It is our pleasure to send this second weekly letter home during summer 2016 covering Sunday, June 26th through Saturday, July 2nd. Camp is off to an awesome start: we have had an abundance of sunshine; 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!
Sunday was another beautiful, sunny (and warm!) day at Moose. It was our first traditional “lazy Sunday” of the season, with a late buffet breakfast of eggs, sausage, assorted donuts, and our usual breakfast bar of yogurt, assorted fruits, and granola. The campers enjoyed lounging (resting, reading, playing cards, and just catching up with friends) by the beach and office, playing ping pong, chess and checkers on the field, and participating in some pickup basketball games and tennis matches. We then had a swim for all the the Juniors and Inters and then a cabin check in with the nurses. Many seniors joined in the morning dip as it was such a hot morning. Lunch was beef stew, garlic bread, full salad bar, and the camper favorite Boston Cream Pie for dessert. After lunch, two of our counselors did the first “tricks of the day.” One counselor juggled hot chocolate cups, while the other juggled a soccer ball. The dining hall had to depart for rest hour before they were done. Amazing! In the afternoon, there were sign-ups clinics in the different activity areas. The waterfront was the most popular spot given the weather, but all areas were buzzing with activity and fun. Sunday evening brought our traditional cabin cookout, with hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, chips, chocolate and regular milk, and S’mores for dessert.
Monday was again a sunny and warm day, perfect for our first wilderness overnights. We had four trips leave in the morning. 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 departed camp early at 7am and opted for a Dunkin Donuts breakfast so they could get on the trail as soon as possible. That day they hiked approximately 4 miles up the Lowes and Randolph trails and stayed at a log cabin for the evening where they made quesadillas for dinner. The second day they started hiking at 5:00am to avoid possible inclement weather. Their route took them on the Appalachian Trail to Mt. Jefferson and then they continued an additional 4 miles to the summit of Mt. Washington. One section of the trail required them to pass their packs up to one another. At the Mt. Washington summit they were rewarded with great views and a Hershey bar celebration. The group then dropped down to the Hermit Lake shelter where they lunched on Nutella sandwiches. Total mileage for the day was 8 miles. The tired campers were rewarded with a delicious dinner of cous cous and summer sausage before falling asleep at 7:00pm. The middle of the night brought a strong rain and wind storm, but they rode it out safely and comfortably in their Shelter. The final day they hiked 2.5 miles out to the Pinkham Notch trailhead, passing a beautiful waterfall along the way. They were rewarded with a pizza lunch on their way home to camp. Although the boys felt the trip was very challenging, they were very proud of what they had accomplished. Please look for photos of the trip on our website.
Another group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) left Monday for a two day flat and whitewater canoe adventure on Lake Umbagog and the Androscoggin River. 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 1:00pm, the group packed their dry bags, tents, and food into their boats and paddled for about two hours (about 7 miles) up the lake to their wilderness campsite. After setting up camp, they ate a dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, and steaks with S’mores for dessert. The boys fished, swam, and swamped their canoes in the afternoon and fished again at dusk. Over 30 fish were caught! Also in the evening, the boys sat around the campfire telling stories and listening to the beautiful chorus of loons on the lake. The next day, after a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and bagels, the group paddled a total of 4 miles as they moved out of the lake and into the Androscoggin River. After portaging around the Errol Dam they then ran an exciting stretch of class II rapids a number of times. The boys showed great skill—none of the canoes capsized! After that it was a short drive to the world famous Jumping Bridge where the boys unfortunately were not able to jump due to shallow waters. However, many opted to float around in that section and relax after a long day of paddling. On the way home to camp, the boys were treated to pizza at Enzo’s restaurant.
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 Liberty Springs trail to the Liberty Springs tent platforms. After a lunch of turkey and cheese sandwiches, the group summited Mt. Liberty. It was windy at the top, but the boys were proud of their accomplishment. After a dinner of rice, beans, and chicken, they had a restful night in their tents. The next day, after a very early breakfast (4:30am!) of oatmeal and hot cocoa, the boys traversed 3.5 miles across the ridgeline summiting Little Haystack, Lincoln and Lafayette in the process. Lunch was Nutella wraps. They then powered down the Greenleaf trail. The highlight of the trip was being above treeline on Mt. Liberty, a first for most. The boys enjoyed playing word games throughout their hike. Additionally, the weather was fantastic (despite a forecast of afternoon storms), so the view from the four different mountain summits 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 of the day, and the most “fluffy” of them all, was the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) invading Hanover for dinner (pizza at EBA’s) and a movie (the Independence Day sequel). Those not out on trips on Monday enjoyed a full day of activities.
Tuesday was another beautiful day. The rain forecasted held off until the late evening so we got all of our planned activities in. Food for the Moose troops in camp included croissants for breakfast, sloppy joes and homemade chicken and mushroom soup for lunch, and our traditional “Taco Tuesday” for dinner (with all of the fixings – rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa). Along with another group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) heading off on a day-long mountain biking adventure to the Water Hole, a focus for the day was the first inter-camp competition of the season. In the morning, Kenny spoke to the campers about the three scoreboards at Moose. The first is the actual score of the game. The second measures effort and sportsmanship. The third is all about having the best hair! Kenny also discussed that 1) there are no cuts at Moose so any boy can play on any age appropriate team regardless of their prior experience or skill-level in that sport, and 2) that each camper gets ample playing time. We hosted a thirteen-and-under soccer tournament and we went to a peer camp for a ten-and-under street hockeyfest. Evening activities included volleyball, flag football, hockey, fishing, tubing, frisbee golf, open tennis, and pick-up games in basketball.
Wednesday began with some clouds, but the sun quickly made its appearance. Campers were greeted with homemade muffins for breakfast, along with the usual cold and hot cereal and yogurt/fruit bar. Lunch was baked ziti, garlic bread, and a full salad bar. Dinner was the traditional sandwich night (giving our kitchen staff some much deserved time off). Trips on Wednesday included a day off for the CITs (counselors in training) and Junior Counselors. The Junior Counselors ventured to Hobo Hills (a trip they took as Juniors at Moose) where they played a competitive round of miniature golf. The next morning, one of the boys (who is a published author!) read a very funny note he wrote explaining his defeat and praising his cousin who won. The CITs did some shopping at Walmart and a local thrift store, lunched at Panera Bread, and lounged on the Dartmouth Green. The Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) enjoyed an afternoon jumping into the deep pools and rapids at Baker Cliffs, followed by an ice cream treat at Moose Scoops. A group of Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) biked to the Waterhole. There was an inter-camp soccer competition for the elevens, and baseball competitions for the twelves and fifteens. The rest of the camp had activities on land and in the water and enjoyed our delicious rainbow and chocolate chip cookies for snack.
Thursday the sun was back in full force so campers were reminded to use sunscreen and carry their water bottles with them. After breakfast our first climbing trip left for a day at an indoor wall. Another group of Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) ventured out on a bike trip to the Waterhole. Competition on Thursday included a ten-and-under baseball game, a thirteen-and-under tennis tournament, and a fifteen-and-under lacrosse tournament. A special Backcountry Leadership Program (BLP) event of the day was a scavenger hunt (co-organized by the Senior A1s, fifteen-year-olds). The menu for the day included pancakes for breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, and chicken stir fry for dinner with pudding for dessert. A special event Thursday night was a “tall tale” session with master storyteller Port Miller around a beautiful campfire at the Moosilauke beach.
Friday was another sunny, beautiful day. Some of the Senior Bs (fourteen-year-olds) ventured out on a cycling trip, rewarded with a treat at our local Shawnee’s General Store. The Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) enjoyed an afternoon at Baker Cliffs, followed by an ice cream cone at Moose Scoops. Competition on Friday included a 14s tennis tournament and a 12s basketball tournament. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns, and the yogurt/fruit bar. Lunch was beef sandwiches, with potato salad, and a full salad bar. After lunch one of of the campers was commended for staying balanced on our beach slackline for over two minutes. Dinner was the traditional Friday night “Kenny Cookout” with chicken, sausage, veggie burgers, pasta salad, corn bread, soda, and popsicles for dessert. Rain arrived just following dinner, so evening activities were indoors and included board games and Bingo in the dining hall and rec hall, and cabin chill time and a movie on senior hill.
Saturday brought more sunshine. Saturday’s focus was the Moose-Pemi Tournament Day that involved Moose competing in a variety of sports. Campers had the option to play on one of five age group teams in lacrosse, soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, and Ultimate Frisbee. On Sunday, when Bill asked the camp how many kids competed on teams Saturday in sports they don’t play at home over 40 campers raised their hands! On Saturday, we had three instructors from Water Monkeys (including a competitive wakeboarder and surfer) come to camp to give wakeboarding and wakesurfing lessons on their tournament quality boat. Saturday also saw the USTA tennis coach of the year in Southern California (and a colleague of Bill and Sabina’s at The Thacher School) bring a bevy of cool new tennis drills to camp. Breakfast on Saturday was bagels and lunch included chicken tenders and smiley fries. Saturday was also pizza and movie night at Moose. Todd and the CITs once again provided homemade popcorn for all of the movie viewers. One senior hill cabin enjoyed an outing at the Fairlee Drive-In theater, after winning cabin clean-up for the week.
And throughout the week the post meal time was enlivened by magic tricks from Todd and Bill. Todd did an illusion that included different campers secretly (and randomly) choosing a page, line and word from a book he held before he guessed the chosen word. After initially getting it wrong, Todd pulled a balloon from the rafters that when popped contained the correct word–written in Mandarin! Bill led the camp in a math trick in which a counselor chose a number in secret–and the chosen number was in a sealed envelope taped to the bottom of the counselor’s chair.
What a week: 22 individual inter-camp competitions, 5 bike trips, 2 overnight backpacking trips (5 days of backpacking!), one overnight canoe trip, and a climbing session!
That’s it for the second week. Enjoy the summer!
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid