you had was a road atlas you picked up in a rest stop and no one had ever heard of gps.  Remember when you pulled into Yellowstone for the first time.  Remember when your dad finally found the 'perfect camp site' next to the lake and while the folks set up the tent and the old Coleman stove you and your siblings rushed to the water and couldn't wait to cast to those monster cutthroat.
My Dad and Me on a hike
  I Remember and if you had the upbringing that I had you can even now recall the smells and sounds of the great outdoors.  You can remember that sizzle of a fresh caught trout on that green Coleman stove.  You can remember mom priming that old gas lantern and the glow it provided as the family settled down at the camp table to play a game of go-fish.  The sites, sound, and smells of those trips stay with a person for eternity and that old green Coleman stove is seasoned with those memories that made my childhood special.
The proud angler and his catch
  When I saw that the OutdoorBloggerNetwork had partnered with Coleman I was thrilled.  “Sponsored by Coleman and hosted by the Outdoor Blogger Network, this is my submission for the Coleman Camping Heritage Essay Contest.”   It turned out they where asking for stories and memories about how Coleman products had been involved in my life.  I can tell you that with the upbringing I had the memories just came flooding back.
  When I was a kid taking two weeks - or even a month - out of the summer and disappearing into the backwoods of the western US was a family tradition.  Truth be told I can remember with absolute clarity sitting on top of that bright red Coleman Cooler watching dad priming that Green stove and cooking a true back-country meal of fresh fish and baked beans.  I am not sure how old the Coleman equipment was when I was a kid but I know it was rugged and guaranteed to last.  In fact I am sure my dad still has that same stove today.  And, if I'm not mistaken, that same cooler might still be occupying a small corner of his garage waiting for the next trip into the great outdoors.

Fishing with my bro in Northern California
  Truth is that I was a lucky kid to have the experiences I had when I was young.  My brother, Sister, and I couldn't wait for the summer camping trips.  I can remember packing the car the night before a big trip and not being able to sleep.  I can remember that my folks must have been itching to get going as well because there was seldom a time when we ever left the house on a trip after 4am.  We always were a good two hours into the trip before the sun even got up.
The places we went were the mountains of Northern California, Yosemite, Oregon, Utah, The Blackhills of the Dakotas, Wyoming, and one of my favorites -  Yellowstone NP.  Regardless of the destination, nearly every place we went, fish and water were close by.  Besides the Coleman camping equipment, the fishing poles and swim suits were always a must have on any trip.
    Now that I am grown up, married, and have two kids I have vowed to give my kids the same benefits I had when I was young.  We go camping when ever we can and I am proud that my kids love the outdoors as much as I do.  Even my loving wife, who had never camped before we had met occasionally turns to me and says, "We need to go camping!".   Inevitably, within the hour we have the calendar out and are planing our next adventure.
Camping in SC
    A month ago, while on a camping trip to the beach, my family and I found ourselves wishing we had that bright red Coleman metal cooler with that handy latch on the top.  While washing dishes a few feet away from our cheaply made plastic cooler -without the handy lock - my wife was a few seconds late to catch one brave raccoon snatching our morning sausage from inside the cooler.  After the initial shock of the event had worn off we mentioned how nice it would have been to have had that cooler from my childhood.
    Nowadays my family and I aren't cruising the back country roads of the Rocky Mountains looking for camp grounds on rest stop road maps but we are covering a good deal of prime beach camping as well as Smoky Mountain sites.  When my kids grow up I hope they remember those trip with as much fondness as I do.

11 comments: said...


The memories flooded back. Great story. Thanks for posting such a nostagic script. They were fun times.

Mark Kautz said...

Boy, don't we remember those times. I think I still have the old stove and lantern. Stay tuned.


Carlos Del Rey. said...

Joel, nice history, the years go fast!

Unknown said...

Thanks pops. :-)

Unknown said...

It's good to remember those time and make new memories with the same equipment some 20 years later.

Unknown said...

Thanks Carlos, time does fly by

Unknown said...

Just recalled those fish to Brenda while looking over the frozen Yellowstone lake last weekend. I still use grandpas pump white gas coleman stove and it have never let me down. I have not seen those pics in a long...long time.

Unknown said...

That's where the Coleman stove went... We are going to have to make a trip back to yellowstone soon. The kids would love it, and I think I'd have a good time as well.

Owl said...

What great memories! Darn raccoon! :)

Tiffany said...

I love all the old photos. Isn't great to have all those great memories and to be able to create new ones with your own kids? What a wonderful post.

Unknown said...

Excellent! Loved the pictures too!