June 25 through July 1, 2017
Dear Moosilauke Families,
It is our pleasure to send this second weekly letter home during summer 2017 covering Sunday, June 25th through Saturday, July 1st. Camp is off to an awesome start. Despite some intermittent rain showers and storms, the boys have been able to be outdoors and engaged in all camp activities this first full week. Our activity classes have been humming; our initial canoe and hiking trips have been fun for all; our inter-camp competition is off and running and participation has been high; we have already had a few special events; and the overall level of fun and camaraderie is exactly what you would expect. Fun with a purpose!
Before we get started recapping the week, we wanted to send you a friendly reminder about our new package policy (as outlined in the 2017 Moosilauke Handbook). We now only allow flat packages so you can only send items like letters, pictures, magazines, newspaper clippings, and comics. If your son has neglected to pack something, you are welcome to send it to the attention of the Moosilauke office and we will pass it along. Otherwise, packages are not permitted at Camp. Should we receive a package that does not fit the above criteria, we will return it to you 🙂 Thank you for your help in supporting our policy.
We also wanted to share with you a new blog written by Bill entitled, “Succeeding at Failure” (also featured on our website), based on an article in the New York Times and emphasizing the significance of experiences such as Camp Moosilauke for our young people today. Enjoy!
Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day. It was was our first “lazy Sunday” of the season, with a late buffet breakfast of omelets to order, scrambled eggs, sausage, muffins, and our usual breakfast bar of yogurt, assorted fruits, and granola. After breakfast the campers enjoyed free time that involved pickup basketball, ping pong, playing cards and reading on the beach, and assorted games like Spike Ball and Can Jam. We then had a swim for all the the Juniors and Inters and a cabin check-in with the nurses. Lunch was chicken cutlets with rice, rolls, full salad bar, and with fruit for dessert. After lunch, two of our counselors did the first “trick of the day” – demonstrating how to make a proper S’mores treat (in preparation for the evening’s cabin cookout). Sunday was our first “Letter Home Day.” The campers are required to write home twice a week – Sundays and Wednesdays. Mail is slow from our rural New Hampshire location, but you should be receiving letters from your boys soon. (We know that the boys do not always provide the most detail in their letters, so we hope that our weekly newsletters help fill in the gaps. Of course, you can always reach out to Bill and Sabina should you have any questions.)
In the afternoon, there were sign-ups in the different activity areas. All areas were buzzing with activity and fun. Sunday evening brought our traditional cabin cookout, with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato wedges, and carrot sticks. In the evening, we had a special all-camp “opening day” ceremony for our brand new Moose Miller baseball complex that incorporates two brand new diamonds (with backstops and a batting cage) put in by a company that recently built a minor league baseball field. The fun event involved our two oldest camper age groups playing each other in a 3 inning game. Just like in the big leagues we had someone sing the national anthem, an announcer doing play by play, fun music as campers went up to bat–and Cracker Jacks for every camper! The highlight of the event was Port (the owner of Camp and Sabina, Ingrid, and Ken’s dad) throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Following the game, age groups gathered around campfires to make S’mores for dessert.
Monday, rain was in the forecast, but it thankfully stayed away which was good news for our first morning of Moose Bears and our first wilderness adventure overnights. Moose Bears is a voluntary morning swim for campers and counselors prior to first bell (8:00am). A hearty crowd of 30+ showed up for this season’s inaugural swim. The morning was a bit chilly and overcast, but the group sang songs and did some water calisthenics to stay warm. We are certain many of them enjoyed their piping hot chocolate at breakfast following their early morning swim.
A group of Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) headed out early (7:00am!) on Tuesday on the much anticipated three-day capstone backpacking adventure to the Mahoosuc Range. En route, they spotted a bear crossing the road! The boys began their trip at the Carlo Col trailhead and 6.3 miles later they arrived at the Full Goose campsite. They hiked at a pretty fast pace (1.5 miles per hour) and were very pleased with their progress. They also remarked that the views were breathtaking! Upon arrival at their campsite, they set up tents and completed other assigned tasks while the counselors and campers prepared dinner. The next day, the boys awoke early and hiked 1.5 miles to the Mahoosuc Notch. After taking a short break and playing some games, the boys then hiked for another two hours. After a lunch of tortillas pizzas they took on the toughest part of the trip: the ascent of the Mahoosuc Arm, considered the “hardest mile of the Appalachian Trail.” After an hour and a half, the group reached the top and were very proud of their accomplishment, enjoying a well-deserved snack of trail mix, granola, and Nutella. They experienced some rain on their way down to the campsite, but had a beautiful view of the pond. Three members of the group bravely took a swim in the water! On the final day, the group hiked to the top of Old Speck Mountain. They then descended down the mountain and were treated to a delicious all-you-can-eat pizza lunch at Enzo’s. Overall, the boys shared that the trip “might be exhausting but it was worth all the priceless moments and amazing views.”
A group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) also left for a two day 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.” The group left early since they had a 2.5 hour drive to Errol, NH, and Lake Umbagog. Around 1:00pm, the group packed their dry bags, tents, and food into their boats and paddled 7 miles up the lake to their wilderness campsite. After setting up camp, they ate a dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, and S’mores, and then fished and swam. 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 the group paddled a total of 5 miles as they moved out of the lake and into the Androscoggin River. A bald eagle flew over the group as they were paddling. After portaging around the Errol Dam they then ran an exciting stretch of class II rapids (two times!). At the end of the rapids, the group met a fish hatchery truck. The men allowed the campers to help stock the river with rainbow and brown trout. After that, it was a short drive to the world famous Jumping Bridge where the boys had a blast jumping and swimming. On the way home, the boys were treated to a pizza lunch at Enzo’s restaurant.
Monday also saw a group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) venture out on an all day mountain bike trip to the Wentworth Waterhole and the Juniors (nine and ten-year-olds) head out in the afternoon for some swimming fun at Baker Cliffs, followed by ice cream at Moose Scoops.
Tuesday, the rain forecasted held off until the late evening so all planned activities were a go. Food for the Moose troops in camp included croissants for breakfast, sloppy joes, potato wedges, and homemade soup for lunch, and our traditional “Taco Tuesday” for dinner. This camper favorite included pulled pork, rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, salsa–and churros with honey for dessert. Along with a group of Inter Bs (eleven-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. There are 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! There are also 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 each camper gets ample playing time. We hosted a thirteen-and-under soccer tournament and our ten-year-olds participated in a street hockey tournament at a neighboring camp. Evening activities included volleyball, flag football, hockey, fishing, tubing, frisbee golf, open tennis, and pickup games in basketball.
Wednesday, campers were greeted in the morning with homemade muffins. Lunch was sandwiches with assorted cold cuts, cheeses, salads, and all of the fixings. Dinner was stuffed shells, garlic bread, a full salad bar, and jello for dessert.
Trips on Wednesday included the Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) enjoying an afternoon jumping into the deep pools and rapids at Baker Cliffs, followed by an ice cream treat at Moose Scoops. A group of mixed-age campers biked to Indian Pond. The highlight from Wednesday was our first white water kayaking trip to the Class II water at the Hartland Rapids on the Connecticut River. Four campers and three counselors spent the day running the rapids and playing in the eddies while also practicing their wet releases and rolls. There was an inter-camp soccer competition for the elevens at Moose, and baseball competitions for the twelves and fifteens at neighboring camps. Also on Wednesday our CITs started a rigorous three-day lifeguarding certification class.
On Thursday our first climbing trip left for a day at the crags in Rumney, NH. According to the Mountain Project, “Rumney is one of the premier sport climbing destinations in the country.” Just 20 minutes from Moose, it is a perfect spot for first time climbers to learn to top-rope and for campers with experience to hone their skills. Thursday also saw our first group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) leave for a 2-day Presidential Range backpacking adventure. On the first day, the boys hiked the steep Liberty Springs trail to the Liberty Springs tent platforms. After lunch, the group summited Mt. Liberty where they had a nice view of Mt. Cannon through the clouds. After a dinner of macaroni and cheese, the group hunkered down in their tents before a heavy rainfall hit. The next day the boys traversed 3.5 miles across the ridgeline in the clouds–summiting Little Haystack, Lincoln and Lafayette in the process–before descending on the Greenleaf trail. Along the way, the campers sang songs and told riddles.
A second group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) departed Thursday for the Lake Umbagog/Androscoggin River canoe expedition. Still another trip on Thursday saw a group of Senior A1s go on a service outing with Port that entailed clearing the brush and dead trees at our Pioneer Camp on the Baker River ahead of camper overnights on the property next week. Their efforts were rewarded with a lunch at Plain Jane’s diner and ice cream at Moose Scoops for their amazing efforts. Competition on Thursday was postponed due to rain but our campers were able to enjoy an afternoon at the different activity areas – arena soccer, volleyball, and various waterfront activities. The menu for the day included French toast for breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, and beef brisket with corn and baked beans for dinner with frosted chocolate cake for dessert. The final trip of the day, and the most “fluffy” of them all, was the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) invading Hanover for a pizza dinner and a movie (“Transformers” or “Wonder Woman”). Evening activities at camp were indoors due to the weather and included Bingo (for candy prizes), assorted games, mini-golf, and a special “tall tale” session with master storyteller Port Miller in the Rec Hall.
Friday, the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) enjoyed an afternoon at Baker Cliffs, followed by an ice cream cone at Moose Scoops. Unfortunately, the water was too high due to the rain so the boys were not able to swim and jump in as per usual. Competition on Friday included a twelves basketball tournament. Breakfast was bagels, sausage and potatoes, and the yogurt/fruit bar. Lunch was meatball subs, with chips, and a full salad bar. Dinner was the traditional Friday night “Kenny Cookout” with chicken, sausage, veggie burgers, pasta salad, corn bread, soda, and popsicles for dessert. Following dinner, we held our inaugural weekly all-camp Moose community gathering, where campers and counselors shared reflections on their week and also sang some fun camp songs.
Saturday started warm and sunny. The focus of the morning was the Baker Valley Athletic Tournament that involved Moose and three other camps competing in soccer, basketball, and Ultimate Frisbee. Approximately half of our campers participated in some sort of competition on Saturday morning. Those not involved in the games had their choice of open areas – including Archery, tennis, and the waterfront. Saturday afternoon brought rain, so the campers remained indoors enjoying board and card games, music jam sessions, and movies. Meals on Saturday included scrambled eggs and hash browns for breakfast, popcorn chicken, smiley fries, and coleslaw for lunch, and pizza for dinner. And of course the evening ended with our traditional Saturday night movies with popcorn courtesy of the CITs.
What a week! We had more than a dozen inter-camp competitions, 5 bike trips, 2 overnight backpacking trips (5 days of backpacking!), two overnight canoe trips, a whitewater kayaking trip, a climbing session, a service trip with Port, three age groups venturing to Baker Cliffs for a swim and ice cream, and all of our normally scheduled area activities!
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid