Junior enjoys outdoor activities with family


Courtesy of Joe Appelbaum

Joe Appelbaum went on a fishing trip near Davisville. Appelbaum and his family like to go camping to enjoy the outdoors.

Clark Chamberlin, Staff Writer

Lying motionless on the cold, hard, wet ground surrounded by trees in the middle of a cool summer night, Junior Joseph Appelbaum has no idea what is going on outside of the bag he’s knocked out cold in. He has no phone, no food, no weapons, nothing to keep him going or to protect him. All around him are animals, some of which multitudes bigger than him, each one could strike at any moment. He’s completely oblivious as to what’s happening on the other side of the sack he’s snoring in.

Then he wakes up on the third day of his camping trip and eats fish from an aluminum can.

Appelbaum likes to go camping every year with his family in southeast Missouri.

“It’s a week of summer,” Appelbaum said, “where you’re not at home, you’re not out doing everything, and you’re relaxing, reconnecting with your family.”

Appelbaum is following in the footsteps of his father, who camped with his cousins every weekend. Applebaum now goes with his father to Davisville each summer to share in the experience of the outdoors.

“[I’ve been camping since I was] five or four, I guess,” Appelbaum said. “When my mother thought it was safe enough for us to go outside the house.”

He camps on a designated campground to prevent and avoid the downfalls of camping in a random spot in the wilderness.

“It’s not just you, it’s you plus the next person who wants to go pitch a tent in the middle of the woods. Who wants to litter on the ground who wants to start a campfire in the middle of the forest,” Appelbaum said. “You’re supposed to camp in a designated spot in a flat area with not much vegetation around so you don’t catch things on fire, and you’re next to a water source if you do.”

Appelbaum is confident in his ability to perpetuate his existence in a camping environment, even without canned fish.

“If I didn’t get something like mumps or measles or something like that where I get out of commission for days,” Appelbaum said. “I could live indefinitely off the land.”

He spends his day camping doing his favorite activities of fishing, swimming, and hiking.

“There’s always something you can do,” Appelbaum said. “But it’s a vacation. So you can sit around, and you can just entertain yourself.”

If faced with a bear or other animal that could pose a threat to him, Appelbaum knows how to escape without turning into a scene from Evil Dead.

“You never turn around, you never run off. You back off slowly. You make yourself bigger. You make human sounds, make sounds that animals are not going to make,” Appelbaum said. “And if you’re between a mama bear or any mama animal, it’s not gonna go well for you.”

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