Losing and Finding

I am not, historically, one who loses things, especially when I’m in the outdoors hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing. That changed when we joined Cub Scouts last year, though. On every big campout, I have left behind something major. The weird thing is that I’ve recovered — eventually — everything I’ve left behind.

At our first Cub Scouts campount (Fall Cub Adventure 2009), we left behind our camp chairs. Luckily, someone grabbed them, and I got them back a couple of weeks later. At last summer’s Withrow Springs State Park campout, I again left the chairs behind. I managed to get them back, though they were picked up by two different people, and it took me a while to finally get the second one back (totally my fault, though).

More importantly, I “lost” the pocketknife (a Benchmade Mini Griptillian with a combo blade) I’d carried for the last four or five years. I looked through all my camping gear at least three times, but it never turned up. I kept putting off replacing it, thinking it would turn up eventually. About three days before the next camping trip, I finally broke down and bought another knife, a nearly identical Mini Griptillian (this time with the plain edge). At the campout (Fall Family Camp 2010), I was setting up my tent when I saw there was something in the inside tent pocket: my pocket knife! (There was also a headlamp I didn’t realize I had lost, too.)

Well, the latest installment of the saga played out this morning. At this year’s Fall Cub Adventure, I lost my multi-tool (a Leatherman Wave). Again, I tore through all my camping gear and my truck — multiple times — but never found it. This morning, Daniel found it when looking for some YuGiOh cards in a bag we had taken to the campout. I remembered putting it in there as soon as he told me where he found it.

I need to get better organized with my stuff when camping. I know I need to take less stuff camping. I’ve been reading “Woodcraft and Camping” by George W. “Nessmuk” Sears recently. He was an early advocate for carrying less gear when camping, and I think it’s sinking in a little bit, especially after losing those two important tools recently.

Nessmuk had a great many insightful things to say in that slim volume (and I’ll be writing about more of them in the days and weeks ahead), but this one really hits home with me and some changes I’ve been making lately:

We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed—with the necessity always present of being on time and up to our work; of providing for the dependent ones; of keeping up, catching up, or getting left.

More to come. It’s good to be back.