• Camp Pemigewassett
  • Newsletters 2015
  • Summer 2015
  • Trips

A Day in the Life of the Trip Program

Summer 2015: Newsletter # 4

Thursday, July 16, 2015. Perhaps the best day thus far in the 2015 season – meteorologically speaking. High pressure built into the region the day before, and under the crystal clear skies, the night of the 15th was a chilly one – temperatures down into the forties in our valley, the upper thirties a bit further north. It’s a good thing you sent your boys with sufficient bedding! The morning Polar Bear dip was brisk, to say the least, what with a vigorous, clearing-weather gale whipping down the lake. It sent our usually stoic senior staff dashing from immersion to the bathhouse, whooping and squealing like four-year-olds. We must admit that our own aged toes were a mite numbed.

SunriseHike
Sunrise hike for seniors

By the time reveille blew at 7:30, twenty-one Senior campers (including all of Senior 3 and Lake Tent) had been up for four hours. They had been awakened by Trip Counselors Harry Morris and Matt Bolton and Head of Staff Ben Walsh for a sunrise hike up Mt. Cube, a 2800-foot peak just to our northwest, right behind Pemi Hill. Travelling in two vans, they arrived at the Rivendell Trailhead at 3:45 in full darkness, working their way by headlamp up through the woods while the stars blazed unblinkingly high above the leafy canopy. They arrived at the South Summit at about 5, with the eastern sky already consumed in a molten glow, and by quarter past the hour they were ensconced on the quartzite ledges of the North Summit, settling down to watch the sun pop up over the horizon at about 5:20. The temperature was somewhere in the low to mid forties and, with a northwest wind tearing through at 30 or 35 miles per hour, all were glad to have brought the requisite fleeces and Gore-tex jackets. Noshing on Pop-Tarts (not Lewis and Clark grub but sufficient to the moment), they sat there in modest awe as the Trippies boiled up water for hot chocolate and, before Big Sol was more than four or five degrees off the eastern hills, they joined in a steaming toast to brotherhood, effort, and natural beauty. Perhaps they will fill you in on some more details. Meanwhile, we sorely wish we’d been up there with them.

Mooselauke
Optional climb up Mt. Moosilauke

The day featured a big Baker Valley swim meet at Camp Walt Whitman, just up Cape Moonshine Road from us. With so many boys participating in all age groups, it didn’t make sense to organize any routine cabin-based day trips, so Trip Counselor Michael Kerr took names after breakfast for an optional climb up Mt. Moosilauke. The peak is one of those required for a Brave or Chief Award, so a number of stalwart souls signed up for the outing: Ben Caspersen, Mac Hadden, Pierce Haley, Jackson Morrell, and Drew Johnstone. The van trip to the trailhead at the Dartmouth Outing Club Ravine Lodge took about thirty-five minutes, after which they stretched their legs, donned their packs, and headed on up the Gorge Brook Trail, one of the pleasantest in the vicinity for its moderate grade as it meanders along a stream tumbling down over moderate boulders in the shade of white birches. A couple of hours of effort put them on top of the biggest free-standing mountain in New Hampshire, the bane of Appalachian Trail through-hikers for the fact that all of the altitude they gain climbing up to the summit from the little mountain hamlet of Glencliff (2000 feet up to 4800 feet) they loose on the northeast side as they drop down into Kinsman Notch. As our party lunched behind the windbreak provided by the ruined foundations of the old Tip-Top House Hotel, they could see the Adirondacks some ninety miles to the west. The Franconia Range, ten miles to the northeast, looked close enough to touch. After downing their repast of pepperoni, cheddar, crackers, and cookies (with some carrots and celery thrown in for fat-free health), they set off down the path of the old Carriage Road by which Victorian tourists use to ascend to the Tip–Top House in, yes, horse-drawn conveyances. Descending a newly-cut trail just south of the old Snapper Ski Trail, they were met by Driver Ken Morrell and, after a brief stop at a local establishment for soda and candy, they made their way back to camp, tired but happy.

Speaking of tired but happy, a select group of Lower Intermediates arrived back at camp just before lunch, accompanied by Trip Counselor Kim Bradshaw and Assistant Counselor Zach Popkin. Nicky Harwich, Lucas Caramanica, Gus Bachner, Ben Popkin, Nelson Snyder, and Nicky Paris had just spent three days in the Waterville Range, scaling Mt. Osceola in the process. Your correspondent had actually dropped them off Tuesday afternoon amidst showers forecast to be light and fleeting but that had actually settled in with a modest vengeance. Despite the adversity, they managed to set up camp alongside the Mad River that runs down into Waterville Valley and enjoyed a tasty supper and a dry night’s sleep. Wednesday, under the very same clearing skies mentioned above, they made their way up the steep trail that scales the mountain’s eastern buttress, lunching on the top of the East Peak as the last of the clouds scurried off towards Maine. The way back to the campsite took them along the rocky, spruce-studded shores of the Greeley Ponds, two small but pristine mountain lakes tucked into the steep-sided ravine at the head of the Mad River. There are few bodies of water in the state that are as appealing in their remote beauty, and generally trustworthy reports are that the scene was much appreciated by our boys. After a chilly night wrapped up snuggly in their tents, they made it back to camp for lunch on the 16th with lively tales of a deluge survived and a rugged peak ascended. Altogether three days well spent!

Right after said lunch, Andrew McDonald, TH Pearson, and the boys of Upper 3 set off for Greenleaf Hut, high on the shoulder of Mt. Lafayette (5200 feet), kingpin of that same Franconia Range that our crew on Moosilauke could all but touch from the southwest. Ben Burnham, Reed Cecil, Jake Cronin. Teddy Foley, Harrison Green, Michael Kelly, Miles Schiff Stein, and Patrick Snell took the Bridle Path up to the hut, where they thoroughly enjoyed the fabled fare and hospitality of the Appalachian Mountain Club Croo before heading up towards the summit of Lafayette to watch a spectacular sunset. Few pleasures, in our humble opinion, surpass those to be found when you spend a night in a high mountain hostel as the night wind pulls at the eaves and window frames and the stars sparkle brightly overhead in numbers beyond calculation. Dawn brought another gourmet meal and the infamous “blanket-folding-skit” which educates all guests in the official AMC way of handing bedding. After brushing their teeth, filling their water bottles, and re-stuffing their packs, our boys set off again up Lafayette, its summit a mile away and a good thousand feet above the hut. From there, the Franconia Ridge Trail, much of it above tree line, led them down over Mt. Lincoln and Little Haystack, with arresting views of the cliffs of Cannon Mountain and North and South Kinsman to the west (not to mention Mt. Moosilauke) and the whole of the remote Pemigewassett Wilderness to the east. They could easily see Mt. Washington anchoring the Presidential Range, with the tracks of the Cog Railway (all too easy a way up the Northeast’s highest mountain!) clearly visible. Ten years ago, the boys would have seen smoke from the coal-fired steam engines that have gradually been replaced by bio-diesels. What is lost in a scenic sense has, of course, been gained in sustainability.

Upper Five
Upper Five

Hmmmm. In following Andy, TH, and the boys across the ridge, we seem to have gotten to July 17th. Let’s backtrack to the 16th, when the same van that dropped them at Lafayette Place for their ascent to the hut traveled back down Franconia Notch to the scenic Flume, where it picked up the residents of Upper 5, who had begun the same route the day before. Mssrs. Meinke, Seniff, Adams, Allen, Beesley, Bowman, Edlin, Franciskovich, Jones, Katcher, Mangan, and O’Brien may have enjoyed a slightly different menu at the hut than Upper 3, but they too, after supper, pored over the old log books – and found, no doubt, the autographs and comments of Pemi boys, counselors, and even directors of years, decades, and even centuries past. There’s a brotherhood of mates on the day’s trail. There is also the brotherhood of boys experiencing the same rugged paths and gorgeous vistas seventy years after their iPhone-less predecessors. It’s hard to say which is the more compelling!

It feels like we’re nearing our word limit, so let it be said that July 16th also featured al fresco suppers across the lake for Junior 3 and Lower 3, a night at the shelter on Pemi Hill for Lower 6, and a pre-Allagash whitewater training paddle on the Pemigewassett River for Will Raduziner, Andre Altherr, Kevin Green, Patterson Malcolm, Greg Nacheff, Andrew Virden, Ezra Nugiel, and Sam Berman. Under the vigilant eye of staff members Reed Harrigan (former White Mountain National Forest Ranger) and Matt Bolton (who will lead the trip to Maine), these eight put the finishing touches on weeks of training for the Allagash. The next day, Reed and Matt took out the other eight participants who equally enjoyed a fun and edifying afternoon on the water, getting comfortable with the conditions that will prevail under Churchill Dam when they put in just before this reaches you. As for their progress beginning Monday down their wilderness waterway, more perhaps to follow – either from us or from the horses’ own mouths!

So, there’s a glimpse of July 16, 2015 – an “average day” for the Pemi Trip Program, with something between a third and two fifths of the camp population involved. Oh, by the way, we also do sports, nature studies, the arts, and music here! We trust, though, that some wonderful memories were made outdoors on that eventful Thursday in the White Mountains. We also suspect there were some valuable lessons either learned or reaffirmed: lessons about fastidious preparation; about personal commitment and perseverance; about patience and encouragement; about both respecting and appreciating the remarkably beautiful setting in which we find ourselves. It was not at all a bad way to spend twenty-four hours!

  • Tom and Danny

 

You may enjoy these, as well

Johanna Zabawa – Assistant Director

I am excited to share the news that Johanna Zabawa has joined the directorial team ...

The Distance Swim

Generations of Pemi campers have swum their distance, helping to establish this camp tradition as ...

Pemi Hut Trips: Part Two

If you missed Part One of our hut trip series, focused on Greenleaf Hut, here ...

Pemi Hut Trips: Part One

From their earliest days as Juniors, Pemi campers take to the trails to experience the ...

Cans from Campers Program Receives National Award

New Orleans, LA – February 6, 2024 Camp Pemigewassett is proud to announce that our Cans from Campers ...

Defining Photos of 2023

As we count down to the end of 2023, we want to take a moment to ...

Alumni News & Notes – Winter 2023

Greetings, Pemi Family! As we steadily march towards the end of an eventful 2023, I’m ...

Pemi West 2023

Pemi West provides former and new campers alike with the opportunity to hone their wilderness ...

Community Service & Engagement at Pemi

The Pemi experience provides innumerable opportunities for boys to have fun, try new activities, improve ...

2023 Newsletter #7

Greetings from Pemi! Hard as it is to believe, we’re well into the final ...

2023 Newsletter #6

Camp Pemi and our friends from Camp Tecumseh on Lake Winnipesaukee have engaged in a ...

2023 Newsletter #5

Hello from Wentworth! The second session of Pemi’s 116th summer continues to benefit from ...

2023 Newsletter #4

Greetings from sunny Wentworth! The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and it’s ...

2023 Newsletter #3

Hello from the shores of the expanded Lower Baker Pond! It’s been quite a ...

2023 Newsletter #2

Hello from the shores of Lower Baker Pond! On the heels of a wonderful celebration ...

2023 Newsletter #1

Greetings from Camp Pemigewassett! I’m thrilled to be sharing the first newsletter of the 2023 ...

2023 Pemi Staff

We’re under two days away from the opening of Pemi’s 116th summer! Our ...

Waiters & Camp Aides

As boys progress through their Pemi journey, the opportunities for new adventures and leadership increase. ...

Birthdays at Pemi

What could be better than getting to celebrate your birthday once a year, every year? ...

Reading After Taps

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever been around boys aged 8...

2022-2023 Pemi Board Updates

Last fall, Pemi’s Board of Directors welcomed two new members and also saw the ...

Defining Photos of 2022

As 2022 draws to a close and winter begins to rear its head in earnest across ...

2022 16s Trip

In many ways, the 2022 Pemi West trip could be described as a homecoming. Our first ...

Bertha Hofstra Fauver – September 23, 1920 – October 1, 2022

We are saddened to share the news that Bertha Fauver died on October 1, just one ...

115th Reunion Newsletter!

After a hugely successful 2022 season, including record attendance at our third annual Family Camp, members ...

fireworks at Camp Pemi

Welcome back Johanna Zabawa!

I’m thrilled to share that Johanna Zabawa, a veteran staff member and great-granddaughter of ...

Karl Grafton See – October 2, 1970-September 9, 2022

Karl Grafton See, consummate Pemi boy, counselor, and lifelong friend, has died in Duxbury, MA ...

banner image newsletter 8

2022 Newsletter #8

Greetings from Camp Pemigewassett! I’m writing, sadly, not from the placid shores of Lower ...

2022 Newsletter #6

Good afternoon from yet another beautiful day in Wentworth, The weather here at Pemi continues ...