Dear Moose Families,
It is our pleasure to write this first weekly letter home from Moosilauke during summer 2021, our 117th season! As is our tradition, we will send an electronic letter home each week to make sure parents know about all the activities, special events, and trips that make up the Moose Experience.
The Upper Baker Valley gods were smiling on Opening Day as evidenced by the beautiful weather and the fact that all 130+ of the rapid PCR tests we administered came back negative. We really appreciate the flexibility our parents showed in preparing for Camp and while they were on campus.
Campers came to us from 18 different states. Once all the parents left we moved right into a fun afternoon and evening that included tours of campus, our traditional first night Moose burger dinner, an all camp game of “Bill Says,” name games by age group, cabin meetings, and counselor introductions—all capped off by a fireworks extravaganza.
The opening night dinner was the first time our campers got to see our brand new kitchen (we tore down the old one last fall) and our renovated dining hall, which includes new windows and floor, 21 new red and grey tables and stools, and a fresh coat of paint on the walls. And for the traditionalists in the group, please do not worry about whether our Moose memorabilia made it through the transition: the wall fish, camper paintings, and historical pictures and posters have all been rehung.
Friday’s breakfast was scrambled eggs and sausage, oatmeal, cold cereal, and a fruit and yogurt bar. After the meal, there were announcements about safety at Camp, the daily schedule, and the pending Mt. Cube hike. Kenny also shared his daily sports score update. Then it was time for our initial cabin cleanup and inspection. By 10:00am, everyone was down from the hills and firmly ensconced in two morning activity classes. At noon, free time, about 20 campers and staff went on a one or two mile run while others played ping pong, basketball, and relaxed on the beach. Lunch included meatball subs, tater tots, a salad bar, and pulled pork soup. In the afternoon, campers had their first choice periods by age group. Dinner was our first Friday night field barbecue—called “Kenny’s cookout”—which consisted of grilled chicken, sausage, veggie burgers, corn bread, coleslaw, and ice cream bars for dessert. After dinner the campers participated in evening activities, including Knockout, dodgeball, flag football, Ultimate frisbee, fishing, tubing, a crayfish hunt, and a stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing extravaganza.
Camp was bustling with activity before breakfast on Saturday due to it being the first day of Moose Bears. Over 50 campers and counselors voluntarily took part in the 7:45am club that includes a sprint and dive into the lake and wacky songs, dances, and activities. On Saturday, breakfast included bagels (with cream cheese, butter, and/or jam) and bacon. The big event for the day was the annual climb up Mt. Cube for all new campers and interested veterans. Todd, Bill, Preston, and the Backcountry Leadership Staff led a group of 66 campers up the 2,911 feet of Cube. During the hike the boys learned many fun facts about Mt. Cube, including: the original trail was created in 1900 by the Dartmouth Outing Club (the oldest college outing club in the country); it is part of the Appalachian Trail; and, most interestingly, the visionary behind the Appalachian Trail was a man named Benton McKay who was a counselor at Camp Moosilauke in 1904. (Next time you are at Camp go to the dining hall and find the framed diary from Moosilauke’s 1904 session. In it you will find reference to Mr. McKay and his famous hiking group called the Tattered Ten.) In an impressive act of grit, more than half of the Mt. Cube hikers opted to head back via the North trail which is 1.5 miles longer than the southern trail and ends across the street from our entrance.
Everyone not on a trip spent the day going to morning and afternoon classes. After a lunch of sandwiches, soup, and salad bar the boys had a much deserved rest hour. The afternoon was humming with sign-up activities including water skiing and wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, sailing, tennis, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, archery, and arts & crafts. Dinner was homemade pizza with brownies for dessert. Evening activities included kickball, flag football, Ultimate frisbee, dodgeball, a stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing extravaganza, tubing, and fishing.
Sunday we had our traditional lazy day start with a brunch that ran until 10:00am that included frittata, homemade cinnamon buns, bacon, and sausages. After brunch everyone headed down the hill for free choice time and then an open swim at noon which was very popular given the warm weather. Lunch included chicken nuggets, French fries, soup, and a salad bar. During rest hour Bill took a group of Senior A1s and Junior Counselors wake surfing. They were an impressive group: All 7 got up and a few were able to drop the rope and carve into the wave. The afternoon consisted of some wacky games and activities including a massive slip and slide and obstacle course, all followed by an open swim. Dinner was cabin cookout where the boys ate hamburgers, veggie burgers and hot dogs at their cabins. In the evening, the boys enjoyed S’mores on the beach for dessert and their choice of open areas.
In closing, a few fun facts about our incredible staff. 100% of the eight top administrators have worked at the Camp before—and amazingly, all are members of the Miller/McMahon/Hale family! (For background on these folks click on here. Over 75% of all staff that work directly with the campers are returning and/or have gone to the camp. Finally, 90% of our counselors are Lifeguard certified, four have their Wilderness First Responder, and two are E.M.Ts.
A few notes about departure days. For those campers departing Saturday, July 10th, pick up will be between 9:30—11:00am. For campers departing Saturday, July 24th, pick up will be between 8:30—11:00am. We will be in touch about travel logistics for campers heading to airports for their trip home.
That’s all for now. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with questions.
Bill, Sabina, Ken, Ingrid, Preston, Jake, Quinn, and Charlotte
P.S. A reminder that you can view pictures from the summer (and even buy prints) by clicking on the following link or by going to the “Photos” link in the “In the Media” section of the moosilauke.com website. We strive to capture as many individual campers as possible each day, but the main goal is to provide for your viewing pleasure a “typical Moosilauke day.” We do our best to post pictures daily, Tuesday through Sunday. Finally, make sure you “like” us on Facebook and Instagram, @camp_moosilauke, since we will be posting videos and pictures every few days.