Thursday, September 3, 2009

Relaxation and Rejuvenation:

Camping in Placer County

Click on images for larger versions

Keep close to Nature's heart...break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
~John Muir

Recreational camping began in the 19th century as city bound people sought escape from the rush of daily life.

They traveled to wooded areas, lakes, and hot springs seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. In the early 20th century, motor camping became popular due to improved automobiles and roads; and the newsreel and newspaper accounts of the camping adventures of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.

By the 1950s, the postwar economy had boomed, launching a record number of Americans into the middle class. This created a sudden surplus of disposable income and leisure time wherein Americans flocked to campgrounds and resorts for family vacations in far greater numbers than ever before.

Camping describes a range of activities. To many it is a simple way of connecting with nature while vacationing.

It is a way to spend time in a relaxed atmosphere, away from city noise and modern amenities.
To others it is a way to recapture the past and reconnect with the simpler way of living.

One person who camped in many remote areas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains searching for the past was Wendell Robie.

He was a prominent Auburn businessman and an avid outdoorsman. He admired mountain men such as Caleb Greenwood and Jedediah Smith who traversed the mountains in the early to mid 19th century. In 1931, Wendell, along with five other men, journeyed from Auburn to Lake Tahoe on horseback to re-establish and mark portions of the Emigrant Trail that had been lost.

They explored and camped in the vast wilderness of the Sierra Nevada retracing the steps miners once took during the Gold Rush. The trail they re-discovered later became known as the Western States Heritage Trail.

Most of the artifacts on display in this exhibit, including the hunting and fishing licenses below, belonged to Wendell Robie and date between 1930 and 1950.

Even though camping equipment changed dramatically over the years, becoming more lightweight and compact, balancing the needs with what you can carry has been an issue for campers in the past as well as today.

Some made their own gear. The camp stove below, for example, was made by Benjamin H. Johnson in 1921 in North Dakota, for his family’s journey to California.

We’d like to hear about your camping adventure. While this exhibit was up, we had a log book for people to record a few notes about their last camping experience. Feel free to do the same in our comments section.

Click on the image below to see all the photos from this exhibit

1 comment:

  1. We recently camped from Vancouver Island, ferried to Prince Rupert and camped the Yukon and Northerd B.C. Took the Casicer Hwy, visited Stewart B,C, anf Hyder Alaska. An incredible road of glaciers and waterfalls the you can see from the top of the mountain! We saw bison, moose, sheep, goats and black bears.

    This summer I went to Philmont scout ranch in New Mexico. It was amazing. My crew and I went 70 miles in 10 days. We did brandind, we shot guns, we walked in a pitch black mine without lights, we went rock climbing and a bunch of other awesome activities. But the best part of the trip was coming home and getting a shower and sleeping in my own bed.

    I went to Yosemite. I saw my friends, I walked to the top of a waterfall.

    I went camping in Yosemite. It was beautiful the vwies were amazing.

    My first camping trip in the 1960's involved 2 army mummy bags & 2 Spanish candlesticks. It was dark & we couldn't find the campground so we found a nice place & set up. With candles glowing, it wasn't long before a police car arrived & told us we were in someone's front yard. He was NOT happy about the candles either.....