Hello to our Moosilauke Families!
Our weekly letters home–of which this is the third for summer 2016 covering Sunday, July 3 through Saturday, July 9th–are one avenue for you to stay in touch with what is happening at camp. Liking us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/
As veteran parents know, camper birthdays at Moose entail a big celebration. On the appointed day the camper comes to the middle of the dining hall where he chooses counselors and campers to join hands and dance while the whole camp sings “Happy Birthday.” He is then presented with a homemade cake with candle and a sign is posted in his honor on the office porch. Over the past week we had 6 birthdays so there was cake and singing almost every day.
Speaking of singing (and chanting), we do plenty of it at each meal. Chants that routinely echo through the camp include a “We Will Rock You”/”I’m a Little Teacup” mash up and a “Rock and Roll Part II” clapping and stomping extravaganza. The favorite dining hall song by far is “There Was a Crazy Moose” which we are all convinced will be a big hit if recent counselor Josh ever gets around to recording it.
Sunday, July 3rd, was a typical Moose Sunday morning that included a brunch from 8:30 – 10:00 am with omelets to order and homemade donuts. The highlight of the afternoon was a camp-wide Capture the Flag contest. This year, it was the Chicago Bulls (circa 1996) versus the Golden State Warriors. The CITs did an incredible job organizing the event and, as always, the boys played with amazing enthusiasm and sportsmanship. It was one of the highest scoring Capture the Flag events in history and the Juniors (eight-, nine-, ten-year-olds) were the biggest point winners for their respective teams. After the festivities the campers had a refreshing swim in the lake. Then it was time for cabin cookout, with hamburgers and hotdogs, and S’mores for dessert. Evening activities included tubing, fishing, dodgeball, Frisbee golf, and kickball. And the junior hill cabin clean-up winner enjoyed snacks and a movie in the rec hall. Finally, one Junior A (ten-year-olds) cabin canoed out to the Crooked Birch campsite on the lake for a campfire cookout and overnight.
Monday we celebrated the Fourth of July. The Moose Bears were among the first awake and they did their part by reciting a chant about America. Next came a brief fireworks extravaganza to make sure everyone was awake. At breakfast many of the campers and staff donned their patriotic clothes in the spirit of the holiday. Some of our foreign counselors proudly wore their countries’ colors and flags as well. During the meal Preston (one of our head counselors), recited a humorous piece about America, that was followed by a rousing rendition of the National Anthem. After breakfast, the campers had a choice of two activity areas in the morning. Lunch was Sloppy Joe’s and French Fries and and the usual full salad bar. In the afternoon the campers were divided into two teams (the Lynyrds versus the Skynyrds!) that competed in crazy activities which included the Gauntlet, Boston Tea Party, Molly Pitcher, and a whipped cream eating contest. As is tradition, the CITs provided the groups with red, white and blue sno-cones. In the evening, Moosilauke was host to the neighboring girls’ camp for a cookout, a dance on the basketball courts, and amazing fireworks at the beach.
Monday also saw what is now being called the best “trick of the day” ever. It involved the random selection of a word in a book by a camper that was later discovered on a video on a cell phone found in the middle of a watermelon. You will definitely need to ask your son(s) about this one. Todd, director of special operations, certainly raised the bar for this summer’s tricks with this extravaganza.
Tuesday, July 5th was a busy day on all fronts. It started early (7:00 am) with a second group of our Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) departing on a two-day Mt. Lafayette backpacking adventure. The group was blessed with great weather which allowed them to complete the full traverse across the ridgeline, summiting four peaks in the process. Food on the trip included bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, chicken quesadillas for lunch, and rice, beans and sausage for dinner. Highlights of the trip were a sunset hike up to Mt. Liberty on the first day, a stop at the Greenleaf Hut for some lemon cake, speaking with some Appalachian Trail through-hikers on the trail, and the amazing views throughout the hike.
A group of Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) also headed out early on Tuesday on the much anticipated three-day capstone backpacking adventure to the Mahoosuc Range. After a breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, 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. Lunch was tuna and/or honey on tortillas and dinner was a campfire cookout of chicken and pasta. The next day, after a breakfast of bagels and bacon, the boys hiked 5.1 miles, which included what many people call “the hardest mile on the Appalachian Trail.” They lunched on peanut butter and honey on bagels and dinner was macaroni and cheese and sausage. As anyone will attest who has hiked it, the Mahoosuc range is an amazing natural phenomenon. Here is what Backpacker Magazine wrote about it: “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, after a breakfast of granola and hot chocolate, the group hiked 3.6 miles out to their waiting ride to Enzo’s, the pizza emporium, and then back to Camp.
Tuesday was a perfect day for a first group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) to continue our 100+ year tradition of canoeing 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. Their hard work on the water was rewarded with a pizza dinner at Everything but Anchovies (EBAs) and a viewing of the movie, “The BFG (Big Friendly Giant).” The SA2s (fourteen-year-olds) left on Tuesday for their “fluff” trip of the season to Manchester, NH for an afternoon at the waterpark and an evening at a minor league baseball game with the Manchester Fisher Cats. The CITs and Junior Counselors were fortunate to join the group as well. The Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) spent the day on a mountain biking adventure to the Waterhole that included a well deserved treat at Shawnee’s general store. Competition on Tuesday included an all ages track meet and an 11s tennis tournament at a neighboring camp. Meals on Tuesday were waffles for breakfast, chicken patties for lunch, and carnitas tacos for dinner.
On Wednesday, the other half of the Inter As (twelve-year-olds) canoed 12 miles on the Connecticut River to Hanover and were also rewarded with a pizza dinner and movie. Other trips on Wednesday included another mountain biking adventure to Indian Pond for the Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds), a cabin of Junior As (ten-year-olds) canoeing to our Crooked Birch campsite on the lake for a campfire cookout and overnight trip, and the Junior Bs (eight and nine-year-olds) hiking to the Point campsite for a campfire cookout and an overnight. Competition on Wednesday included a 15s tennis tournament at a neighboring camp and a 14s basketball tournament at Moose. Meals on Wednesday were muffins for breakfast, macaroni and cheese for lunch, and the traditional Sandwich night for dinner. Port entertained a group of campers (and counselors) in the evening with a tall-tale around a campfire on the beach.
Thursday morning, at 7:30 am, a second group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) ventured to Errol, NH, to paddle Lake Umbagog and the Class II-III rapids on the Androscoggin River. The first day, after a lunch of turkey sandwiches, uncrustables, and granola bars, the group made great time canoeing the 6+ miles up the lake to their wilderness camp site in about two hours. This was a good thing because they were able to set up their campsite before a rain storm passed through the area. Dinner was burgers, hot dogs, Italian sausage, and home fries. Once the rain let up (it lasted a while!), the boys played frisbee, fished and had a trivia contest. Dessert was s’mores around a campfire. The group was also treated to the tale of the Mt. Washington Mountain Man. The next day, after a breakfast of bagels and cream cheese, the Androscoggin lived up to its reputation as the boys had a blast canoeing the rapids. Many flipped, but popped right up and ran them again. Unfortunately, due to the dry summer we have had thus far, the boys were not able to leap off the famous Jumping Bridge into the rapids. However, they had fun wading and floating in the swim area and relaxing after a long (and wet!) canoe trip. There was a bald eagle spotting on the trip as well. And of course they were treated to all-you-can-eat pizza at Enzo’s on their way back to Camp.
Thursday also saw a third group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) leaving for a two-day Mt. Lafayette backpacking adventure and a group of Senior A1s (our oldest campers) participating in a trail maintenance expedition with Port. The latter group ventured over to the Pioneer Camp (owned and maintained by Moosilauke) to cut down about a half acre of brush and remove some dead trees. There was also an open (all-ages) bike trip to the Waterhole. Competition on Thursday included an all-ages swim meet at a neighboring camp.
Friday was another busy day. All of the Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) climbed Mt. Moosilauke (4,802 feet) and then were rewarded with an evening 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. The food at the lodge got a huge “thumbs up.” Dinner was lemon chicken, zucchini salad, creamy onion soup, and homemade French bread with key lime bars for dessert. Breakfast was eggs, sausage, oatmeal, and delicious raspberry muffins. After dinner, the campers were treated to the story of “Doc Benton” (a tradition at the Ravine Lodge). Competition on Friday included 13s baseball and 15s soccer at Moose. Our youngest campers, the Juniors (eight-, nine-, and ten-year-olds) spent the afternoon at Baker Cliffs, followed by ice cream at Moose Scoops. Breakfast on Friday was scrambled eggs and hash browns, lunch was meatball subs, and dinner was “Kenny Cookout” on the field that included grilled chicken, sausages, pasta salad, and cornbread.
Also on Friday, the Counselors-in-Training took part in a “True Colors” seminar run by a former Moose parent and professional leadership trainer, Tori Macmillan. As their 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-sync with all their personalities. The boys found the morning informative and fun. At lunch, one of our Inter A campers (twelve-year-olds) presented a trick of the day involving a card guessing game with toast and bananas. He was able to manipulate a piece of toast so that it displayed the card in question. Amazing!
On Saturday there was the Baker Valley tournament competition in a variety of sports (soccer, lacrosse, basketball, baseball, ultimate frisbee, and “bucketball,” to name a few) with some of the neighboring camps. Those campers not involved had their pick of open activity areas – both in the water and on land. Additionally, there was an open day hike to Mt. Smarts. There was also a kayaking trip to Errol, NH. Campers with a “bomb proof wet exit” had the opportunity to spend a day kayaking the class II rapids on the Androscoggin River. The boys started in the river ferrying between progressively larger eddies. Once their confidence and skills were ready they then took a few runs down the ½ mile stretch of whitewater that flows under the Errol Bridge. Saturday meals included bagels for breakfast, chicken tenders and smiley fries for dessert, and pizza for dinner with (the most popular!) whoopie pies for dessert.
That’s all for now. Happy Summer!
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid