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Cliff Jacobson Boyscouts

Dear Reader:


Here's how I became addicted to the wild outdoors:


I discovered the joys of camping at the age of 12 in a rustic Scout camp set deep in the Michigan woods. It was 1952, just before the dawn of nylon tents and synthetic clothes. Aluminum canoes were hot off the Grumman forms, though I’d never seen one. Deep down, I believed they’d never replace the glorious wood-ribbed Old Towns and Thompsons.


Like most kids my age, I had little money for outdoor gear. What I earned by picking pop bottles off the roadway went for a secondhand bike or a Randolph Scott movie. My camping outfit was carefully assembled from a ragtag assortment of military surplus and Salvation Army store items. I knew only one kid who had equipment that was new.

One Christmas Dad gave me an all-steel Scout hand axe, which came complete with tooled leather sheath and varnished wood scales. For 20 years thereafter I proudly carried it on all my backwoods trips. It was my edge for making fires on a rainy day.

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