The Perfect Campsite

It Can’t Be Far Now

By Karlene Bayok Edwards

I can’t remember much about that week-long trip we took in 1983, other than the deer eating our soap.

It was just dusk, we were gathered around the fire roasting marshmallows, when suddenly four deer—two does and two yearlings­—edged so close we could almost touch them. Not moving, almost forgetting to blink, we watched until they disappeared into the aspen and pine surrounding our campsite.

While I don’t remember much about the camping, I do remember the hours my father searched for a very special campsite he remembered—a campsite so perfect that no other would do.

Our journey began Friday morning (not nearly as early as Dad wanted) when Mother, Dad, my husband, and I left Boise in a campervan, headed for the Payette National Forest. We climbed steadily, following the curves of the snowmelt-swollen Payette River, until abruptly the engine quit, leaving Dad with just enough power to find a wide spot in the road to pull over.

My father could do anything with wood, horses, and gardens, but knew little about engines. He didn’t even learn to drive until after the war, when he was thirty-three years old. On country roads, he drove as if on horseback, pointing the car in the general direction he wanted to go and correcting course only when necessary. Meanwhile, he watched for wildlife.

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