Dear Moosilauke Families,
It is our pleasure to send this second weekly letter home during summer 2018 covering Sunday, June 24th through Saturday, June 30th. Camp is off to an awesome start. For the most part, 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; and the overall level of fun and camaraderie is exactly what you would expect. Fun with a purpose!
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, bacon, sausage, chocolate chip muffins, cinnamon buns, potatoes, and our usual breakfast bar of yogurt, assorted fruits, and granola. After breakfast, the campers enjoyed some 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 also had an open swim for all ages and a cabin check-in with the nurses. Lunch was chicken cutlets with rice, corn, and rolls, full salad bar, and fruit for dessert. After lunch, we had our first “trick of the day.” One was an oldie, but a goodie where you spin and blow a cup from one stack to another. The counselor succeeded in doing twice! The second “trick of the day” saw Charlotte (Waterfront Director and Head of Hills) name every camper and counselor in Camp. Quite the feat, considering there are about 200 names to learn! We also celebrated the birthday of one of our Junior Counselors. 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 at this point. (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. At the end of the afternoon, we convened our first weekly Moose Community Gathering. While we were together, we applauded and recognized those campers and counselors who went “B.T.C.O.D.” (“beyond the call of duty). We also discussed some golden rules for living together in a happy and healthy fashion. Our oldest campers, the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds), introduced themselves and shared how long they have been at Moose and what makes Moose special to them. The gathering ended with a full camp rendition of “There was a Crazy Moose.” Sunday evening brought our traditional cabin cookout, with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato wedges, and carrot sticks. Following cabin cookout, the campers enjoyed open areas for their evening activities on land and in the water and gathered around campfires to make S’mores for dessert.
Monday started early for many a camper as our first wilderness adventure trips left at 7:00 am. A group of Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) headed out on the much anticipated three-day capstone backpacking adventure in the rugged terrain of Western Maine in the Mahoosuc Range. After stopping at Dunkin Donuts for a quick breakfast on the first day, they set out from the Carlo Col trailhead, bearing heavy packs and eager spirits. After 2.7 miles of gradual uphill, they began their ascent to the alpine zones of Maine. They had very windy and partly cloudy weather, but when they reached the summit of Goose Eye Peak, the weather had cleared nicely. After Goose Eye, they trekked a few more miles over rolling treeless hills to their campsite at Full Goose shelter. There, they ate a hefty dinner of rice and beans and salami. On the second day, they broke campsite quickly with a breakfast of oatmeal and Poptarts, before descending into the Mahoosuc Notch. They had a “bluebird day,” as it was delightfully cool. After hiking 2 miles, they entered the infamous Notch, scrambling over boulders and in between cracks. Under the rocks, they stood on ice, giving the breeze a coolness that healed their mild exhaustion. After the Notch, they began climbing up the Mahoosuc Arm, an extremely steep section of the trail. They climbed for a few hours and at long last beheld a beautiful sight of Mt. Washington and Mt. Madison gleaming in the distance. That night, they camped at the Speck Pond campsite, eating Annie’s mac-and-cheese for dinner. On the final day, they began hiking before 6:00am after a breakfast of bagels and cream cheese. They climbed over Old Speck Mountain, and descended to the parking lot at Grafton Notch. On their way back to Camp, they were treated with an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet at Enzo’s. Altogether, they hiked 16.5 miles total – 7 miles the first day, 5.1 miles the second, and 4.4 miles on the final day.
Monday also saw a group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) leave for a two-day whitewater canoe adventure on Lake Umbagog and the Androscoggin River. This trip, which we have been running for decades, has been featured in Outside Magazine in the section titled “Best Trails: Best Canoe Trail.” Per one of the trip counselors (also a published author), “the wind howled across Lake Umbagog as we slid our loaded canoes into the frothy water. Battling gales and white caps, we fought for every inch of the 6-mile stretch to our campsite, and arrived proudly with exhausted arms.” At night, the group feasted on grilled corn, double-hot dogs, triple-cheeseburgers, and steak. As the wind died down, they headed out on the lake to fish, “the lake mirroring the pink tapestry of the sky.” Upon returning to the campsite, the group enjoyed S’mores for dessert and told tall-tale stories around a campfire. The loons were hooting in the distance. In the morning, they canoed through marshy waters to the opening to the Androscoggin River. Along the way there were sightings of bald eagles, ospreys, herons, and leaping fish. Everyone enjoyed the tranquility. Hours later, they were on the Class II rapids. The campers expertly maneuvered their way down the river without a single capsize. Pizza from Enzo’s on the return trip home was the perfect way to cap off the trip.
The same day our first group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) left for a two-day Presidential Range backpacking adventure. The group left Camp at 8 am, stopping at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, on their way to the trail. After an easy first mile, they hiked 2 miles of a steep uphill to the Liberty Springs Campsite. Following a lunch of bagels and cream cheese, they began their hike up Mt. Liberty. After a successful climb to the summit, they descended back to their campsite and enjoyed a delicious dinner of rice and beans. The next day, the group awoke at 7am, made oatmeal for breakfast, and started hiking around 9 am. The campers each did a mini “solo” hike for a mile or so. As a group, they summited Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette. On their way down, they stopped at the Greenleaf Hut and followed the Olde Bridle path to the parking lot. They also enjoyed a delicious pizza lunch at Enzo’s on their way back to Camp.
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. Evening activities included Kick the Can, Rounders (a combo game of baseball and cricket), tubing, fishing, Ultimate Frisbee, wiffle ball, and flag football.
Food Tuesday in Camp included scrambled eggs for breakfast, sloppy joe’s, grilled potatoes and homemade soup for lunch, and the traditional “Taco Tuesday” for dinner with carnitas (pulled pork), corn and black bean salad, rice, tortillas, and churros for dessert. Another group of Inter As ventured out on a mountain biking trip to the Waterhole. A focus for the day at Moose was the first inter-camp competition of the season. There are three scoreboards at Moosilauke. The first is the actual score of the game. The second measures effort and sportsmanship, and being a “class act.” 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 handball, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, tubing, fishing, rugby, flag football, and basketball.
Wednesday, campers were greeted in the morning with pancakes and sausages. Lunch was chicken tenders with potato wedges. Dinner was stuffed shells, rolls, assorted steamed veggies, a full salad bar, and pudding 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. The group spotted a bear cub at Moose Scoops, and eventually the mother bear. So, as one counselor put it, they had “a treat and a show.” A group of mixed-age campers biked 10-miles round trip to Indian Pond for a picnic lunch and swim. The highlight from Wednesday was our first white water kayaking trip to the Class II water at the Hartland Rapids on the Connecticut River. The intrepid group spent the day running the rapids and playing in the eddies while also practicing their wet releases and rolls. Look for a clip on Instagram and Facebook. There was an inter-camp soccer competition for the elevens at Moose, and baseball competitions for the twelves and fifteens at both a neighboring camp and Moose. Evening activities included a stand-up paddle boarding and canoe extravaganza, tubing, fishing, Rounders, wiffle ball, dodgeball, and rugby.
Thursday we had our first rainy day. Fortunately, it was a bit on and off in the morning so we were able to spend an hour down the hill in activities on land and in the water before lunch. Due the inclement weather, a second group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) departed a bit later than originally planned on Thursday for their Lake Umbagog/Androscoggin River canoe expedition. After a lunch stop at Burger King, they were on their way to Errol, NH. On route, the group spotted a very large moose alongside the road! Upon arrival, they unloaded their gear at their riverside cabins and then quickly went fishing in the Androscoggin. Following their successful fishing outing, it was time to head back to their campsite for a dinner of hamburgers and hot dogs, with S’mores for dessert, all cooked over a charcoal and wood fire. In the evening, the group played trivia games for candy prizes and enjoyed a tall-tale by Preston. The next day, the boys eagerly awoke for the much-anticipated day of rapids. They started early, packing up their campsite, eating cinnamon buns, and then setting off for a day at the rapids. It was an exciting canoe down the rapids – canoes flipping on occasion, but fun and laughs were had by all. After canoeing down the rapids, the Northern Waters guides taught the boys a type of canoe rescue called a z-line, how to rescue canoes solo in rushing water with hundreds of pounds of water inside. On their way back to Camp, the boys stopped at the jumping bridge for a fishing, swimming, and reading break. The final stop before returning to Moose was an all-you-can-eat pizza extravaganza at Enzo’s. An exciting trip overall!
Competition on Thursday was postponed due to rain but our campers were able to enjoy an afternoon indoors playing games and watching some of the World Cup soccer matches. The menu for the day included cheese frittatas for breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, and beef brisket with corn and baked beans for dinner with frosted chocolate brownies 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 (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”). Evening activities at camp were indoors due to the weather and included Bingo (for candy prizes), assorted board and card games, and the first and very special “tall tale” session with master storyteller Port Miller in the Rec Hall.
Friday, there were several groups up and out early for various activities before breakfast – our Moose Bears were in the lake for their daily morning dip, a group of Senior A1s were waterskiing, and a group of campers of mixed ages were fishing. In the afternoon, the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) enjoyed an afternoon at Baker Cliffs, followed by an ice cream cone at Moose Scoops. A group of campers headed to the “links” at the Bradford Country Club for a round of golf. And, half of our Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) enjoyed a morning mountain biking adventure to the Waterhole. Competition on Friday included a tens tennis tournament and a twelves basketball tournament at neighboring camps. Breakfast was bagels, fried eggs, 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. In the evening, campers participated in a ping pong tournament, stand-up paddle boarding and canoe extravaganza, dodgeball, and basketball.
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, baseball, lacrosse, 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, mountain biking, Arts & Crafts, woodworking, and the waterfront. It was a particularly warm day, so most campers opted for the waterfront – stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, sailing, swimming, waterskiing and wakeboarding, and fishing. Meals on Saturday included fried egg, sausage, cheese sandwiches on English muffins, assorted sandwich meats, cheese, salad, potato chips, and homemade soup for lunch, and the traditional Saturday night pizza for dinner. After dinner, campers had the opportunity of activities on the waterfront – a treat, especially given what a hot day it had been – and, of course, many opted to relax and enjoy our traditional Saturday night movies with popcorn courtesy of the CITs.
What a week! We had twenty individual inter-camp competitions, 4 bike trips, 2 overnight backpacking trips (5 days of backpacking!), two overnight canoe trips, a whitewater kayaking trip, 3 age groups venturing to Baker Cliffs for a swim and ice cream treat at Moose Scoops, and all of our normally scheduled area activities!
That’s it for the second week.
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid