During my stay in Frost Valley, there were a few times Stan and I would run into folks who ignored the No Trespassing signs and pulled off the road to park beside Clear Creek for a picnic or camp-out.
One night we were driving back from a meeting of the volunteer fire department in Claryville when Stan impressed me by noticing some bent grass beside the road. Sure enough, following the tracks just past the willows we came upon a car. We kindly let the occupants gather themselves before politely letting them know they’d have to move along.
Another night Stan brought the Scout to a screeching halt in front of the barn I was staying in. The urgency in his voice startled me and I jumped up when hearing he needed my help. The Scout kicked gravel as we sped to the caretaker’s house, where Stan ran in and got his sidearm, something I had no idea he had. Then we were off, speeding down the valley while he explained he’d come across a bunch of hippies camping on the property and there were lots of them and he needed my backup while controlling the situation.
We have to remember, this was 1969. The battle of Vietnam was being fought on the home front as well as in Asia. Lines were drawn between long haired hippies and decent society. Both had their fears of one another.
Well. Stan knew I was something of a hippy. Even though I had cut my hair short to avoid confrontation on the back roads of America, I was, after all, hitching about the country and not in the war.
I don’t remember much about that fast ride a few miles down the twisty road, but I do remember keeping a calm voice and trying to mellow the situation out—all the while hoping we did not run into a camp of armed jackasses demanding some claim to camping that the State of New York did not grant them.
We got to the little service road leading to the hippy’s hidden spot and turned in. The camp had been picked up and their vehicles were in the last stages of being packed. Perhaps thanks to my being there Stan was able to see there was no threat coming from these young people in clothes that harkened back to our great-grandparents.
Stan ended up apologizing for having to kick them off the land and then explained there were public camping spots up the valley, owned by New York State. By this time it was dark and Stan continued, “You might have trouble finding the turn off. Follow me. I’ll take you there.”
My heart sings to this day, thinking of Stan jumping the divide that separated our nation.
Shortly after the hippy incident, we were in the Scout checking out the property when Stan observed, “You know, Dean. I’ve noticed. Every time I have to kick out hippies they always clean everything up real good. I never have had to pick up one scrap of anything. But these damned middle-aged women. They seem to think they can leave crap all over the place and everyone else should clean up after them.“
I quit worrying about hippies getting hurt in Frost Valley.