Somewhere in Brookfield, in a spot lost to memory, exists the “Dog Leg”, so named by Smokey Elmer because of its location just beyond a sharp bend in the road. The Big M.L. (an affectionate nickname referencing Smokey’s first and middle names, Malcolm LeRoy) used to hunt there and he saw fit to take the Troop there on many weekend campouts, always during the winter. Always.
And we never were fortunate enough to camp there during tolerable winter conditions: it always seemed to be storming and the mercury invariably dipped to single digits or below.
The Dog Leg is not particularly scenic: it is all on state land and tall pines predominate. There is also a fine little spring which never freezes.
We probably last camped there in the mid-90’s. Once, while I was settled for the night in one of our old Voyageur canvass tents, I heard what sounded like a beast howling through the woods. The sound would get louder, then fade until finally the great beast was upon us! It was the town snowplow traveling the steep and windy roads near our camp. When the driver came around the “Dog Leg” he came to a screeching halt; he wasn’t expecting to see our cars parked on the side of the narrow road.
I heard him mutter, “Damn Boy Scouts”, he backed up a bit then continued his travels.
I remember we had zitis for dinner at the Dog Leg about 1989; you haven’t lived ’til you’ve eaten Tr 14 zitis when the mercury is pegged just a bit above zero. Anyhow, the experience was too much for one of our younger scouts (who went on to become an Eagle Scout); he threw up in his tent, didn’t say anything ’til morning whereupon I observed a perfect formation of frozen ziti on the tent’s floor.
Maybe we’ll return to the Dog Leg one day. After all, kids today are just as tough as they were years ago, right?