QUARANTINE TIMES: HAPPY CAMPER
Updated: Aug 6
" So recently, my wife and I purchased a small trailer at my childhood campground. Camping has been something I’ve been doing for the majority of my life, as I had been going to this specific campground since 1973, when I was twelve years old. It started with a tiny trailer, settled only thirty feet away from the Allegheny River, and it housed six of us. My father, my mother, my sister, my two brothers, and me were all packed into this tiny camper, but we made it work.
"When I was little, my siblings and I used to do so many different activities along the water to pass the time, since we did not have modern day technology at our fingertips. A lot of our time was spent in the river, since we would often swim, go canoeing and rafting, fish, or even go catch crayfish. Sometimes my dad would take my brothers and I up the nearby mountain when deer season rolled around to hunt, which was always a nice bonding experience. But one of my favorite things we used to do was light a fire every night. It’s something I still like to do now, as I’ll gather my family around the fire and cook hotdogs or s’mores over the open flame.
"The campground hasn’t changed too much over the years. It’s been passed from owner to owner but things still feel the way they used to when I was twelve. I’ve been bringing my daughter to the site since she was little, since my mother had our childhood trailer up there all throughout my life. Even now it still sits in the same spot, but has been passed down to my sister. After my wife and I retired, we decided we wanted to get a site up at the campground as well, since it isn’t too far from our house and I’ve been taking my wife and daughter camping since she was seven.
"We found out that the man with the site next to my sister’s trailer was looking to sell his camper, so we made him an offer. Mostly we were looking at the site, since it’s right next to my sister’s trailer and right in front of the Allegheny River. The trailer itself is in very rough condition, with many different parts and pieces needing fixed and cleaned. When the outbreak started, we used some of that time to head up to the campground and work on the trailer, since it is in a very rural area and we made sure to stay 6 feet apart. When we first started to clean, I had looked at my wife and with a small grimace said the obvious: 'This trailer doesn't look like it has been cleaned in ten years!' More like twenty, really.
"The inside of the trailer was very gross, with dirt and grime covering the carpets, leaks in the ceiling causing mold on the floorboards, and dead bugs near the heat vents and windows. It is very rough inside of the trailer, but my wife and I are determined to redo the inside and make it our own. Since the pandemic has heightened, the Governor shut down the campgrounds, so we can no longer go and work on it during the pandemic physically. But, my wife and I are working together to plan things out and gather the supplies we need to fix things up once the pandemic has calmed down.
"So, we have been gathering together clothes to reupholster the couches and chairs, paint to redo the inside walls, ceilings, and the outside of the trailer, as well as gather together wood and supplies to create a deck for the outside.
"Now, all I need to do is get my lazy daughter up off her butt once her schooling is over to help us with our work."
~~ Mr & Mrs. Hale, Interviewed by their daughter Emily Hale (Class of '22, Environmental Science & Sustainability Major)
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