We learned a lot of information about nature long before the campers came. We learned how to orient ourselves in the woods if we got lost. We could name most of the trees in the forest and we knew the best use for them. The Sassafras Tree could be used to make tea.. Dried twigs made excellent tinder as did the needles from Pine trees. Seasoned Oak and Maple trees were good to cook with and make a campfire with. Cedar was wonderful to use when whittling, as was Chestnut wood. Tulip trees were in a class of their own with unusual blossoms. We used dead wood on the ground for cooking. We used live tree saplings to build leantos and roundtos, and other structures made of wood. We could make a fire by striking flint rocks together or matches..
Flowers covered the grass, roadside, and fields. The colors were vibrant and beautiful. The flower smells were heavenly. There were also bushes that flowered and produced fruit. Blueberries were abundant as well as blackberries. We learned fast about poison sumac and poison ivy and how to avoid them. My favorite wildflower was a Day Flower. It had three petals and was sky blue. I also liked the yellow color of the Goldenrod. There was a bog nearby that had all kinds of unusual plants like the Pitcher Plant. It was carnivorous towards insects. There was also the Venus Flytrap.
We hiked many trails, built a lot of campfires, and went on overnight vagabonds carrying packs on our backs and sometimes dragging equipment behind donkeys. We learned camp songs, had devotionals, and we learned the constellations at night huddled around a warm campfire.. We learned persistence, honesty, acceptance, and how to love others who were different. We all learned to cook for a group of ten people. We became stronger and more resourceful. Our hands became calloused and we learned to go on, as usual, in all kinds of weather. This was the best time of my life. There was always something new to experience with the senses and lots of knowledge to digest. There was a spirit of caring and giving. We were finally ready to meet the campers in our small camps. (Continued in Part Four.)