It is our pleasure to write this first weekly letter home from Moosilauke during summer 2013, our 109th season. As is our tradition, we post on our web site and send an electronic letter home each week to make sure parents know about all the activities, special events, and trips that make up the Moose Experience. You can view pictures from the summer (and even buy prints) by clicking here or by going to the “View Photos” link in the “In the Media” section of the moosilauke.wpengine.com web site. We do our best to post pictures every day (internet connection willing).
This year we will also be posting video vignettes. Our first one, a video diary of the Mt. Cube, can be viewed here or by posting this link into your browser: https://vimeo.com/69569015.
Although rain was forecast, opening day was dry, which was a blessing given that we had 140 campers arriving from 16 states and as far away as Paris, Venezuela, Barcelona, and London. The first afternoon was spent meeting counselors and bunkmates, unpacking, checking in with the nurses, and playing informal games of basketball, baseball, Frisbee, soccer, tetherball, Ping-Pong, giant chess and checkers, and volleyball. Before dinner we played our traditional camp-wide game of “Bill Says” in which almost all the campers and staff were “out” within about two minutes. Our formal orientation began at dinner with each table playing icebreaker games. The new campers enjoyed sitting next to their Camp Big Brothers. After our traditional first night “Moose” burger fest, our Head Counselor Preston Miller emceed a Moose trivia contest that had the kids howling but also imparted some valuable Moose facts. Then it was down to the fields for fun orientation games by age group. As is tradition, the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) spent the early part of the evening at Bill and Sabina’s house across the lake where they were treated to dessert and a discussion regarding trips and their leadership role at Camp. Then it was time for wacky counselor introductions by activity area. The intros included lacrosse shooting from the beach at a goalie and goal in a row boat, BLP hosting a tug of war, and soccer showing their mad skills while being bombarded with water balloons by the campers. After all these festivities it was then off to the cabins for our first bunk meetings and lights out procedures.
Friday breakfast was scrambled eggs, home fries, oatmeal, cold cereal, fruit, and yogurt. After the meal we had announcements about how to be safe when there is lightning and then an impromptu break dance by one of the campers. A rain drizzle in the morning was light enough so it did not keep us from holding all our morning periods, including intro swim tests. Noon free time saw campers go on a two mile run and take part in an open swim, while others relaxed on the beach. Lunch was a meatball sub fest along with a full salad bar and chicken noodle soup. Speaking of food, dinner was our first Friday night field barbecue that included grilled chicken, sausage, corn bread, corn, and pasta salad. Outdoor evening activities were cut short by rain so we headed up the hill for a choice of a musical jam session, an art contest, assorted board games, and a movie in the rec hall. Bill personally walked through every cabin at about 9:00 Friday night and was very pleased to see all the kids falling into the camp routine and also the overall level of camaraderie and friendship.
Saturday began on a noisy note as over 40 campers and staff took part in the first day of our early morning swim club, the Moosebears. Believe it or not, many of your kids voluntarily go for a swim at 7:45 every morning. And what a swim it is: along with a quick dip, they dance, chant and sing. A favorite moment during the opening session was the “whirlpool” in which the boys run in circles creating a powerful vortex that they then float in. After breakfast, we had our traditional announcement time that included a talk about competition and sportsmanship, and alerts about upcoming trips. The meal ended with Kenny updating the camp on baseball scores and a recent blockbuster basketball trade. After cabin clean-up (which was officially scored by the mythical Mrs. Hoovernose) we had a rain free morning of instructional classes. The intro trip for the summer was an Inter A (twelve-year-old) 10-mile round trip mountain biking adventure to the Wentworth Water Hole. After a lunch of chicken fingers, smiley fries, salad bar, and beef barley soup, the boys had rest hour. The afternoon was humming with sign-up activities, including ultimate Frisbee, waterskiing, windsurfing, kayaking, tennis, sailing, and fishing. And our fabulous Saturday ended with a pizza dinner and then movie night complete with homemade popcorn courtesy of the counselors in training (C.I.T.s).
Sunday started with a few intrepid campers and counselors fishing well before breakfast. Their efforts paid off: they caught a few bass in the 2-3 pound range. Thanks to Charlie S. the “bass whisperer” for getting the boys out at the break of day. Sunday was also our first “lazy morning” during which campers ate brunch at their leisure between 8:30 and 9:45. And what a brunch it was: homemade cinnamon buns, omelets to order, home fries, sausages, cereal, and oatmeal. All the new campers and a handful of returnees spent the day with Bill, Todd, and the Backcountry Leadership Staff climbing Mt. Cube. During the hike the boys learned many fun facts about Mt. Cube, including: its height—2,911 feet; that its original name was Mt. Cuba (possibly changed at the time of the Cuban Revolution?); that the original trail was created in 1900 by the Dartmouth Outing Club (the oldest college outing club in the country); that it is part of the Appalachian Trail; and most interestingly, that the visionary behind the Appalachian Trail was a man named Benton McKay who was a counselor at Camp Moosilauke in 1904. (Next time you are at Camp go to the dining hall and find the framed diary from Moosilauke’s 1904 session. In it you will find reference to Mr. McKay and his famous hiking group called the Tattered Ten.) In an impressive act of grit, about a half of Mt. Cube hikers opted to head back to Camp down the North trail which is 1.5 miles longer than the southern trail.
As referenced earlier, for a fun short video diary of the Mt. Cube hike post the following link into your browser: https://vimeo.com/69569015 or click here.
Boys staying on-campus had a free choice “Sunday Funday” afternoon. Dinner was a camper favorite: cabin-cookout, during which each cabin cooks hot dogs and hamburgers at their own cabin fire pit, followed by ice cream sundaes.
That’s all for now. We will write again within the week. Have a great summer!
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid