It is our pleasure to send this second weekly letter home during summer 2013. Overall, life has been good at camp: the weather turned warm and sunny, a number of great outdoor adventure trips were completed, competition versus other camps is well underway, and we have had a number of exciting special events. Summer the way it ought to be!
Our first Monday was cloudy but warm. The day started with the Moose Bears waking the camp and then it was on to a breakfast of French Toast. After breakfast we had our first “Trick of the Day” segment that involved a Rubik’s Cube competition. Three intrepid groups of campers left Moose in the am for wilderness adventures. A volunteer group of Senior A2s (14-year-olds) went on a three-day backpacking trip that culminated in summiting Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington. At 6,288 feet, Washington is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and north of the Carolinas. The first day the boys hiked 3.8 miles up the Lowes and Randolph trails to the Perch RMC Shelter where they spent the night. The second day they hiked about 7 miles and in the process they summited Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington. That night they slept at the Hermit Lake shelter. The final day they hiked 2.5 miles out to the Pinkham Notch trailhead. Although low hanging clouds impeded the views from Washington, the trip was a huge success, and relatively rain-free.
Another group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) left Monday for a two day flat and white water canoe adventure. This trip, which we have been running for decades, was recently featured in Outside Magazine in the section titled “Best Trails: Best Canoe Trail.” Here is what they wrote: “One lake, two states, tons of wildlife, and 15 miles of rapids. And that’s just one day on the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which arcs across New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine. For a weekend sampler, put in at Umbagog Lake, the heart of the 25,650-acre Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, which straddles the Maine-New Hampshire line. Let the loons, bald eagles, and osprey overhead preoccupy you. But as you drift into the Androscoggin River, it’s time to re-engage: the 17 river miles to Pontook Dam are full of class I – III rapids.” The group left before breakfast and drove the two plus hours to Errol, NH, and Lake Umbagog. Around 1:00 the group packed their dry bags, tents, and food into their boats and canoed about 5 miles up the lake to their wilderness camp site. After setting up camp they ate a dinner of hamburgers and hot dogs before tucking into their tents and sleeping bags right as a drizzle began. The next day they paddled a total of 6 miles as they moved out of the lake and into the Androscoggin River. After portaging around the Errol damn they then ran an exciting stretch of class II rapids. Two canoes tipped providing a few campers a fun water ride before they reunited with their boats and performed T-rescues to empty them of water.
Monday also saw a group of volunteer Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) head off for a two day Presidential backpacking trip of their own. On the first day, the boys hiked the steep 3+ mile trail that leads directly to the Liberty Springs campsite. After a camp stove dinner they dove into their tents due to a drizzle. The next day the boys normally traverse 3.5 miles across the ridge line summiting Little Haystack, Lincoln and Lafayette in the process, and then power down the Greenleaf trail back to their van. A steady rain, however, caused the safety conscious counselors to alter plans: they did a quick summit of Lafayette and then decided to come back down the way they came. As always, the motto at Moose is: “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”
Monday morning also saw a group of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) venture out on an all day bike to the Wentworth Waterhole and back. Another trip on Monday involved all the Junior Bs (eight- and nine-year-olds) heading to the Baker Cliffs Waterhole and then to Fat Bob’s for ice cream. The final trip, and the most “fluffy” of them all, was the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) invading Hanover for dinner and a movie. In the afternoon at Moose, after a lunch of chicken sandwiches, French fries, clam chowder, and salad bar, we competed in a number of tournaments versus other camps: our fifteen-and-unders played Ultimate; our 13s had a tennis tournament; our 12s had a lacrosse tournament; and our 11s competed in basketball. As is our practice with all competition, every boy who signed up for a team got ample playing time.
Tuesday the weather behaved until lunch so we had a full morning’s worth of scheduled activities. Tennis was very popular. Speaking of tennis, this is the first year we have adopted a few elements of the new QuickStart Tennis program being promoted by the USTA. The biggest change involves using new low compression balls for kids under 10 and/or beginners since they are easier to hit because they are lighter and don’t bounce as high as regular balls. Lunch was BLTs, soup, and salad. After lunch the dining hall was rocking to a jump roping exhibition and then a Josh-led sing-a-long to the camp favorite “There was a crazy Moose.” During lunch we had a rain shower but luckily it ended so we could come down the hills for afternoon activity periods. The rain did cause us to cancel a 10s hockey tournament but we did get in two 13s soccer games and an open bike trip to Orford Beach. After a taco fest dinner we had a brief evening activities period before everyone headed up the hill to their cabins.
Wednesday was sunny and hot–just how we like it. The waterfront was busy all day, especially waterskiing and wakeboarding where a few kids got up and around the lake without falling for the first time. Our 5 stand-up paddle (Yolo) boards were also in constant use, as were our windsurfers and sailboats since there was a nice steady breeze. Competition on Wednesday included 12s and 15s baseball games. Dinner Wednesday was a sandwich fest down on the field. The highlight of the evening period was a musical performance by about 25 campers and staff of the song “When I’m Gone.” Stay tuned for a video clip!
Thursday was another perfect, sunny, hot day. We celebrated the 4th of July in a number of ways: a late breakfast; a history trivia contest; a break dancing exhibition (to show the boys some moves for later in the evening); an afternoon of zany activities (more later); a cookout with our neighboring girl’s camp for dinner; and then a “social” that involved dancing, and for those not so inclined, tether ball and Frisbee. In camp in the morning the boys had two free choice periods during which the waterfront was the hub of activities. In the afternoon the whole camp took part in a series of zany competitions. Crowd favorites included “Boston Tea Party” (lots of throwing of stuff) and “Greased Watermelon”, and of course everyone loved the Sno-cones. And the highlight of the 4th was the fireworks extravaganza put on by Todd and Charlie.
Friday was another hot, sunny day. Yeah!!! Trips on Friday included an all ages climbing adventure to Quechee and all the Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) heading off to Baker Cliff’s for swimming and sunning and to Fat Bob’s for ice cream. The most exciting trip by far Friday was the white water kayaking adventure to the Deerfield River in MA. To be eligible for the trip campers needed to have a solid flat water roll and a bomb proof wet exit. The boys began the adventure by working the eddy lines in the Zoar Gap area. After lunch they ran about 5 miles of class II whitewater. The highlight of the trip was the fact that all the senior age group paddlers executed perfect rolls in the white water. Competition on Friday included a 10s baseball game and a 15s lacrosse tournament. Fan favorite meatball subs were the main course at lunch and our chicken and sausage grill was a hit at dinner. Evening activities included a Tall Tale around the campfire courtesy of Port.
Saturday’s focus was the Baker Valley Athletic Tournament that involved Moose and two other camps playing competition all day long. Campers had the option to play on one of 5 age group teams in soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, and Ultimate Frisbee. No previous experience required! When/if boys were not playing on teams they had a free choice day. Some took advantage of the freedom by spending the day in or on the lake, while others opted for a bike trip, bouldering, or arts and crafts. And, a few campers even decided to spend time on the beach with a good book. Highlights from the evening included a pizza dinner and the option of a movie with homemade popcorn.
That’s it for the first ten days. Enjoy the summer!
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid