The one (and only) time Holly was a fierce camper…

Once upon a summer in 1988 there were two camp counselors in Kansas…

Laura (left) was the camp’s horse wrangler. Holly (right) taught water skiing and sailing. Despite the fact that Laura didn’t ski or sail and Holly was allergic to horses the two found common ground.

The common ground was that they both dated the same boy at the same time. But I will save that story for another time. Let’s just say that they were really good friends despite the obstacles.

When you are 18 years old and good friends, separation is not an option. So after camp concluded, Laura joined Holly on her family’s vacation in Oregon. Holly’s family was vacationing at a relative’s A-frame cabin that sat above a glacier-fed lake (brrrrrr…).

Now Laura and Holly were fierce campers. They had just survived the entire summer living in camp cabins without air conditioning. This whole family vacation thing was very tame.

They decided about 1 hour before sunset that they should have a backpacking adventure up the steep hill behind the A-frame cabin. Let’s get packed!

Holly’s dad helped them pack. Thanks Holly’s dad!

Let’s go!

Oh wait…they forgot some essential items.

Let’s go!

Oh wait!

A deeply concerned and caring relative of Holly’s insisted that they take some items for their backpacking protection.

Holly and Laura tried to insist they were fierce campers and didn’t take the backpacking protection items, but the deeply concerned and caring relative insisted. And since the deeply concerned and caring relative owned the A-frame cabin his vote ruled.

The cow bell was to ring if they were in peril. The huge scary knife…well, the girls really didn’t want to know what the huge scary knife was for.

Let’s go!

Why do the girls look so dark climbing the steep hill behind the A-frame cabin? Oh, it took approximately one hour to get packed so darkness is approaching.

The steep hill is very steep.

The very definition of steep hill implies that there are no camping-friendly flat spots to make a campsite. The very definition of steep was right.

The fierce campers think, “We aren’t in Kansas anymore“.

The fierce campers also think they better find a place to camp ASAP because it is almost pitch black.

Look for it.

Look for it.

Yeah! A small flat area of about 2 feet width is spotted.

The fierce campers think that they can use the two foot wide flat area to set up their sleeping bags as if they were in a recliner chair. No roughing it here!

The fierce campers were patting themselves on the back and admiring their handy fierce camping skills when darkness fell.

Deep darkness.

The deep darkness was only interrupted by the crashing.

Loud crashing.

Who doesn’t enjoy deep darkness interrupted by loud crashing?

Oh, that would be the girls, the fierce campers.

After awhile they settled into the deep darkness…

interrupted by loud crashing rhythm.

The fierce campers decided that due to deep pride involving fierce camping skills, neither would ring the cow bell or wield the huge scary knife. They had fierce camper pride.

After this decision they ate all the Oreos and drank all the milk in the deep darkness interrupted by loud crashing. With tummies full of milk and cookies they went to sleep.

They were awaken by their simultaneous screams. They retold their simultaneous dreams.

They spent the rest of the night awake huddled in the deep darkness listening to the interruption of loud crashing while simultaneously clutching the cow bell and the huge scary knife.

As the sun rose, the not sofierce campers gathered up their fierce camper campsite. They then noticed that the flat spot they had chosen continued up (and down) the mountain like a trail.

A deer trail.

And to this day the deer of the steep hill behind the A-frame cabin on the glacier-fed lake (brrrr…) tell the tale of the night when the deep darkness was interrupted by the screaming of fierce campers.


  1. i looooved this story. 🙂 thanks.

  2. Beth (A Mom's Life) says:

    Chuckle! Another great story but seeing the pictures make me really, really miss my big 80’s hair.

    Do you think spiral perms and big bangs will ever be back in style? Because I really rocked the 80’s hair!

  3. Hilarious! I’m so glad that my summer working at a camp didn’t give me any brilliant ideas to take those “skills” to a real camping experience. I’m sure my story would have been similar to yours! 🙂

  4. You fierce camper you 🙂
    Like Beth, I just can’t get over the hair. I wanted hair like that in the ’80s so bad; I had perm after perm and…nothing.

  5. This is hilarious!!!! I think you should get this published in a chapbook!!

  6. Happy Campers says:

    Oh my gosh. Those pictures are priceless!!!!! And you had some awesome 80s hair! 🙂

  7. That is too funny. You two are lucky you didn’t slide down the hill in the middle of the night.

  8. I would’ve been screaming too. I want to hear the story of dating the same boy at the same time.

  9. LOL!!!

    LOVE the story. LOVE the drawings! Love the pics… LOVE the 80’s hair and clothes. lol

    🙂 as always you have my LOL here!!!

    have a good day!!

  10. Jenn @ Juggling Life says:

    You need to submit this story to so when a skeptical deer looks it up he/she’ll know it really happened!

  11. Threeundertwo says:

    The hair! OMG!

    My money was on sliding all the way down the hill. What a great story.

  12. spinning in our own direction says:

    HA HA LOVE teh BIG Texas type hair.. HA HA.. I had hte exact same hair doo.. OH %$&(*#( I think I still do.. gotta go.. I think I need ot find a gay guy to do something with this mop.. EKKK

  13. Queen Mommy says:

    Love it! More importantly I LOVE the hair dos of the fierce campers.

  14. EatPlayLove says:

    Great, great story, the line about can’t being separated from your best friend at 18 is just so true. And, of course the hair takes me right back.

  15. I LOVE Holly’s Animated Life! I have a ridiculously silly grin when I begin the story and it grows to a hideous laughter by the end.

    I’m wondering about the hair, though. That’s not fierce camping hair. I’m thinking something should have been stuck in it. Like pine needles from the previously not pictured pine trees. Or honestly, the hair was “out on the town” hair, and I’m surprised you didn’t wind up with a date. With a deer. Or a bear.

  16. Too funnny. I used to love camping but now the idea of picking rocks out of my kids mouths all weekend does not sound like any fun at all.

  17. Oh, how funny! Oreos and milk were comforting but booze would have worked better.

  18. On a limb with Claudia says:

    Love the hair! Yes, civilization is totally over rated. With your camping skills you are lucky you didn’t lose an arm or go “into the wild”. Well almost…. 😉

    Do you camp now?

  19. Christine says:

    I hate camping. I much prefer room service.

    How’s the coccyx? I bruised mine weeks ago and it still hurts sometimes.

  20. standing still says:

    Ah camping … something I too enjoyed before I learned what 5-star resort meant.

  21. Jennifer H says:

    Love the hair! I’m totally digging the Hello Kitty sleeping bag, too.

    I’m impressed the you managed to tie the tarp to the trees. You guys were super-fierce.

    This was hilarious!

  22. Soliloquy says:

    Major flashbacks….. I think it was the hair.

    You are too much, girl. Where did you get that BRAIN?!

  23. The HAIR! The outdoorsy fierceness! Awesome.

    The ONE TIME I went camping as an adult, I got a tick bite and became the FIRST PERSON in my area to get Lyme disease. My husband wants to go camping again this summer. Oh boy! Maybe I’ll get eaten by a bear!

  24. This may be your best marker drawing post EVER! Fierce campers indeed. Perhaps the Fierce Deer won out?

  25. i too love the hairdo’s and encourage you to strengthen your already apparent art skills to include big hair. 🙂 Maybe not. could look like a helmet. Never mind…

    Poor Deer. Their children probably grow up terrified with the tales.

  26. Manic Mommy says:

    Can barely get past the hair. I’m waiting for a come-back myself.

    My money was on a sudden torrential downpour sweeping you down the steep hill, Hello Kitty sleeping bag and all.

  27. A Mom Two Boys says:

    Dude…that was some BIG hair.

  28. Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart says:

    That is too funny. It sounds like a few of my high school camping memories.

  29. the planet of janet says:

    wow. you are TOTALLY fierce!

    and how considerate of you to provide the deer equivalent of blog fodder.

  30. that was great! i especially loved the pictures to go along with the story. that just makes it!

  31. As always your animated tales are the best EVER! *G* This sounds like something I would’ve done!! *G*

  32. Ranch Mommy says:

    Sounds like Wallowa Lake….HMMMM

    Love the hair!! and the tale of friendship. : )

  33. I would’ve killed for hair like that! 3 perms later…..nothin’ 🙁

    LOVE this story, and those drawings have me giggling 🙂

  34. i remember that hair! did you really have a hello kitty sleeping bag? because i want it.

  35. HYSTERICAL!!! I just love your drawings and this story was toooooooo funny! I love the little sleeping bag picture – ACK!! Thanks for the laugh, Holly – very funny!

    See you soon – Kellan

  36. I LOVE that everyone LOVES the hair! Yet no one was concerned about the poor deer crashing into your makeshift tent. At least I am assuming that is what the crashing was.

    Personally, I LOVED the cowbell more than the hair. But I’m a dude, so take it for what that is worth. 🙂

  37. Ranch Mommy says:

    I spent a lot of time at that same Lake when I was a kid too. I jumped in to the water off of a boat in the middle of the lake once and thought for sure I would get hypothermia. Fun story, especially since I know the lake and boy the mountains are steep. What a small world!!

  38. Don Mills Diva says:

    I love love love your animated posts! You guys were adorable!

  39. Bwahahahahahah!!! Ok which one of you had the Hello Kitty sleeping bag????

  40. I can’t get past the hair! I so remember those days! So much more style back then compared to nowadays straight hair styles. Perms need to make a comeback, lol!

  41. Jerseygirl89 says:

    At least you had fierce hair!

    That is a great story – and the illustrations were fantastic as usual.

  42. Nanny Goats In Panties says:

    I LOVED this! I am so telling all my friends about this story, and heyyyyy, how can you leave us hanging like that? I wanna know about how the the two girls were seeing the same boy at the same time!

    – Margaret

  43. Pony Girl says:

    Goodness, this was so clever and fun. I have some photos that resemble those a lot….we must be around the same age!?

  44. I can’t believe you told that whole story and didn’t mention your fabulous hair.

  45. AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC says:

    I love the 80s hair! LOVE it. Body waves! Totally rad. And, yet another way the name’s the same. I hate to camp.

  46. Greta/Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat? says:

    Guffaw! Love the hair, of course. But never estimate the power of the 80’s striped shorts!

  47. Ok, Where Was I? says:

    OMG, was this good. I had to instantly add you to my reader. And I DO hear how pretentious that sounds: like it’s an award I bestow upon you.

    That is exactly the hair I tried so hard to get. But I just couldn’t. And I had two older girl cousins to remind me all the time.

    Thanks for the laughs. Hey, that sounds like I’m signing your yearbook. Stay sweet!

  48. Well Behaved Krissy says:

    I want to do drawings! Oh me! Pick ME!

  49. I always love your animation, but I LOVED seeing the pics of you and Laura. And, of course, I loved your hair — I had the same ‘do!

  50. Kendrawolf says:

    Great HAIR…I love the drawings!

  51. I always love your animated entries.

    Fun story and nice hair!

  52. We are THAT Family says:

    That was AWESOME. Great hair and artistry! Thanks for linking up!

  53. Muthering Heights says:

    LOL, great story, I loved the illustrations!

  54. I’m very impressed you never wrang the cow bell. I would have been tearing down the hill blindly running for the cabin.

  55. Wow, you were much braver than I back in the day.

    I love the story and the illustrations are priceless!!

  56. This was a great tale, with great details, and fabulous 80’s hair!

  57. Look at you doing a two for. 🙂

    I think we need to see a Fro me to you, of Holly as a kid, drawn in markers. :o)

  58. jamie in rose cottage says:

    That just wouldn’t have been nearly as good without all the drawings. 🙂
    Thanks for the smile!

  59. I love your animated stories!!! AND…I’m from Kansas, and I love FIERCE camping!

  60. holly, you crack me up.
    Love this. StumbledUpon it. Absolutely fabulous. The drawings are great.

  61. LifeatTheCircus says:

    That is a great post! Have you been camping since? I posted on camping today too. Aha, camping… at least it makes for good blogging material!

  62. That’s so great!!! I especially love the illustrations (almost as much as the 80’s hair – ha ha!). I’ll be back!

  63. bunchofbull-ers! says:

    FUNNY! Loved the illustrations with the pictures….helped me ‘get it’. I need help like that at times!! Good read. I’ll be back ‘Fro sure! ;O)

  64. Your Pal Pinki says:

    Love your 1988 hairstyles. I had the same one! Your story cracked me up!!! I’m putting you on my blog roll. : )

  65. Tootsie Farklepants says:

    And here I thought the common ground were your perms.

  66. Ron Davison says:

    The cowbell was never properly explained as a device for protecting young women. It works like this. Cow bells, of course, attract herds of cattle. When they are summoned, they serve to distract natural predators who are unlikely to pass up on all the tasty beef for thin prey in sleeping bags. And the cattle work for young men as well. As they approach the sleeping beauties, evil intent in mind, they will be so distracted by the prospect of cow tipping on a steep hill that they’ll be no threat to the young women. Cow bells are largely underrated as a defensive device.

  67. Oh mah lordy. Too freakin’ funny! So, how long’s it been since you’ve camped period, oh fierce one? ;o)

  68. This is a FIERCE post. Showed up here due to wheedling, prodding and otherwise thinly-veiled threats from Sarah at OK, Where Was I? and it was SO worth the arduous click.

    Your illustrations and accompanying helps are masterful!

    — Laurie@ Foolery

  69. Yes, Sarah MADE me come here too, God love her, this was hilarious! She knows how to pick them doesn’t she? Congrats on your award…well deserved. I laughed my ass off!

    The drawings made the post…awesome! Didn’t we ALL have that hair LOL?

  70. Oh my god, I miss summers at Wallowa Lake so much.

    We had to sell the cabin down from yours some years back. My friends and I go back occasionally for vacation, but it’s just not the same.

    I can report that the lake is still as cold as when we were young and stupid. HA!

  71. Hilarious! All the funnier since I know you both. Remind me of the same guy part of the story. Has that post been written?

  72. Who was the boy??? 🙂 great story

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