August Work Weekend
What is it like to own a camp

The thought occurred to me that someone might wonder what it is like to own a camp in the Big Cypress Swamp. Along with the fun of using it comes a lot of work. The following is a typical work week end at Camp Six Pack.

The trip this August 24th, was in the planning stages for a month or so. The four of us that have been going to camp on a regular basis,  had agreed to go,  Tony, Rich, Hoss and myself Steve. This is to be a two day work weekend, leaving Saturday morning and returning Sunday afternoon. Believe me, a trip like this in August, especially just an over night trip can be very tiring. The weeks leading up to the trip involved planning for and buying the supplies to be needed. We are in the middle of installing a new well for water and plumbing items need to be bought. The game feeder needs additional feed for it, along with a new battery to operate it. We also need to take to camp a new tree stand that was built and a lawnmower that was donated for camp. All these items along with food, ice, drinks and clothing make up our load to haul to camp. So the plan was made, we would meet another nearby camp owner at the Everglades Conservation and Sportsmen's  Club and travel out together to our camps.

 
Owl
(Has nothing to do with the story, I just like the picture)

Van before loading up
 

As with most plans, they never go as planned. Thursday night before our Saturday morning trip. Hoss has to drop out, a minor medical problem has sidelined him. So a last minute scramble to have Tony get the food instead of Hoss and the need for a vehicle change, for the trip, takes place. Now we have the work load of Four people to take care of with Three.

The Saturday morning start, begins with the alarm clock going off at 4 AM in the morning for Tony. He is going to drive his vehicle down, to first my house and then to the club. He had the night before, loaded eighty feet of 1 2" PVC pipe in his Four Runner. That along with a large water cooler, ice chest with drinks and food, a dry box with dry food and his clothes and miscellaneous items, makes for a full load. He is to arrive at my house at 5:30 AM, as is Rich. My van, loaded the night before, has a ten foot tree stand strapped to the roof. Inside is a lawnmower, a large roll of rope, three empty gas cans, tool box with everything need to fix a swamp buggy, two dry boxes, one with an electric drill, bits, air pump and the other with eighty pounds of deer feed. Add to this some old survey equipment and Rich's and my clothes and you have a full load. By 6 AM we are on the Road.

Our first stop is only a few miles away. The first open gas station with coffee and we stop. Five minutes later we are back on the road with coffee in hand. We have at least a hundred miles to go to get to the Conservation Club. So its south down the Florida Turnpike, then west and back south on the Sawgrass Expressway. That gets us half way and we pull into a Mc Donald's for breakfast. After a quick sausage biscuit and coffee, we drive next door and fill the vehicles and gas cans with gas. This is not the normal place we do this, but this trip it works out better, so we do. We now head south to I-75 and go west until we get to US 27. Now we are heading south and that will be our direction until we get to US 41, just west of Miami. We then head west 50 or so miles to the conservation club. We arrive about 9:30 AM and meet Bob, the other camp owner we will travel with. The next order of business is to transfer all the supplies from our street vehicles to our off road vehicles. Bob has already done this for himself and is ready to go. It takes us about 45 minutes to transfer the supplies and get the ORV's started and ready to go. While doing this another camp owner, Sharbono comes over and tells us a story about how the NPS had burned the roof off his generator shack and supposedly fixed it. I told him, I would go by his camp and see if they had fix it. So now it is about 10:15 AM or so and we are ready to go into the swamp.

Are you tired yet? we are just beginning.

 
Looking thru a thick Cypress Head
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Story by Steve, August 27th, 2002