It is our pleasure to write this third letter chronicling summer 2013. As you will note, it was a great week: warm weather, and mostly dry; a plethora of awesome wilderness trips; plenty of athletic competition for those inclined; and a few well placed special events to break up the routine. As always, summer the way it ought to be.
For most boys, Sunday, July 7th, was a typical lazy Moose Sunday morning that included a brunch with omelets to order and then some free time down the hill until our swim/scrub-up before lunch. A few intrepid campers and counselors, however, were up and out of camp by 7:15 am for a day waterskiing, wakeboarding, and wake-skiing on Lake Winnipesaukee. As a treat (and incentive) for some of our more skilled waterman we rented a very powerful boat so that the boys could ply their skills at higher speed, on bigger wakes, and on a larger lake. In camp, after a Thanksgiving style lunch of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and rolls, it was time for the perennial favorite, a camp wide game of Capture the Flag. Post game there was a free swim and then everyone headed up the hills for a cabin cookout night where each cabin cooked their own burgers and hot dogs.
Monday, July 8th was a busy day on all fronts. The most anticipated trip was the Senior A1 (fifteen-year-old) three-day capstone backpacking adventure to the Mahoosuc Range. After a long drive the boys proceeded to trek on the Notch Trail portion of the Appalachian Trail in Maine. After only a mile one of the boys was not feeling well so they did the smart thing and headed back to the trailhead so the boy could be brought back to camp. (The camper turned out to just have a stomachache but it is always better to play it safe.) Given the change in plans the group camped that night at the trailhead so they could get an early start in the am. The next day the group hiked 2.2 miles up the Notch Trail and then another 3.7 miles on the AT. This traverse included the famous “hardest mile on the AT”. Here is what Backpacker Magazine wrote about this section of trail: “Mahoosuc Notch is a glacier-carved gash winding through precipitous granite cliffs. For added drama, it’s filled halfway with immense blocks of schist cleaved from the walls above by countless freeze-and-thaw cycles. Tree roots snake through the clefts and crevices. Water gurgles somewhere beneath the boulders but is seldom seen. Even on blindingly sunny days, it remains a chilly, Gothic place hiding pockets of snow and ice. In the best conditions, the route is still so challenging that backpackers consider it a point of honor to keep their packs on while clambering up or shimmying under the gargantuan boulders. Be forewarned: The Notch is a graveyard of Nalgene bottles, trekking poles, and anything else not securely stashed inside a pack. Rain covers, knuckles, and nerves often emerge a bit more ragged on the other side.” That night the boys camped at the Speck Pond tent platforms. At over 4000 feet Speck Pond is one of the highest bodies of water in Maine. The final day the group hiked 3.6 miles out to their waiting ride to a pizza emporium and then back to camp.
Monday also saw our third Senior B (thirteen-year-old) two day Mt. Lafayette backpacking adventure. This group was blessed with decent weather, which allowed them to complete the full traverse across the ridgeline, peaking 4 summits in the process. Other trips Monday included a volunteer mountain biking ride to Indian Pond in the am, and two other groups venturing to Lake Winnipesaukee for the wakeboard and water ski fest. Rain in the afternoon caused us to postpone two tournaments (14s basketball and 12s tennis tournaments) and also the Inter B (eleven-year-olds) trip to Baker Cliffs and Fat Bob’s ice cream. After a spaghetti dinner, Bill, Sabina, and their kids livened up the evening by performing an astounding feat of mind reading.
One of the more enlightening activities Monday involved all the Counselors-in-Training taking part in a “True Colors” seminar (moderated by a past Moose parent). As the True colors web site outlines, 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 were put in teams to work together in a manner in-synch with all their personalities. To a person the boys found the morning informative and fun.
Tuesday was a perfect day for the annual rite of passage in which all the Inter As (twelve-year-olds) canoed twelve miles down the Connecticut River to Hanover. As is our practice, the boys’ hard work on the water was rewarded with an all you can eat pizza dinner and a movie with snacks (Monster’s University). The boys made record time (about 3-1/2 hours), due in part to a swift current. In the morning Tuesday, Bill met with the CITs and took them through a PowerPoint presentation on the classic theories of leadership and leadership styles. After Monday’s True Colors exercise the CITs were in a great place to think about their own emerging leadership styles. Tuesday also saw our Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) spend the morning doing trail maintenance with Port (before a diner lunch reward), and a group of Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) heading out on a mountain biking adventure. Competition in the afternoon included an all ages swim meet and a 10s basketball tournament. In camp highlights in the afternoon included the introduction of two new projects in woodshop (a birdhouse and a napkin holder) and a film session in which campers helped Bill and Aaron film parts of a new camp video. In the evening dodge ball and golf were very popular.
Wednesday’s highlights included an 11s soccer tournament, a Junior B (eight-and nine-year-olds) overnight at our log cabin on the point (complete with S’mores), and another Senior B (thirteen-year-olds) voluntary mountain bike adventure to Indian Pond. Rain in the evening caused us to postpone the Junior A (ten-year-olds) overnight to our Pioneer Camp on the Baker River. The favorite meal Wednesday seemed to be the lunch that included Caesar salad with chicken, homemade mac-n-cheese, and chicken noodle soup.
Thursday two of our classic and most beloved trips left camp. At 7:30am a new group of Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) ventured to Erroll, NH, to paddle Lake Umbagog and the class II rapids on the Androscoggin River (described in detail in the previous letter home). Later in the morning all the Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) began a successful ascent of Mt. Moosilauke (all 4,802 feet), which culminated later in an evening spent in the bunkhouse at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. The structure, which is made out of massive native spruce trees, was originally built as a ski lodge in the 1930s, and is currently staffed by Dartmouth students. Thursday also saw another cabin of Junior Bs (eight- and nine-year-olds) cook dinner over an open fire and overnight at the log cabin at the Point. Competition on Thursday included all ages archery and track meets, and a 12s lacrosse game at night.
Thursday also included a few magical moments that make camp what it is: in the afternoon track meet we had one boy win the shot put but the most excited boy was the one who tried the event for the very first time; at dinner two brothers from Florida took over Bill’s role of leading announcements and they did it with panache–including synchronized dance steps; and finally, at the end of dinner, one of the older campers put a seat in the center of the dining hall, donned a scarf and reading glasses, and began to read poetry to an enthralled camp. The fact that the poetry came from a book purportedly authored by a cat and titled “I Would Pee on That” did nothing to diminish the erudite nature of the reading!
And Friday was a sunny, warm T.M.D. (“typical Moosilauke day”) that included everything from lax and dodge ball tournaments, to a rock climbing trip, to a session at a natural water hole, to a cookout for the whole camp, to a tall tale around a campfire for those so inclined during the evening.
That’s all for now. Please be in touch if you have questions.
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid