About the Show - 50 years of friendship is bound to lead to some good stories...
On the Trail with Gary & Mark
The Gary & Mark Show had its beginnings 48 years ago. The year was 1971 and Deliverance was being filmed about 50 miles away. An almost disastrous overnight camping trip where we were both cabin counselors in charge of six boys each was the catalyst of the friendship that has endured almost 50 years.
We were supposed to spend the night in a newly built backcountry cabin nestled in the 1,500 acres of woods about two miles from the summer camp. The mysterious “Back 40” was crisscrossed with a maze of jeep roads and footpaths and multiple intersections that looked just like the other intersections you’d encountered on our all-night walk in mostly rain because we never found the cabin.
We were headed somewhere we’d never been. I was 22 and Mark was 19 and we had to join together to stem off a near mutiny by twelve 12-year-olds. One of the kids said he knew the exact location of the cabin. We took him for his word.
That was when we started out. Later, when it turned dark and threatened to rain (it did, a bunch later!) he said he wasn’t so sure where it was after all. Mark took me at my word since I took the kid’s word since I was the experienced counselor (2 year veteran 1969-70) and he was the rookie. Words had been taken. And I was the WORD since I had experience. He trusted me.
It was a disaster. And Mark never held a grudge. How could I not be friends with this guy?
Well, the infamous Cabin Overnight morphed into a Tall Tale and the boys were the main characters. We got wet and lost out in the dark, no shelter, but with Hershey bars and marshmallows we had our Biblical “Manna from Heaven”- this camp never pushed a particular religion and I appreciated that - but I found this trip into the woods our Wandering in the Wilderness.
Fortunately it did not last 40 years. More like several hours and finally as we edged our way in the dark single file pooling our flashlight supply we stumbled into -Miracle of Miracles! (the Biblical references continue) - a fence line! Follow that blessed sumbitch downhill and you find yourself in the BBQ pit near the kitchen for the girls camp. Now the story begins to take on flavor of the Odyssey. Or do we remain Biblical. “Amazing Grace! We once were lost but now are found!”
And there are 160 girls close by! Twelve-year-old boys, remember? And by now it is almost sunrise and the mile walk back to the boys camp will allow about enough time for the boys to turn this night of inconvenience into an epic tale of struggle and also maybe enough time for a quick shower before the first breakfast bell.
The last stretch into camp - We Survived! Twelve boys proclaiming their bravery and endurance trying to best the other with a grandiose tall tale. Embracing hardship. What a lesson! Our walk to Beech Point 48 years ago taught us some lessons that still come in handy.
So here we are. Gary and Mark…on the trail. Who knows what we might encounter?
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Listen to our introductory podcast - Season One, Episode One