Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 16, 2012

Old tent, old memories

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:16 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

1964 VW Microbus and our 8-man tent took us to every adventure we had as children.

Thinking back over my childhood, the gifts my parents gave their children were good ones: mandatory Saturday chores, a one-hour limit on TV, eating what was put on our plates, having to apologize when we were unkind. One that is more easily overlooked, though, was Mom’s sacrifice of going on camping trips when she would have preferred comfort. She never let on that cooking for eight on a Coleman stove was not fun or easy, or that sleeping in a musty blue canvas tent on blow-up air mattresses was anything less than delightful. We children, of course, thought these were the best adventures imaginable.

Dad and Mom made a good pair. Dad created every itinerary and saw to it that all our equipment was in working order. He and my brothers always loaded the car. Mom was mistress of the kitchen and of each person’s “stuff.” She knew where the pancake griddle, raisins, or Dramamine resided. And, no matter how young, each child was responsible for his or her own sleeping bag and air mattress.

To this day, six out of six of us kids love camping. My brothers find winter camping (in Minnesota!) delightful. One sister just finished nine days camping in Oman, experiencing marvels never to be forgotten, and the other sister camps whenever she can. Me? I live and work in the wilderness and can’t imagine life without my little REI tent.

And for Beatrice, the long-suffering? All our trips laid the groundwork for Mom to see the wonders of travel — inspiring adventures which have enriched my parents’ lives through eight decades. Their passports sport over one hundred country stamps. While most were visited without a tent, I gratefully tip my flat hat to that old blue one that started it all.


  1. Wow, does that bring back memories..thank you sis..and you said every word right on!!!! Dale’s and my first tent together was green..We plan on making use of the new tent this Summer when we can. Do you have any more family camping pictures? That would be fun to see..

    Comment by Chris — April 16, 2012 @ 8:07 am | Reply

    • Due to my internet connection, the photos Dad sent were having a hard time loading. I’m going to try an album next time I’m in Moab where the signal is strong. Old photos are the best!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 16, 2012 @ 8:38 am | Reply

  2. Well, this one brought a tear to my eye. Thanks for bringing us along on the trip back in time. And God bless your mother…

    Comment by Ron Carroll — April 16, 2012 @ 8:13 am | Reply

    • Mothers are precious. I have a wonderful one.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 16, 2012 @ 8:41 am | Reply

  3. I remember the old Microbus struggling into the campground near Cloudcroft, N.M. It had a carburetor (no fuel injection) which meant the higher you went the richer the mixture. At well over 6000 ft elevation, we were trailing a long cloud of black smoke when we finally made it (in first gear). That old bus took us from coast to coast qnd border to border, but tended to burn out the #3 exhaust valve on long, hard trips. Great vehicle! .

    Comment by leroque — April 16, 2012 @ 8:27 am | Reply

    • I have so many memories of that old vehicle. We certainly got our money’s worth out of it. What a workhorse! But… the lack of seat belts… oy!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 16, 2012 @ 8:39 am | Reply

  4. those were the days……..

    Comment by john — April 16, 2012 @ 8:52 am | Reply

    • … the days of our lives, brother!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 16, 2012 @ 9:49 am | Reply

  5. A nice background to your personal history and part of what led you to the Ranger life. I loved reading it. Good memories.

    Comment by Mom — April 16, 2012 @ 9:41 am | Reply

    • Mom. You were the star. Did you get that?!?

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 16, 2012 @ 9:50 am | Reply

  6. I so enjoy each journal entry, Kathyrn. You make me reflect and smile each time.
    I too was brought up camping. I eagerly helped pack the car or truck and later the trailer. Nothing was better for me that helping set up camp and heading off to the woods to explore. I was totally free. My brother and I just had to report back at meal time and lend a hand. I have thanked my parents many times. They were very happy when I became a parent and took my girls camping. They too have many fond memories and both are campers who apprecitate nature and all its wonders.

    Comment by Deb — April 16, 2012 @ 9:53 am | Reply

    • This is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you for your comments.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 16, 2012 @ 9:58 am | Reply

  7. I still fondly remember my first down sleeping bag, a “Comfy Mt. Craig.”

    Comment by midsummerman — April 16, 2012 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

    • Wish I knew what it is about these early memories that makes them so strong. Is it kind of like a first kiss, or what?!? I remember our family’s early sleeping bags, too!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 16, 2012 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  8. My favorite memory concerning a tent deals with having four of us, sleeping in a two man tent. We all woke u in the middle of the night unable to move. once the laughter started it continued. Fun days in the forest!

    Comment by Pk — April 17, 2012 @ 9:21 am | Reply

    • I wondered what the carrying capacity of a two-man tent was; now I know!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 17, 2012 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: