July 12, 2014
Sunday, July 8th, was a typical Moose Sunday morning that included a brunch from 8:30-9:30 with omelets to order and homemade cinnamon buns. Campers and counselors were down from the hills earlier than usual because of a staff soccer game that pitted our USA counselors versus those from around the world. (And different from the World Cup, our USA team won.) The highlight of the afternoon was a camp-wide Capture the Flag contest. As always, the boys played with amazing enthusiasm. After the festivities the campers had a mandatory “scrub up” in the lake. Then it was time for a cabin cookout dinner where each cabin cooked their own hot dogs and hamburgers at their cabin fire pits. Desert for each cabin was camper made s’mores. Sunday night also saw the winners of the weekly cabin cleanup inspection venture to the world famous Fairlee Drive-In for an old time movie experience.
Monday, July 9th was a busy day on all fronts. The most anticipated trip was the Senior A1 (fifteen-year-old) three-day capstone backpacking adventure to the Mahoosuc Range. The boys began their trip at the Carlo Col trailhead and many hours and 6.3 miles later they set up their tents at the Full Goose campsite. The next day the boys hiked 5.1 miles, which included what many people call “the hardest mile on the Appalachian Trail.” Here is what Backpacker Magazine wrote about this amazing natural phenomenon: “Mahoosuc Notch is a glacier-carved gash winding through precipitous granite cliffs. For added drama, it’s filled halfway with immense blocks of schist cleaved from the walls above by countless freeze-and-thaw cycles. Tree roots snake through the clefts and crevices. Water gurgles somewhere beneath the boulders but is seldom seen. Even on blindingly sunny days, it remains a chilly, Gothic place hiding pockets of snow and ice. In the best conditions, the route is still so challenging that backpackers consider it a point of honor to keep their packs on while clambering up or shimmying under the gargantuan boulders. Be forewarned: The Notch is a graveyard of Nalgene bottles, trekking poles and anything else not securely stashed inside a pack. Rain covers, knuckles, and nerves often emerge a bit more ragged on the other side.” That night the boys camped at the Speck Pond tent platforms. At over 4000 feet Speck Pond is one of the highest bodies of water in Maine. The final day the group hiked 3.6 miles out to their waiting ride to a pizza emporium and then back to camp.
Monday also saw our third Senior B (thirteen-year-old) two day Mt. Lafayette backpacking adventure. This group was blessed with great weather, which allowed them to complete the full traverse across the ridgeline, peaking 4 summits in the process. Other trips on Monday included a Senior B (thirteen-year-old) volunteer mountain biking trip to the Wentworth Water Hole and an Inter B (eleven-year-old) extravaganza to the natural water slides at Baker Cliffs. The sole competition Monday, a fifteen’s tennis tournament, was cancelled due to a light drizzle. Other highlights from Monday included two campers completing their first kayak Eskimo rolls and two other boys celebrating their birthdays with cakes and singing.
The post breakfast announcement period on Tuesday was a good time for all. First off, a camper told a long and silly joke. Todd then initiated his “Brother, not Brother” segment where he had the camp vote on who looked more like brothers, two siblings or two other carefully selected campers. (You can guess who the camp voted for.) Bill then recounted a tale about counselor Charlie, who was a power-lifter in his younger days, called “Too Strong for Camp.” The story centered on Charlie taking a power boat out fishing on Monday and when he went to pull-start the outboard motor he yanked so hard he ripped the cord right out of the engine. When Charlie switched over to rowing the boat back to camp he proceeded to snap an oar and break an oarlock. The kids loved hearing about our own Paul Bunyon-esque figure. Bill closed the proceedings with a math contest that pitted the boys from Illinois versus the rest of the camp.
Tuesday was a perfect day for the annual rite of passage in which all the Inter As (twelve-year-olds) canoed twelve miles down the Connecticut River to Hanover. Although there was a head wind for most of the trip the boys completed the journey in a little under four hours. As is our practice, their hard work on the water was rewarded with an all you can eat pizza dinner and a movie with snacks. A group of Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) spent the day on a mountain biking trip while a cabin of Junior As (ten-year-olds) canoed to our Crooked Birch campsite where they cooked their dinner and slept in tents. Even with a downpour in the late evening the boys loved the trip. They were very proud to regale the whole camp after breakfast the next day with tales of how they t-rescued their water filled canoes. Competition on Tuesday included an eleven’s soccer and a thirteen’s lacrosse tournament. A highlight of the afternoon was a trail clearing adventure with Bill that involved seven boys. The group re-blazed and cleared the Moose Trail that snakes around the lake.
Wednesday was a big day for competition as the eleven’s tennis team, the twelve’s basketball team, and the fourteens’ soccer team all played in tournaments. In the am another volunteer group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) went on a volunteer mountain biking trip. Lunch Wednesday was the perennial favorite grilled cheese sandwiches with tater tots, tomato soup and a full salad bar. After lunch the hills (and dining hall) were alive with music as two of our Backcountry Leadership staff taught the whole camp to sing the song “Deep Inside My Heart” which they learned leading outdoor trips for Tufts University. The highlight of the evening (beyond Scott’s homemade mac-n-cheese for dinner) was a campfire on the beach during which Port regaled the boys with a telling of the tale of the White Ape.
Thursday two of our classic and most beloved trips left camp. At 7:30am a group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) ventured to Erroll, NH, to paddle Lake Umbagog and the Class II rapids on the Androscoggin River (described in detail in the previous letter home). Later in the morning all the Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) began a successful ascent of Mt. Moosilauke (all 4,802 feet), which culminated later in an evening spent in the bunkhouse at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. The structure, which is made out of massive native spruce trees, was originally built as a ski lodge in the 1930s, and is currently staffed by Dartmouth students. Thursday also saw another cabin of Junior Bs (eight- and nine-year-olds) cook dinner over an open fire and overnight at the log cabin at the Point. Competition on Thursday included an all ages archery meet and a fifteen’s dodge ball competition. Check out the pictures on our website to see our oldest boys in their most colorful dodge ball swag.
Friday was another busy day: twelve’s tennis, thirteen’s baseball, and fifteen’s soccer; a rock climbing trip to Rumney, NH; a Junior A and B (eight-, nine-, and ten-year-old) trip to Baker Cliffs; a dinner cookout on the field; and to cap it all off our annual counselor baseball game versus a peer camp.
That’s all for now. Please be in touch if you have questions.
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid