Hello Moosilauke Families!
It is our pleasure to write this second letter from Moosilauke for Second Session 2018 (Friday, July 27 through Thursday, August 2, 2018).
Friday, the rain cleared and it was a beautiful, sunny morning and a busy one at Moose. A group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) departed for a two-day backpacking overnight to Mt. Washington. Here is a trip summary and some trail wisdom courtesy of one of the counselors: “Weather conditions caused the group to take the reverse route from our normal trip putting us at the base of Tuckerman’s Ravine on the first day. The ascent to to the top of Mt. Washington began on a mud-soaked detour trail which took us across to the Hermit Lake Shelter where we would spend the night. We dropped our packs and forged up the jagged ravine hooking along the outskirts on the Lion Head’s trail. Once at the top of Lion’s Head, we started to hear the grumbling of thunder in the distance, despite the sunny skies overhead. Even though the summit was tantalizing close–we could see the Mt. Washington Observatory poking out from behind the final sub-peak–we made the safe and smart call to forego the top and turn back. Thirty minutes later the skies opened up but we were already safely back at our campsite eating mac-n-cheese and reflecting on the lessons served to us that day, including: “nature always wins,” “the mountain will always be there another day,” and most importantly “hope for the best but plan for the worst.”
Friday also saw another group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) venture out on a mountain biking trek to the Waterhole for a swim and picnic lunch. There was also an open kayaking trip to the Class II rapids at the Hartland section of the Connecticut River for the campers who have mastered their “wet exits.” Another group left for top-rope rock climbing at the crags in Rumney. Back at Camp, a few passing thunderstorms arrived in the afternoon, so our afternoon competition was postponed. Although the rain kept a group of Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) from swimming at Baker Cliffs, it did not keep them from getting a treat at Moose Scoops. (Not a bad consolation prize!). Afternoon activities, given the rain, included cards, board games, and trivia contests in the dining hall and movies in both the Junior and Senior Hill rec halls. Meals on Friday included: bagels and bacon for breakfast, meatball subs and smiley fries for lunch, and a “Kenny cook-out” dinner featuring grilled chicken and sausages, pasta salad, coleslaw, and cornbread. We also celebrated the birthday of a Junior Counselor on Friday.
Saturday was a sunny and clear day so all activities were a “go!” It was perfect weather for the big event of the day, the new camper hike up Mt. Cube. All new campers (not going on another hiking trip) and a few volunteer returners participated bringing the total to 60. The hike up Mt Cube has been an annual Moose event since our founding in 1904. The hike serves many purposes: It acts as an introduction to hiking and the backcountry for many of our boys; it is an incredible avenue for positive risk taking and pushing limits because for some campers–especially our juniors–it will be the hardest physical activity they will have undertaken; and it also serves as a great bonding activity since the five hours of trail time provides ample opportunity for campers and counselors alike to learn each other’s names and backgrounds. Saturday’s hike was made even more adventurous by the wet conditions. The rule on the trail was if you slipped and fell you had to yell “mud-licious.” There were many a boy who could be heard shouting this refrain multiple times–but always with a smile. All the boys climbed to the South Summit via the 2-mile Cross Rivendell trail and then hooked up with the Appalachian trail for the quick ridgeline walk to the North Summit where the group had lunch with a great view of Moosilauke’s hundred acres of land and waterfront. For the return journey, about two dozen campers and counselors opted for the longer route (3.5 miles) that took them down the Appalachian Trail and all the way back to Camp.
That same day a final group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) headed out on a mountain biking trek to the Waterhole. Meals on Saturday included fried egg, sausage, and cheese sandwiches for breakfast, a sandwich bar for lunch, and a homemade pizza fest for dinner. Our Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) enjoyed a “fluff” evening in Hanover that included a pizza dinner and a viewing of the new Mission Impossible: Fallout movie. Competition versus a peer camp on Saturday included elevens baseball, thirteens basketball, fourteens basketball, and fifteens Ultimate. Boys in Camp enjoyed choice activity areas throughout the day on Saturday. Evening activities included movies in both rec halls – Spaceballs on Junior Hill and Tommy Boy on Senior Hill – (with popcorn freshly made by the CITs), tubing, fishing, and some open activity areas.
On Sunday, we had our first “Lazy Sunday” of the session. Campers could sleep in and breakfast was a buffet that included made-to-order omelets, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, cinnamon buns, and a yogurt and fruit bar. After breakfast, the campers ventured down the hill (some still in their pajamas) for some quiet time at the beach, reading, playing cards, ping-pong games, and more. Lunch on Sunday was grilled chicken, rice, steamed vegetables, and rolls. After lunch, the campers participated in an all-camp Capture the Flag game – a coveted Moose tradition. It was the Sions (pronounced ‘Cy-on’) versus the Sions (pronounced ‘Sean’). Sion is one of our camp counselors from Scotland and there has been an ongoing debate as to the proper pronunciation of his name. To note, it is pronounced ‘Sean.’ The CITs did a terrific job organizing the event and much fun was had by all. Following Capture the Flag, there was an all-camp swim in the lake – perfect after a warm afternoon running around on the fields. Before dinner, we had our first weekly community gathering at the picnic tables where the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds and oldest campers) introduced themselves and then helped reinforce our core philosophy of positive risk taking by talking about the new activities they had tried during their many years at Moose. Bill and Sabina then talked about some rules of the road in terms of how we can all live together in a positive fashion. We then had two campers show off their “mad” skills with their diablos. (Ask your boys.) And then the meeting ended with a camp wide singing of “There was a Crazy Moose.” Dinner was the first Cabin Cookout of the session. Campers enjoyed burgers, hot dogs, potato wedges, carrots, and all of the fixings at their cabins and cooked S’mores around campfires for dessert. In the evening, the Senior Hill winners of the week’s cabin clean-up ventured out to the Fairlee Drive-In movie to view the Mission Impossible: Fallout movie and the Junior Hill winners viewed a movie in the rec hall. Additionally, the Counselors-in-Training and Junior Counselors enjoyed a much-deserved night off at the movies. Finally, two campers celebrated birthdays on Sunday.
Monday morning was a beautiful, sunny day at Moose. In the am, another group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) set out for a three-day backpacking adventure up Mt. Washington. After donuts on the road, the crew of four campers and two counselors began their journey by hiking up Lowe’s Path towards the Presidential Range. They stopped for water and a snack break at the Randolph Mountain Club’s log cabin shelter after about an hour and a half of hiking. From the cabin, they continued another mile along the Randolph Path to RMC’s Perch Shelter, where they made their camp for the night. They lunched on bagels with peanut butter and nutella before setting out again to the summit of Mt. Adams, the second tallest peak in the Northeast (approximately 5,800 feet). At the summit, they chatted with a “section hiker” (someone who is hiking a large section of the Appalachian Trail) and snacked on some GORP (“good old raisins and peanuts”). After hiking down to the campsite, they cooked a dinner of rice and beans, and then went to sleep. On day 2, they awoke early (7am), ate a breakfast of oatmeal and Poptarts, and hiked up to tree line to continue along the Appalachian Trail. It was a little cloudy but the views were still spectacular. They then hiked a short section of the entire Presidential traverse, summiting not only Washington, but also Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Clay on the same day. They arrived at the summit of Washington around noon. After resting a bit and filling up on water, they continued on their way to the campsite at Hermit Lake Shelter in Tuckerman’s Ravine. They made a brief detour to the Lakes of the Clouds hut, operated by the AMC, to see how the huts work, then headed down the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail to the campsite to enjoy a hearty dinner of mac and cheese before falling into a deep sleep. On the final day, they hiked a speedy 2 miles to Pinkham Notch, where they were picked up for the return trip to Camp.
On Monday all of the Inter As (twelve-year-olds) departed after breakfast for a hike up Mt. Moosilauke – all 4,802 feet of it. They climbed up the Gorge Brook Trail (approximately 3.5 miles) and descended down the Carriage Trail (also about 3.5 miles). They learned some Mt. Moosilauke trivia along the way, such as the fact that there used to be a hotel at the top of the mountain, the mountain was home to the first inter-collegiate ski race in 1914, and in 2004, for Moosilauke’s 100th anniversary, the entire Camp (even the Junior Bs!) climbed to the top. At the summit, the hungry campers ate a lunch of turkey and cheese sandwiches, Uncrustables, granola bars, apples, and a candy treat. In the evening, they dined at the newly renovated Mt. Moosilauke Ravine Lodge (run by Dartmouth College). Dinner was lentil-onion soup, grilled chicken, potatoes, herbed bread, and lava cake for dessert. Breakfast was raspberry muffins, eggs, sausage, and oatmeal. The boys enjoyed a cozy night’s sleep in the newly renovated cabins which the boys deemed “luxurious.”
Another trip on Monday involved the Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) venturing out on an overnight to Cliff Island on Newfound Lake. After canoeing out to the island and setting up camp, they explored the cliffs and crannies. They then played Manhunt and Hide & Seek.They also swam from dock to cliffs, fished, and canoed around the island. The group cooked a dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs over a campfire, followed by popcorn and S’mores for dessert. Then it was time for tall-tales around the fire before falling asleep in the tents. In the morning, they did their own version of Moose Bears, cooked breakfast, and canoed back to shore for the return trip to Camp. Trips continued on Monday with a group of Junior Bs (eight-and-nine-year-olds) walking to the Point for an overnight in our lakeside log cabin. The boys enjoyed grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, mac and cheese, and s’mores, followed by some card games before heading to bed. The next day they woke early to make it back for the morning Moosebears swim. Another trip was an all-ages bike expedition to Moose Scoops.
A highlight on Monday was the True Colors seminar the CITs took part in led by a professional leadership consultant. 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 worked together in a manner in sync with all their personalities. The boys found the morning informative and fun. Competition on Monday included a thirteens soccer tournament at Moose and a fifteens basketball tournament and open-ages tennis tournament at neighboring camps. Meals on Monday included French toast and bacon for breakfast, chicken patties and french fries for lunch, and pasta, sausages, tomato sauce, and garlic bread for dinner. In the evening, the campers fished, went tubing, canoed and paddle-boarded on the lake, and played wiffle ball, ping pong, cricket, and handball. And to cap it all off we celebrated two camper birthdays with songs, cake, and dancing.
On Tuesday, it was yet another beautiful day at Camp. After a breakfast of waffles, yogurt and fruit bar, hot cereal, and hot chocolate, the boys enjoyed a morning of scheduled activity areas. Trips included a group of Junior Bs (eight-and-nine-year-olds) heading to the Point for an overnight, a group of Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) having a canoeing overnight on Cliff Island on Newfound Lake, and an all ages group venturing out on a mountain biking adventure to Moose Scoops. Lunch at Camp was Sloppy Joe sandwiches, tater tots, and a full salad bar. After lunch, the Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) departed for an afternoon of swimming in the natural pools and slides at Baker Cliffs and an ice cream treat at Moose Scoops. Competition picked up again on Tuesday with a fifteens lacrosse tournament and tens basketball tournament at Moose, and a twelves basketball tournament at a neighboring camp. Dinner was the traditional “Taco Tuesday” meal with carnitas, soft tacos, salsa, rice, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and our full salad bar. In the evening, the campers enjoyed participating in a ping pong tournament, building sandcastles, playing Manhunt, Aussie football, cricket, and ultimate, and participating in a canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding adventure on the waterfront, along with daily tubing and fishing extravaganzas.
Wednesday, meals included scrambled eggs and potatoes for breakfast, chicken tenders and french fries for lunch, and mac-and-cheese for dinner. Another group of Junior As (ten-year-olds) left in the afternoon for their Pioneer Camp overnight on the Baker River. Upon arrival, they quickly set up their tent on the platform that was recently built. They swam in the afternoon, despite the onset of rain, and one of the counselors led the group in a rock pyramid building activity on the river bank. They cooked hamburgers, hot dogs, and S’mores around a campfire. And, in the evening, they shared trivia and played cards before heading to bed in their tents. Competition on Wednesday included a twelves lacrosse tournament at Moose. Wednesday there was also another open (all-ages) mountain biking expedition to Moose Scoops. Rain came through very late in the afternoon and cleared by evening, so evening activities were a ‘go’ outside and included kickball, dodgeball, cricket, hockey, a ping pong tournament, wiffle ball, tubing, fishing, a Junior/Inter crayfish hunt, and a Senior dodgeball tournament.
Thursday was a clear, partially sunny day at Moose. The Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) spent the morning with Port at the Pioneer Camp chopping wood before being treated to a diner lunch. A final group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) left early for a two-day overnight backpacking trip to Mt. Lafayette. Another group of Junior As (ten-year-olds) headed to the Pioneer Camp for an overnight adventure. The last group of Junior Bs (nine-year-olds) hiked out to the Point for their overnight excursion. There was another all-ages kayaking trip to the Class II Hartland Rapids on the Connecticut River. Another all-ages group headed to the Rumney crags for a day of rock climbing. And Port shared another one of his tall-tales with the campers in the evening. This time it was “Doc Benton.” Other evening activities included: tubing, fishing, tennis, Ultimate, stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing, card games, basketball, and various field games. Meals in Camp included pancakes and sausages for breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup and smiley fries for lunch, and flank steak, smashed potatoes, and corn for dinner (a camp favorite!). Competition on Thursday included a thirteens basketball tournament and elevens soccer tournament at Moose.
Finally, during the past week a highlight for many campers was their first wake surf session. As you may know, the camp has a boat specially made for wake surfing with large built-in ballast tanks and a special computer operated wake shaping system. Wake surfing has become incredibly popular for many reasons: you go half the speed of wakeboarding so falling is safe and not a problem; you surf close to the boat so it is easy to get instruction and advice; and most importantly–you are actually surfing! When you get good you throw the rope and surf behind the boat without being attached. It is super fun!
That’s all for now. Please do not hesitate to call Bill or Sabina if you have questions. We will write again at the end of the session. And details for departure day, August 8th, will be sent out soon in a separate email.
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid