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Camping on the Connecticut River

November 23, 2008
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Camping on the Connecticut River

Family Camping series – part 2

It seemed like a good idea at the time, going camping on the Connecticut river with a small boat. It started like this, early one day my family of four set off from the boat launch with all the supplies necessary for a successful weekend camping trip on the Connecticut river. We had it all, canvas tent strapped on the front deck of the boat; coolers; food; life jackets; and folding chairs and a folding table in a bright orange canoe being towed behind the boat. Another camping adventure was underway.

All went well at first and we got well up the river before engine trouble put an additional challenge into the adventure. Reluctant to give up on the trip, my dad grounded the rest of us on a narrow strip of dirt at the edge of the river.

I can’t image a less hospitable spot in the whole river. We had the river directly in front of us and an enormous tangle of dead trees behind us. It could have been worse however since he also left the canoe and its contents, as well as, the coolers. Undaunted, my mother directed the assembly of chairs and table; dispensed beverages; and broke out the playing cards.  In this manner, we were entertained while we waited for my dad and the boat to limp back to the boat launch for repairs.

My mother must have had supreme confidence in my father’s ability to get back to us with a boat because honestly, given where we were sitting, that was the only way we were getting out of there. This, of course, brings to mind the curious sight we must have been for the passing boats. There we sat, three people with a table, 3 chairs, 2 coolers, and one small bright orange canoe sitting and playing cards in a spot clearly only accessible from the river. I am vaguely surprised that no one came close enough to see if we were okay. Maybe the playing cards threw them.

Eventually my dad did come back to get us; loaded everyone and everything back up; and took the canoe and contents back under tow. We found a lovely spot to set up camp; played in the river with the canoe; sat by the campfire; and having exhausted all entertainment for the evening slept moderately well in a tent situated on level ground.

In the morning, my dad mentioned the need to go home for something. Since as a 18 year old teenager, all I wanted to do was wash my hair, I asked to go with him. Unfortunately, everyone else had a reason to go back with him too, and reading the writing on the wall we went home. No one knows why the trip ended the way it did. Certainly considering we went through so much to get there, I would have thought we would have wanted to stay a while. It could be that my brother and I were too old for the simple entertainments available to us but it was, I believe, the last camping trip we made together until my brother and I were adults.

There were other camping adventures that occurred between my first story and this one, and I may choose to relate them at some point. This one and my first story, seem to represent the first childhood trip I remember and the last. It is interesting to me that we all continued to go camping, and that I persist to this day. Even now, with the luxury of a camper bought with an inheritance from my parents, my husband and I still have our little adventures. I can only think that the perseverance and spirit of adventure my parents always brought to everything they undertook did, in fact, perhaps live on in me…..


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