Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Non-traditional campout rings in the new year

Snowy weather and the winter holidays provided some fun, and a chilly campout experience, for three Hermiston brothers in the final days of 1973.

The sons of Dr. and Mrs. Milton Johnson of Hermiston, including 19-year-old Jeff, Jerry, 15, and Joey, 12, spent three days in the family’s back yard building an igloo in the classic Eskimo fashion, including a tunnel for entrance and a door made out of a huge chunk of icy snow.

Inside the eight-foot-wide by four-foot-long igloo, the boys laid a carpet for a floor and lit candles for light and warmth. The ceiling, measure seven feet high in the center, was made of a few pieces of lumber covered liberally with snow.

Construction foreman was the family’s black cat, Kohoutek, named for the “comet of the century” that was due to pass by the earth in early 1974.
Igloo builders (from left) Jeff, Jerry and Joey Johnson of Hermiston show off their Eskimo-style hut in early 1974. (EO file photo)

Once the igloo was finished, on New Year’s Eve, the Johnson brothers decided to celebrate the holiday by camping out in the igloo overnight. Temperatures dropped to five degrees during the night, making it an event destined for the family scrapbook.

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