Friday, May 28, 2010


Hello, gorgeous beautiful glamorous campers! This weekend my family and some friends are entering that glorious Memorial Day tradition of the camping trip. Where to, you might ask? We're going to a beach on the Pacific, if that narrows it down for you. 
I got to thinking about why so many of us chose to fill our leisure time with sleeping under the stars (well, the hidden stars here in Alaska if it's Summer - we're pretty much getting Midnight Sun at this point), and remembered that I had this little fledgling site that I'd filled with a few (but not all from my vault) reference databases that I could play with. I felt like looking at vintage Kodachrome and the like photos and related ephemera from the 30's-80's or so. I wanted to see some examples of vintage camping, in photos, to tie our experiences with our bug spray-wielding and hot-dog grilling forefathers. 
I mean I flippin' love camping, but I'm a bit specific and fickle with my love. It must be in (usually) a state or national park campground, meaning it must be beautiful and serene. But I don't want it to be off the grid too much (i.e. some sort of toilet either flush or porta is essential), because I am a delicate, shy type person with my grooming and functions and also do not want to be eaten by a bear or taunted by a wolverine. On the flip side I don't want something so posh that it's ridden with RV's and pricey fees. I'm camping for goodness sake, I'm doing it because it's cheap and I like roasting marshmallows. I don't necessarily need a shower because showers in camps are usually either anemic or like something out of a TVA dam and nowhere in between. 
So anyway, I used my little magic tricks to find a few pretty little reminders of the type of camping I love: the kind with lipstick and a clean toilet, the kind with park rangers and day hikes. I found some random: 
1971: Are We Having Fun Yet?
Thank you, Shorpy. 
Just look at that happy camper up there (1971). Read the description on the Shorpy page, too. I love this guy's self-depreciating humor. I look at all the details in the shot and I think of all the preparations I just did for our impending trip. Will we look at our photos 30 years from now and marvel at the "vintage" Sigg water bottles and Bodum french press? Probably. 
Cold Camp: 1967
Thanks again, Shorpy.
Please. Just look at this shot. Can't you just feel it? The flames licking the black night? I've missed that! Like I've said it stays light until almost midnight now and it's not the same. I loved the enveloping night camping down south and in the midwest. When I was little it felt like such an adventure to be staying outside after dark. To sleep in the moonlight. Nothin' doin' up here unless you're willing to camp in the winter and snow. I don't mind winter camping, in the south when it gets to maybe 20 degrees at night in most areas. Up here is another story. This photo, though. Look at that coffee pot! We actually are bringing one almost just like it, a back-up french press one. We go through a lot of coffee when we camp (and when we don't). I love the lady's orthopedic shoes, too. 
Vintage Camp COOK BOOK outdoors and camping cookbook1974
Thanks, Girly Q. 
Etsy sellers have some wonderful vintage camping ephemera (of course they do!), and I found this cookbook on Girly Q Vintage's shop. Looks like the lady in the kerchief is cooking up some beans or something, but the cookbook also guides you in "cooking game birds" and "cooking for survival". I have a vision of the lady in the kerchief frenetically cooking Dutch oven meal after Dutch oven meal for the man in the insert - because he is holding her hostage. That's what comes to my mind when I see "cooking for survival." I have seen too many Lifetime movies. 

Thank you Vintage Warehouse 
Another etsy print, the above from Vintage Warehouse makes me happy in about thirty kinds of ways. The lady doing the pouring's shoes. The gentleman with the plate's hat. The Model T. Whether it's a campout or picnic or a combo of both I want to be there. Look at that jug of milk. They're moving along and happy and young and wearing good clothes in the grass. 
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Campground Amusement Parks
Thank you, (you can buy the postcard by clicking on the link)
Let me start this out by saying that my mother and father were given an identical picnic basket as a wedding gift. We used to take it camping and picnicing. My mom gave it to me years ago and I used that beautiful thing, and then we moved to Alaska and couldn't ship it so I sold it to a friend at a garage sale. And now I see that sweet basket and I feel like crying - for my lost youth and for my lost picnic basket. But, hey Boo Boo! It's a Yogi Bear Campground postcard! I love the cart, the kids, the guy in the Yogi suit! If you aren't aware, the Yogi Bear Campgrounds (called Camp Jellystone - just like the cartoon!) provide safe camping, activities, and nostalgia. They are oh so still around and I just found out that there is one in Gatlinburg. I was not aware of this when we lived in Knoxville! Another reason I'm glad to be moving back home! Majestic scenery and wildlife is one thing, miniature golf and a Yogi Bear golf cart is another. 

Was going to wrap this up nicely, with a little bow even, but am now so full of ideas and plans and excitement for our trip tomorrow to Clam Gulch (no Jellystone Gatlinburg, as you can see below, but it will do - and yes I am implying a wink), that I'm just going to sign off. So goodnight!
"Feathered Sea Foam, Clam Gulch, Alaska, from the Monolith Series" by Hal Gage is the award for this year's Mayor's Arts Awards.
Photo by Hal Gage

Hope you have a majestic, campy Memorial Day. xoxo

PS! This, and this and this and this and this and this.
 Good night!
Oh, and this. 

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