S'mores, sunsets, and fireflies! (Sessions 3 & 4, July 3)

By Sandy Schenck

Campers and staff have returned from a fantastic Camp-Out!  They had lots of fun and adventures, and some good food thrown in for extra measure.  On Camp-Out, we go to some places around the Preserve that we don’t always have time for on mentor hikes, so it’s really exciting for everyone to get to explore the Preserve a bit more.  One group hiked up to Cat’s Knob, and then over to Peggy’s Rock; another group started out at South Prong, and then the next day, they went over to Prayer Rock.  Both groups found traces of bear—a bear-scratched tree, fresh bear prints, and bear scat… but no bear (so no Grand Slam—yet!!  We’ll see what happens in the next few days….)   One group started out hiking up to Peggy’s Knob, where they found (and ate) lots of blueberries; the next day, they headed to Joe’s Pool, where they had a good time splashing around in the water.  A couple of groups passed through Turkey Field, where, they report, they were visited by lots of woodland creatures, including a skunk one night (but fortunately, no spraying incidents!).  Groups who spent one of their nights at Hemlock Field had a great time playing in the Green River; the first night, the group staying there also enjoyed fresh rainbow trout, caught and cooked up right there on the spot.  Both nights, groups loved seeing the blanket of fireflies on the field—a spectacle provided by nature.

Campers and staff loved Camp-Out!  and here are a few of their favorite things:

“the food” (got that several times), “s’more’s,” “watching the fireflies in Hemlock Field” (got that several times, too!), “dinner and sunset on Long Rock” (ditto),  “getting to know our brother cabin better,” “sitting around the campfires at night and telling stories,” “the hiking part,” “waking up and seeing Biscuit (the directors’ dog) galloping through the campsite, and thinking he was a bear!”, “the giant moth I found,” “hiking was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed sitting around the fire at Upper Bald, and the stories,” “running the gauntlet at Long Rock” (the “gauntlet” is kind of a rock maze up at the end of Long Rock), “the Balds,” “sleeping,” “swimming in Joe’s Pool,” “the first hike, because it was really intense and fun!”, “it didn’t rain!”, “being in the woods,” “my hammock,” “sleeping outside,” “hiking a lot,” “pita-pizzas,” “playing in the Green River,” “it was fun,” and, “um, everything!” (got that one a lot, too!)

After lunch—a hotdog cookout—and rest hour, we all jumped back into the swing of regular activities.  In archery, campers got to shoot on the walking course—a series of targets on a trail that goes through the woods next to the standing archery range.  They pretended like they were defending the GRP from a group of marauding Huns….  In fly-fishing, campers were casting in the lake; one camper had a monster battle with a gigantic trout.  Maybe next time!  Canoers were out on the lake, practicing their strokes—and then they tried a submerged-canoe race; it turns out, you can’t go very far in a submerged canoe.  Campers in outdoor skills practiced their stalking, spying on activities like fencing.

After dinner—chicken pot pie, beans and squash (fresh from the farm), salad bar, rolls, and homemade apple pie and vanilla ice cream—campers and staff settled into the Lodge to watch a movie, The Princess Bride.  You can find pictures from the past couple of days here, while they head off to bed to get some much-needed sleep!