was hiking with friends up a rutted, washed-out logging
road in northern New Hampshire when we saw a curious
cabin through the trees. A faint footpath led toward the
camp, so we wandered over to get a closer look. Clearly
nobody had been up this path, nor on the overgrown
driveway, in perhaps a few years. And the cabin was –
well, unusual is an understatement.
The 1960s-era A-frame had a steep pitched roof, raised
porch on the front, and rough board-and-batten siding.
There was a hand-built look to it. A wooden sign above
the door read, “Smoke Pole Camp.”
The porch was adorned with antlers, rusty antique tools, and
jury-rigged lights connected to a couple old car batteries with a
tangle of wires. Our curiosity won out over caution as we crept
closer, looking for clues about long-ago or recent occupants.
The duff on the porch was further indication that the cabin
had not been occupied for quite some time. The place had an
enchanted, fairytale feel – like it belonged to an ogre, or a hermit
under the spell of a woodland wizard.
and the Legacy
of Henry Laramie
By David A. Van Wie
Henry Laramie’s cabin sat untouched for several years before the author stumbled upon it in the woods of northern New Hampshire and wondered
who it might have belonged to.
We climbed the rickety steps onto the
quaking porch to peer in the window. A
A few hundred yards down the road,
we met some local people who told us the
camp belonged to Henry Laramie, a local
legend who had worked as a moose and
bear biologist for the New Hampshire Fish
and Game Department for many years.
They mentioned that Henry had died
several years earlier, but they were not sure
if anyone was still using the camp.
I decided to do a little research when I
got home. It turns out that Henry Laramie
was born in Enfield, New Hampshire, in
1926 and earned a forestry and wildlife
degree at UNH. After a short stint as a tail
gunner in the Army Air Corps, he became
a biologist for the state, where he worked
for more than 30 years. Over his career he
became an influential national leader in the
advent of scientific wildlife management.
The more I learned about Henry, the
more interested I became. I was fortunate
to be able to meet with his youngest
daughter, Sally, who showed me old family
photos. And several former colleagues and
contemporaries were generous enough to
share some stories about Henry and his