Pandemic Furlough Campout

The Adventurer, Vernon Wade

Vernon was born in the Pacific Northwest and still lives in the shadow of Mt. Hood, near the small town where he grew up. Vernon has spent decades wandering the hills, hunting mushrooms, camping and riding motorcycles into the remotest nooks and crannies to be found in the region.


With fears of the contagion, business was slow. My employers decided to save some money by furloughing me Tuesday through Wednesday morning, so Walter and I took advantage of the relaxed travel restrictions to go camping. The Triumph loaded with gear, we headed into the woods. Mindful that The Contagion still rages, we camped by our lonesome, with no stops on the way up or back.



Walter and I arrived at New Chanty Camp about one in the afternoon.  I got the sidecar unpacked, lit the Biolite camp stove and put some rice on to cook while I put the canvas up.




I’d set up the tipi poles earlier in the month when my brother helped me move our seasonal mushroom camp deeper into the woods. I just needed to stretch the cover over them and peg it down, but it still can be a chore to get done without help. I tied the cover to the lifting pole which I butted against a spade hammered into the dirt to keep the pole from slipping as I raised it. I spread the canvas around the frame; standing on a log, I tied the cover together and laced up the front. I was able to fish the smoke flap poles into the holes at the corners of the flaps without too much trouble.


A rain squall blew through, threatening to soak my gear so I had to move it inside before I could peg down the cover. My rice was done about the time I finished getting the tipi up.  Sautéing fresh morels in olive oil with garlic, onions and vegetables only took a moment and I was ready to sit down to a cold beer and a meal of rice and mushrooms. This is camping!







After dinner I set up my bunk and got a fire started. It was getting dark; in my haste to feed tinder into the blossoming flame, I set my ferro rod down. I never saw it again. Note to self: Put tools away, not down. This seems to be a lesson I need to re-learn every so often.







It wasn’t cold, but it rained off and on all night and continued into Wednesday morning. Even with the rain, I had a pleasant stay at New Chanty Camp. I had to be at work by one o’clock, but I got the tipi down and the bike packed by ten, so there was plenty of time. Or there would have been if I hadn’t gotten the bike high centered on a root. I worked on it for an hour and a half before I finally got it free, using a tipi pole to lever it off. I made it to work with five minutes to spare.





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  1. Wayne

    Really cool filming, I especially like the tipi setup. Great vantage points, and seeing the rice cooking in the forefront is just quaint as hell.
    Your next career as a cinematographer beckons my friend. Stay safe, and give Walter a scritch from me.
    P.S – you heard it here first – no Fungal in the Jungle this year, for obvious reasons. Perhaps our socially distant paths will cross out in the woods hunting Chanties and boletes this Fall anyway.

    • Vernon Wade

      Thanks, Wayne. It was a fun trip. Sad news about Fungal in the Jungle, but I think you made the right decision. Stay well my friend.


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