This is a photo of two guys inflating a pool toy to use on the lake.

Hugh and the "Mountain Kid" inflate pool toys for the girls to use on the lake.

We have some friends in Chester and their kids are rather amusing to us City-folk. We’re very amusing to these mountain kids who think we know nothing about living in the country. We said nothing to the contrary. Sometimes the best way that kids learn is by witnessing to a person’s experience. Our friends dropped their kids off at our campsite for a day and a night with their bikes and a friend in tow.

The firs thing these kids did was establish that they were “Mountain People” and we were “Flatlanders”. When they described themselves, they did this little hand routine where they pounded their chest and then punched the air with their fists. We busted up before they were through defining our mutual roles.

Urban Dictionary defines flatlanders for us: the term flatlander isn’t specific to any state. It’s a term that all mountain people use to describe tourist that don’t have the skills/knowledge to recreate in the mountains.

Sweetheart No.1 is about ten years old –we’ll call her Valentina. Spunky, she liked to hang around the action but didn’t want the boys bugging her and her friend. She showed up with a pink girls bike that needed some TLC. These kids use street bikes on country roads and go over pot holes, grassy fields, through creeks and runoff and anything that falls down a mountain. Valentina was telling me about all these cool stunts she can do on a bike and I asked her to show me. She announced that she couldn’t because the seat kept falling off, the handlebars were not staying in place and the front tire was wonky. I asked her why she didn’t ask someone to fix it for her and looked over at the guys. They shrugged with indifference.

Flipping down the backseat of my truck, I pulled out some tools and started tuning her bike. Then she went into action for us.

This is a photo of a girl balancing on her bike seat with one leg while sticking her other leg straight out the back while holding her handlebars.

Bike Stunt by 10 year old girl

Sweetheart No. 2 is a tad older, perhaps eleven –we’ll call her Blondie. She and her brother wouldn’t quit throwing barbs over at each other. It was very friendly fire and we laughed at all of it. She seemed more the intellectual type as she was looking forward to going back to school come September.

This is a photo of two girls on their bikes in Cool Springs Campground at Butt Lake Reservoir, Plumas County, CA.

Girls on Bikes at Cool Springs Campground, Butt Lake Res.

This is a photo of a teenage boy examining a box labeled River Rat Tube.

Bike Boy Examines A River Rat Tube

Blondie’s brother is your normal teenager of about 14 –we’ll call him The Bike Guy. He and his buddy, who we will call Mountain Kid were high on sugar the entire time we were around them. It was Mountain Kid that provided the most entertainment for us as he accused us of doing our hunting at Safeway. And he called us “Flatlanders”.

This is a photo of a young teenage boy in an American Flag t-shirt in a camp chair with a camoflauge baseball hat on.

American Mountain Kid

He wasn’t joking. Since he could carry a rifle, he has been hunting his meals with Dad and his Grandfather. His mom runs a garden in their backyard and they live off the land. He amused us with stories of hunting deer, boars, pheasants, fish, and wild turkey. He talked about his camouflage clothes, why you don’t want to shower with soap or use detergent to wash your clothes before hunting because the animals can smell it.  He talked of guns, bows, knives and traps and we listened like it was the last story hour of our lives. Mountain Kid was Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Tarzan, Daniel Boone and Rambo all rolled into one 15 year old package.

At campfire that night, Bike Boy’s dad placed a whoopie cushion that could be operated by remote control under someone’s camp seat. Without warning, it went off and everyone was laughing out of control and trying to figure out  who was responsible. Blame was being passed from kid to kid and when one of them revealed that it couldn’t have been Mountain Kid because “his smell gamey”. Well, our family went into total and complete hysterics at that one and it was a while before anyone could speak. He became legendary in that moment.

This is a photo of four sweethearts at camp.

Flatlanders and Mountain People

My sister, Frances, had the next best laugh. The girls wanted to get their share of the fun on the rope swing before they had to go home in the morning. It was about 4:30PM and the sun was headed over the hill. Temperatures were dropping. Frances asked the girls if they had a change of clothes with them since they didn’t have swimsuits. No, they didn’t but it was okay. Frances cautioned them that there wasn’t enough sunlight left to dry out and then they would be freezing cold later. They defied her thumping their chests with their fist saying, “We’re mountain people, we’re mountain people!” No, they knew better. Off they went and one of them lost a shoe. And they froze that night.

In the morning, Frances raised an eyebrow, handed them hot mugs of cocoa and said something along the lines of, “Guess we Flatlanders aren’t so stupid after all, huh?”

While I wasn’t there, I did hear reports back about how my brothers impressed the heck out of the boys with their skills, knowledge and abilities in the mountains. The girls had their own fun with us and I’m sure none of them Mountain People remembered us when they wrote their “What I did this summer” essay.

Stay tuned for more fun with youngsters!

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