As if Nobody Else is Watching
Those truly were fun free-spirited times
It was a Friday afternoon and a group of us camp counselors had a four day weekend and decided to drive from the city up to a campground in the Adirondacks. The campground was located on the narrow part of the Hudson River, in Upstate New York. We were all excited to be getting out of the hot and steamy city in July.
We took a caravan up to the campground and drove the Northway up to the Warrensberg exit. The campground was a brief distance from the exit. We stopped at a market to pick up the foods and treats and smores ingredients and beers we would need for our camp out.
We arrived at dusk and set up our tents and got out our flashlights and sleeping bags and sweatshirts and all settled in, telling ghost stories, partying a bit and laughing so loud that the campground manager came and asked where we were from and to tone it down. Eventually we all got tired and called it a night. I recall loving lying in my warm sleeping bag listening to the peepers dosing off to sleep under a star filled sky.
The next morning there were a whole lot of eggs, bacon, chocolate chip cookies, coffee and milk being shared around the picnic table. The fire was crackling and we were all having a good time eating and joking and just enjoying our time together. We spent the day exploring nearby hikes and drove around the flower filled meadows beneath the majestic mountains. We returned to camp for a hearty meal and settled into the evening, not as rowdy as our night of arrival. One by one we went to our tents some solo and some as couples. We all said goodnight like in the Waltons and slept peacefully and owls were heard and the fresh mountain air was an aphrodisiac.
The next day was overcast and we decided to sit around the fire and play cards at the picnic table. We played gin rummy and other card games we knew how to play, and we were having good old fashioned fun. We played for a longtime before somebody in the group challenged us to play strip poker! Well this was the 1970’s so this made perfect sense and without further thought we started to play the game and slowly disrobe. It wasn’t sexual it was just for daring laughs.
The deal was that whoever was naked first had to run naked into the icy cold river. We all felt safe as our site was far apart from other campers, and the game began. Eventually two of us had disrobed fully and romped into the very cold river for a brief dip, and when we got out of the river our friends greeted us with towels and our discarded clothing. All of a sudden someone saw motion across the narrow river and there were about 10 or so golfers waving their golf clubs at us. We were mortified as our private game was witnessed by these strangers but we all had a good laugh and dried off and put our clothes back on.
Later on in the evening the campground manager came to our site and said something like “heard you guys had some card game going on today”. We all enjoyed a good laugh together.
We learned that you’re really never all alone even in a remote locale as you never know who could be watching you. I am writing this story forty years later and yes, I was the first one in the river that day, and boy was it cold!