Monday, January 28, 2019

Time At Our Camp Is Time Well Spent

We recently started an Okara Lakes Historical Committee to record the history of the camps in order to compile an historical register of the Okara Lakes area. This prompted me to pull photos off my phone and put them all in one photo album on the computer. Warning:  This post is word heavy :-)

Joe built the camp shed. It's a skyscraper :-) The shed holds a LOT of firewood. 
Our camp is far enough off the dirt road to be somewhat private. Especially our backyard since it is designated Forever Wild. The calm surroundings and breathtaking views are just what we need after a crazy work week. You can't beat an early-morning paddle on a misty lake for feeling like you've crossed into another world. Our alarm clock is the call of the Loon. There is a 740-mile water trail that begins near our camp and goes through Saranac Lake and into Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine before ending in Quebec.
Even though this photo is from Budapest, this looks exactly like our lake and floating dock that we use to dive in the water. We even have the rubber tubes. 

The remainder of this post is what I submitted for the historical register. I'm sure my parents and grandparents would have had wonderful memories to share :-) 
Our camp is a single family dwelling built by father and paternal grandfather in the early 70’s. The camp was built in three sections, with the first section being 16 x 16 with a sink to wash dishes. I think the outhouse was built first. J  As children (ages 6-11) we enjoyed spending time at the lake looking for polliwogs and floating on tubes while dad was working on the camp. Then a second section was added, and a few years later the third section. The third section is what we referred to as the “bunk room”. Boy was life good for us. A hardworking father supporting his wife and four children, and going to “camp” on the weekends in a station wagon with the wood on the sides. Travel in the pre-mini-van days of the 1970s – sans seatbelts of course. Upon arrival, we got out the webbed lawn chairs while dad worked on the camp and mom prepared lunch. My dad also had a 1982 International Harvester (Chrysler) that we used to haul items to the camp with my brother. Our next door neighbor was Wilson Candee and his family whom we shared many fun times (and meals) with. Occasionally we would head down the dirt road to hang out with the very sociable Baister family at their camp. When I was a teenager, I babysat at the Pontiac Lodge for the Callahan family.
My maternal grandfather retired from Remington Arms and worked in the summer for Theodore Schenck (Town of Webb peace justice) at his gas station and Little Bayou Cottages (where the arts center View is now located.) My grandparents helped my mom and dad with camp projects and lived in a cute Shasta trailer that he parked on our camp lawn. My grandmother and I would pick blackberries and bake pies in the trailer. Seems that I recall mostly the culinary activities that occurred at the camp. 
Many gourmet meals have been prepared in our camp kitchen and on our outdoor grill, and we hosted 32 people overnight one weekend when our family was younger. One morning I was looking out the window and there was a moose in our backyard. I have counted over 40 species of birds in our backyard, and the loons sometimes wake me up in the morning. We also have our share of bears, fox, deer, etc. Our camp provides us with a kind of “soul food”.  I could write an entire book about the stories we have shared with over hundreds of friends and families around the campfire. My siblings and I now have grandchildren that will create their own memories around the campfire at camp. 
Have you spent time at a family camp? I'd love to hear about it. 
Thanks for stopping by!

Debbie@Mountain Breaths
Debbie@Mountain Breaths

Hello, I'm Debbie.I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Adirondack Mountains (thus Mountain Breaths). I live in Upstate NY with my supportive husband and have three precious sons..


  1. It's so charming! I can't say I have had a camp in my childhood..:)

  2. Great post, Debbie! It looks like a heavenly location. Joe is very talented! Hope you have a good week. Stay warm.

  3. I love picturing you at your camp, Debbie! To me it seems like a little piece of heaven right here on earth. It's a place that must bring peace and calm the minute you drive up the drive. I would enjoy canoeing, watching the birds, and of course, picking blackberries!

  4. I love the pictures but I also love the stories. What a great investment in time your parents made and you continue to enjoy.
    My cousins had a “church camp” that we tent camped on. It was just two old bat filled houses so we did everything outside. We thought it was a great adventure. Nothing as nice as yours.

  5. What a wonderful family gift your parents and grandparents bestowed on your family, Debbie! The camp setting, the cabin (even the shed!), the little's Americana at its best.

  6. Deb, the camp house is heaven on earth! What an amazing place for you to have grown up and now the memories. It is a good thing to have started the historical committee. Your children and grandchildren will thank you. You are very fortunate to have such a beautiful place to spend your weekends. Joe did an amazing job on the wood shed. You two are such cuties in the pic. Jim's mom and day had a cabin on the river. When we were young and our son was young we spent many weekends there. Fishing, swimming and boating, skiing for anyone interested. We cooked a lot on an open fire. That seems so long ago. Now, the house has been sold but the memories aren't. Great post!

  7. I love the photo of the deer swimming in the lake!! AND you have a paddleboat? One of my favorite memories of summers in Maine is going out on the Lake in a paddleboat!! Must be nice to have an escape from the everyday grind!!

  8. Your camp is a special place indeed Debbie, not only built with your father and grandfather's hands, but with lifetime family memories...sounds like such a fun, relaxing place in all seasons! Our beach house is similar, we didn't build it, but bought it when our children were babies. We added things over time, pier, pool, boats etc. We did rebuild it after a hurricane, my son built the kitchen and baths, and a few years ago we added on. So many memories of good times, family reunions, friends...and now watching my grandchildren love it as much as we do, makes my heart sing...Even little Wallace at 2 years old would constantly ask when could they go to beach! Thank you for sharing your special story, and how brilliant to have an historical register! I do remember riding in those station wagons with my parents!

  9. I like to swim in the lake or river a long time ago.
    your camp so exciting.
    have a great day

  10. Wonderful post, Debbie! I think the lake in Budapest really does look like your lake ;) I have very fond memories of the trips to Northern Wisconsin with my parents and sister when we were little. Those years, my parents would rent a cottage. Later, my mom and step-father built their own place on a northern lake. Great memories of life 'unplugged'.


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