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Moosilauke Weekly Letter Home 7-1-11

DSCN2524Dear Moosilauke Parent:

The first full week during summer 2011 has been spectacular. Here are the highlights:

Our first Monday was sunny and hot, perfect weather for trips and in-camp activities. A group of volunteer Senior A2s (14-year-olds) left before breakfast for a three-day adventure that culminated in summiting Mt. Washington. At 6,288 ft., Washington is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and north of the Carolinas. The first day the boys hiked up King’s Ravine to the summit of Mt. Adams summit and then down to Crag Camp (a rustic first-come, first-serve shelter) for a total of 6 miles with 30-pound packs. The next day they hiked from 7:30am to 7:30pm and in the process covered over 7 miles and summited Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington. That night they slept at the Hermit Lake shelter. The final day they hiked 2.5 miles out to the Pinkham Notch trailhead during which they spread out to get the feel for solo hiking. Tuesday also saw a group of volunteer Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) head off for a two day Presidential backpacking trip of their own. On the first day, the boys hiked the steep 3+ mile trail that leads directly to the Liberty Springs campsite. After setting up their tents on the platforms the boys relaxed around the campsite and ate two large meals. The next day the campers covered 3.5 miles along the ridge summiting Little Haystack, Lincoln and Lafayette in the process, and then powered down the Greenleaf trail back to their van. The morning also saw another group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) venture out on an all day bike to the Wentworth Waterhole and back. In the afternoon, along with all our regular activities, our fifteen-and–under Ultimate Frisbee team had their first contest. Evening activities included tubing, kickball, dodge ball, kick the can, football, tennis, and a ghost story from Port that took place at our log cabin out at the Point. The story centered on a bear that was caught in a trap and was made all the more intriguing by the fact that Port had an actual bear paw as a prop.

Before breakfast Tuesday a few campers and counselors inaugurated our distance swim club. These campers are hard core covering up to a mile before some campers are awake. Trips on Tuesday included all the Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) swimming and jumping off the rocks at Baker Cliffs (followed by ice cream at Fat Bob’s), and the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) heading to Hanover for a “fluff” trip entailing dinner and a movie. Even though the boys gave the movie (The Green Lantern) the thumbs down, they all had a great time. Competition on Tuesday included a ten-and-under soccer tournament, a twelve-and-under basketball tournament, and a thirteen-and-under baseball game. As is our practice with all competition, every boy who signed up for a team got ample playing time. One highlight from Tuesday was a fishing adventure for one of our campers. The boy, who was using one of our shorter “kid” rods, caught a huge bass that literally bent his rod in half. The boy got the bass up to the boat and half out of the water before it escaped. At the meal the camper exclaimed: “the fishes head was as big as a softball!” A highlight after lunch was the “trick of the day” that entailed one of our climbing staff doing one arm pull-ups off a beam in the dining hall. A highlight from the afternoon was the mile long race that took place. A camper and a counselor both finished in about 5:30! A highlight from the evening was the canoe class that the Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) took in preparation for their white water trip Thursday. Among other things the boys learned about eddies and currents, defensive swimming (with a paddle and the sideways roll that allows you to cut across the current), and how to empty a swamped canoe via a T rescue.

Wednesday, which was another sunny, beautiful day, saw two trips depart in the am. The first was a volunteer group heading to Rumney, NH, for a day of top-rope rock climbing. As I wrote previously, Rumney is one of the top climbing destinations in the East. It has over 40 mapped routes. Of course our campers, who are mostly beginners, spend their time on the easiest and safest routes. The second trip was a trail clearing adventure headed-up by Port. About 7 senior campers spent over 4 hours doing maintenance on the portion of the Cross Rivendell trail that Moosilauke “owns.” Competition on Wednesday included a ten-and-under hockey tournament and a twelve-and-under soccer tournament. In the woodshop on Wednesday all participating boys began making a wooden version of the “cow jumped over the moon.” At basketball, the Moose Madness one-on-one basketball tournament ladder was initiated that allows individual boys to compete for their age group championship. A highlight from the afternoon was a nature expedition that saw participating boys net many frogs, a few large crayfish, and even a fish by hand. Another nature adventure on Wednesday entailed a volunteer group of campers going on a mussel hunt in the shallow waters of our lake that resulted in the relocation of over 200 bi-valves. The trick of the day was a magical one that involved mind reading by Sabina and Bill.

Thursday also dawned sunny and warm. Just about every age group had at least one opportunity to play in intercamp competition as the elevens and fourteens played baseball and the fifteens played a basketball tournament. Trips on Thursday included a Senior B (thirteen-year-old) mountain bike adventure to the Waterhole and a Junior (eight, nine and ten-year-old) trip to the natural rockslides at Baker Cliffs. The most eagerly awaited trip on Thursday entailed a volunteer group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) leaving for a two day flat and white water canoe adventure. This trip, which we have been running for decades, was recently featured in the July 2011 Outside Magazine in the section titled “Best Trails: Best Canoe Trail”. Here is what they wrote: “One lake, two states, tons of wildlife, and 15 miles of rapids. And that’s just one day on the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which arcs across New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine. For a weekend sampler, put in at Umbagog Lake, the heart of the 25,650-acre Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, which straddles the Maine-New Hampshire line. Let the loons, bald eagles, and osprey overhead preoccupy you. But as you drift into the Androscoggin River, it’s time to reengage: the 17 river miles to Pontook Dam are full of class 1-111 rapids”. The most popular sign-up period in the afternoon was the Navy Seal boat ride with Port. For the uninitiated, these trips entail Port taking the boys in his zodiac to the wild parts of the lake where they look for dinosaur footprints, catch bull frogs, and get neck high in muck. And the two highlights from the evening were a pre-social dance class extravaganza, and a fishing expedition, which resulted in one boy catching a monster pickerel.

That’s all for now. In closing, a few reminders:
-Please do not send food, candy, PSP or GameBoy type games to campers.
-As per the Family Handbook, campers do not call home (with the exception of new campers during the 4 ½ week session who call once during the second week). Parents may call the Directors to check-in any time—with best times being between 10-12:00, 3-5:00, and 7-8:00.
-Saturday, July 23 is the departure day for 4 ½-week campers and Parents’ Day for 4 ½-and 7-week campers. Parents are invited to come to Camp from 9:30 to 4:00. Detailed information will be included in next week’s e-mail letter.
-Second session families should review the family handbook for arrival date and times.

Have a great summer!
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid

Posted in Weekly Letters Home