|Favorite places to camp:
Tom Rae Lodge, Nipissing, Ontario, Canada
Black Water Falls, near Davis West Virginia
Pipestem state park, West Virginia
Lake Champlain, Vermont
Pymatuning state Park, Pennsylvania
|The view from our cabin at Tom Rae Lodge in Ontario Canada|
|I have always enjoyed the outdoors. I spent many hours in the woods behind my house when I was a kid. My friends and I would hike, hunt, fish, and build forts whenever the weather was decent.
When I was a kid my good friend, Bill Benson, used to make regular summer camping trips with his folks to Pymatuning state park in northwest Pennsylvania. Often times they would invite me to go along which was great fun. We would tent camp in the woods and spend our days riding bikes, fishing, swimming, and seeing the sights. I have very fond memories of those trips and will always be grateful to Bill and his family for taking me along.
Interestingly, when my wife, Roxianne, and I moved back to Pittsburgh in the early 1990's we decided to do some tent camping at Pymatuning with my friend Bill, his wife Beverly, and our son Douglas. It was an unusual feeling to return to Pymatuning with my long-time friend and my young son. There was a sense of deja vu and also a feeling that my generation was passing on a tradition to the next one to follow.
Of course that is not the only tradition that has been passen on. For the past seven years we have been taking week-long vacations at Tom Rae Lodge in Ontario Canada. I first learned about the lodge at a spring sportsman's show held in Pittsburgh. It looked like a wonderful place to camp, fish, and relax so we gave it a try. Ever since the first visit we have been 'hooked' on the natural beauty of the area and the excellent fishing. We have taken a number of family members and my friend Dave Cuervo up to the lodge over the years. My niece, Kitaira Stotler and nephew, Joe Stotler have been regulars on our trips.
I find it curious that when Roxianne and I were younger and childless, we were keen to tent camp whenever possible. Regardless of weather or location, we would pack our gear into the station wagon and head off for a weekend camping trip in some nearby wilderness. Now that we are older and have Doug, we are much more inclined to rent a cabin that has more creature comforts and soft beds. Some might say that staying in a cabin is hardly "roughing it" and I would agree, however I observed on our last few tent camping trips that we were not really getting back to nature. At the campground in Pymatuning, I was astounded at the din from the campground even late at night. Between the generators and AC units for the recreational vehicles, and the TV and radio noise from nearby camps it was louder at night than if we were at home. It was hardly getting back to nature. One advantage to renting cabins is that there tend to be fewer people around and less noise. Tent campgrounds tend to pack people in like sardines in a can, whereas cabins are fewer and far between.