Another favorite hike was out to “Chipmunk Mines,” heading in a different direction than “Devil’s Den.” We would have to cross cow pastures, go under barbed wire fences to get there. As I recall the old mine had shafts in the ground, where they mined for silver. In our time, there was only one opening in the woods leading to it. No buildings left, we just went there to play around and mostly climb trees. All of us carried a knapsack with some food to cook. Someone would have a hatchet attached to his hip. We always had a rock pit to make a fire in. When the fire got going we would toss in a couple of potatoes; as the potatoes were cooking, we’d cook our hot dogs and marshmallows. We’d then take a stick, roll out the potatoes that when done were covered with black ash — they looked like a piece of coal. With our knives, we’d cut them in half to expose the white potato. It was such a treat. When we finished we’d clean up and walk home.
We had so much fun going on those hikes. If there were pup up tents available, we would have spent the night. I know my own boys all did similar things. I often wonder, do kids of today still do these kinds of things? I know for sure, if today a boy were found with a knife, it would be considered dangerous. Just imagine if he went to school with one and was discovered, what alarm that would cause. It’s too bad how times have changed, for boys can’t be boys anymore!
Robert “Boots” Chouinard lives in Salisbury.