The Cabin: Story Of A Pennsylvania Hunting Camp
In summer of 2009 my wife and I started kicking around the idea of having a cabin of our own in the woods of north central PA. It would be a hunting cabin and a place for family getaways. In the summer of 2010 our dream became reality. This ain’t Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s Cackle Grackle!
The Cabin: Our Pennsylvania Camp Story
We were at the beach in Chincoteague Island on our annual family beach week when we met Jim. While at the beach we stopped by to see our friends Brad and Deb at their island beach house. That’s where we met Jim and his wife Dorothy. Jim is Deb’s father. Deb knew I was an avid hunter and previously told me all about her father and how we were a lot alike. In the span of 10 minutes I found out that Jim had a cabin in Clinton County Pennsylvania and that he was considering selling it. I quickly tuned everyone else out. “It has white pine exterior siding, cedar walls, cherry cabinets, and yellow pine floors”, said Jim. He continued, “It sits on about 4 acres and it’s about a 5 minute hike to get into the state forest, but you can start hunting right out of the back door. It’s got electricity and a woodstove I made myself- and there’s an outhouse.” Jim explained how he built the place in his garage and hauled it up to Clinton County on a flatbed tractor trailer from York, PA for assembly. I was sold. I sat on the beach and imagined that cabin the entire time we were at the beach and my wife knew it.
“It has white pine exterior siding, cedar walls, cherry cabinets, and yellow pine floors”
First Visit To Our Pennsylvania Cabin
We quickly arranged a to meet Jim at the cabin for a looksee and on Labor day 2010, here’s what we saw:
Jim is a meticulous kind of guy and the place showed it. My wife and I were blown away at how nice it was and quickly agreed that this was “the place” and by October of that year, it was ours- our own little slice of heaven in the woods.
Pennsylvania Camp Names: Cackle Grackle?
Cabins are cabins but in PA there are “camps”. All cabins and camps in Pennsylvania have a name. That’s just the way it is. Camp names like “Buck-A-Day”, “Middlesex Gun Club”, “Paradise City”, “Indian Lick”, “Camp Nunya”- they can get pretty creative. The go-to resource for Pennsylvania camp names is the Hunting Camp Forum at huntingpa.com.
Cackle Grackle is code for “goodbye”. My grandfather coined the phrase when I was a toddler and every time after a visit instead of saying goodbye, he’d shout “cackle grackle!”. This catch phrase stuck for many years until I was a teen. My cell phone rang as my wife, the kids and I pulled out of the driveway from our exploratory visit to the cabin. It was my dad telling me that grandpa would not be around much longer and that I should prepare for that. I knew right then what we’d name our cabin. I came home and went right to work on carving the sign that would hang over the cabin’s front porch.
Annual Pennsylvania Camp Outings
We’ve spent many holidays at Cackle Grackle including Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and New Year’s Day. Our annual bear camp has become tradition and it’s my favorite vacation of the year.
We also hunt spring gobblers
and we fish for trout.
My buddy Chap and I make an annual summer visit to Cackle Grackle to hike the abundant trails that exist in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Future PA Hunting Camp Adventures
Truth be told there aren’t many deer up there, and the grouse population isn’t what I hoped for, and there aren’t a ton of squirrels to hunt either, but we make due. We’ve just about got things figured out and my brother and I agree that, if we set our minds to it, we could kill a decent buck at the cabin.
Stick around for more adventures at Cackle Grackle!