On December 25th, 2005, however, I was given one of the great guidebooks of life: Camping, by Horace Kephart. It was a gift from one Christopher McCormick, who knew that I grew up running around the parks where my father and grandfather worked; we're outdoor boys, for all of our computer-ness. The inscription reads as follows:
One of my oldest and best friends:
Merry Christmas, and may the coming year find you happy and prosperous.
Now, that's quite a nice sentiment. The tome in question is one of the seminal works on camping in the United States at the turn of the century, originally published in 1906. The edition Chris gave me was from 1927, which split the work into two volumes: Camping and Woodcraft.
Camping is about what we, today, would refer to as "car camping", or what Kephart refers to as "wagon camping". How to outfit a long-term camp, and how to camp when you have all the resources of a nearby wagon.
However, I did not have access to the second volume, "Woodcraft", until today.
As a Christmas present to myself, I now proudly also own a 1917 edition of Woodcraft, which is what we would today call "backpack camping".
They are, collectively, an extraordinary read. My copy of Woodcraft was apparently at one point a part of the Michigan State Library system. It was checked out on Sept 4, 1923; May 15, 1924; Aug 23, 1924; and Oct 1, 1924.
And now it's in my hands, which makes me the luckiest person in the world since Oct 1, 1924.
It is, quite frankly, a true guide to adventure.
Tomorrow, for you and me and all of us, I dearly hope, ADVENTURE!! :)