July 8, 2014
It is our pleasure to send this second weekly letter home during summer 2014. Camp is off to an awesome start: we had a great run of weather before we got a little rain; our activity classes have been humming; our initial adventure trips have been fun for all; participation in our inter-camp competition has been high; we have had a number of special events; and the overall level of fun and camaraderie is exactly what you would expect. Summer the way it ought to be!
Monday was another beautiful day, perfect for our three initial wilderness adventures. A volunteer group of Senior A2s (14-year-olds) went on a three-day backpacking trip that culminated in summiting Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington. At 6,288 feet, Washington is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and north of the Carolinas. The first day the boys hiked 3.8 miles up the Lowes and Randolph trails to the Perch RMC Shelter where they spent the night. The second day they hiked about 7 miles and in the process they 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. Although the boys felt the trip was very challenging, to a person they were very proud of what they had accomplished.
Another group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) left Monday for a two day flat and white water canoe adventure. This trip, which we have been running for decades, was recently featured in 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 re-engage: the 17 river miles to Pontook Dam are full of class I – III rapids.” The group left before breakfast and drove the two plus hours to Errol, NH, and Lake Umbagog. Around 1:00 the group packed their dry bags, tents, and food into their boats and canoed for about two hours (about 7 miles) up the lake to their wilderness campsite. After setting up camp they ate a dinner of hamburgers and hot dogs before tucking into their tents and sleeping bags. The next day they paddled a total of 4 miles as they moved out of the lake and into the Androscoggin River. After portaging around the Errol damn they then ran an exciting stretch of class II rapids a number of times. The boys showed great skill—only one canoe capsized. After that it was a short drive to the world famous Jumping Bridge where the boys took turns plunging off a platform many feet in the air into a fun set of rapids. And then it was time for a quick dinner stop and the drive home.
Monday 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 a camp stove dinner of mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, and S’mores for dessert, they had a restful night in their tents. The next day the boys traversed 3.5 miles across the ridgeline summiting Little Haystack, Lincoln and Lafayette in the process. They then powered down the Greenleaf trail. The highlight of the trip was the ridgeline. The weather was fantastic, so the view of the four different mountains from the ridgeline was incredible!
Monday morning also saw a group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) venture out on an all day mountain bike trip to the Wentworth Waterhole and back. The final trip, and the most “fluffy” of them all, was the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) invading Hanover for dinner and a movie. Although the new Transformers movie got a big thumbs down from the group the boys loved the night out, especially the pizza dinner at EBA’s and popcorn at the movie.
Tuesday was another hot, beautiful day. Food for the Moose troops in camp included an egg McMuffin style breakfast, chicken sandwiches, French fries, clam chowder, and salad bar for lunch, and beef stir fry for dinner. Along with another group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) heading off on a day-long mountain biking adventure a major focus of the day was inter-camp competition. We hosted a thirteen-and-under soccer tournament and we went to a peer camp for a ten-and-under street hockey tournament. Speaking of soccer, there was much excitement about the USA World cup soccer match in the afternoon. After lunch the camp sang a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled banner that was immediately followed by brief snippets from the national anthems of France, Ireland, Canada, England, and Israel. The boys were thrilled with the special surprise in the afternoon that entailed a live streaming of the USA soccer game in the dining hall before dinner. Evening activities included fishing, Frisbee golf, tubing, open tennis and basketball, and volleyball.
Wednesday began hot and sunny, perfect for an early morning Moose Bears session in the lake. Bill joined the other 30 participants and was promptly treated to a very special “car wash” splash initiation. Waterfront was very popular in the morning given the beautiful weather. Our 5 stand-up paddle (Yolo) boards were in constant use, as were our windsurfers, sailboats, canoes, and kayaks. Trips on Wednesday included a day off for the CITs (counselors in training), which entailed an outing to Weir’s Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee and a voluntary mountain biking journey to Orford Beach for any Inter B (eleven-year-old) who wanted to take part. There was inter-camp competition scheduled for the elevens, twelves, and fifteens age groups in the afternoon, along with a Junior B and Junior A (eight-and nine-year-olds) trip to Baker Cliffs, but a rain shower caused us to postpone the proceedings. Instead, the boys stayed up the hill playing Ping-Pong and foosball, doing arts and crafts, playing cards and board games, and reading books. A special event Wednesday night was a Tall Tale session with master storyteller Port Miller.
Thursday was also very warm so at each meal the campers were reminded to use sunscreen and carry their water bottles with them. Thursday am saw our first rock climbing trip of the summer. We intended to go top roping at the crags at Rumney but we decided to head to an indoor wall given the wet rock from Wednesday’s rain. The Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) spent the afternoon jumping into the deep pools and rapids at Baker Cliffs. And of course they were treated to a monster size ice cream cone on the way home. Competition on Thursday included a ten-and-under baseball game and a fifteen-and-under lacrosse tournament.
One of the more enlightening activities on Thursday involved all the Counselors-in-Training taking part in a “True Colors” seminar run by a past Moose parent. As the True colors web site outlines, True Colors is a personality identification model that uses color identified personality traits to help teenagers better understand who they are and how they can have healthy relationships with those similar and different to themselves. After taking the assessment and learning about their own “colors” the boys were put in teams to work together in a manner in-synch with all their personalities. To a person the boys found the morning informative and fun.
Thursday was also made special by the fact that the founder and CEO of Playout spent the day working and playing with Moose campers. Playout is a new fitness concept that combines social play, competition, and card game type fun into a body weight workout. Eddie Kovel, the CEO, went to Moosilauke for six years before attending Emory. Eddie and his partner Caesar ran fun clinics with every age group in the morning that included exercises and relay races. In the afternoon they worked with the campers to create and run a one-of-a-kind obstacle course. To find out more about the company go to www.playoutthegame.com.
Friday started with a light drizzle but it did not dampen our special 4th of July celebration. It started with pre-breakfast fireworks. During the meal impromptu and rousing versions of the Star Spangled Banner and American Pie broke out. The post meal announcement time began with our “Trick of the Day” segment, which saw one boy wiggle his ears, and a counselor recite the alphabet backwards. Then it was time for an initial dance lesson in preparation for our “socials” during the evening. The boys learned both the Moosilauke Shuffle and The Running Man. During the morning we had two regular activity classes. In the afternoon the whole camp took part in a series of zany competitions. Crowd favorites included “Get Your Stuff Off My Lawn” and “Greased Watermelon.” For dinner we hosted the next door girls camp for a cookout. Then it was time for an outdoor dance for all on the basketball courts. And the highlight of the 4th was the fireworks extravaganza on the lake.
Saturday’s focus was the Baker Valley Athletic Tournament that involved Moose and two other camps playing competition all day long. Campers had the option to play on one of 5 age group teams in soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, and Ultimate Frisbee. No previous experience required! When/if boys were not playing on teams they had a free choice day. Some took advantage of the freedom by spending the day in or on the lake while others opted for a bike trip or wood shop and arts and crafts. And, a few campers even decided to spend time on the beach with a good book. Highlights from the evening included a pizza dinner and the option of a movie with homemade popcorn.
That’s it for the first ten days. Enjoy the summer!
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid