Published June 14, 2019
Earlier this year, I was cleaning out a file drawer and came up a stack of Interims from the 1990s. It was super fun to be reminded of old pranks, projects and people. Among the gems I found was this article I had written in January 1996, when I was Saltash Mountain Camp director, about a wonderous trip that I took with a group in the southern Green Mts. The sentiments definitely predate general concern about climate change, but the sense of fun is certainly one that is still current.
That weather is not just something to be overcome, but often a gift to be revered, experienced and even enjoyed is a daily lesson at camp. Sometimes, if you are willing, weather can present you with opportunities or even adventures that may not come your way again.
An example of this happened this summer on a hiking trip that I took along the southern part of the Long Trail, on our way to a few days of canoeing at Somerset Reservoir. It had been wet, for sure, including one night when, in the comfort of our lean-to we were visited by one tremendously powerful thunderstorm after another moving through the mountains. But, on the day that I am thinking about, it was sunny and dry, and we had enjoyed a many hour mid-day break on the banks of Bourne Pond.
Just as we saddled up and headed out towards Stratton Pond where we were going to stay for the night, more rain started falling. We put on our ponchos, but there was no avoiding getting wet. Still, where I was in the hiking line, Nathaniel Damon, Lev Grossman-Spivak and Cloe Waters splashed in every puddle and made what could have been just a soggy trek a real event. And then we arrived at what is usually a brook, the thinnest of blue lines on my topo map. We found a river wider than SAM’s food shelter, with a current, and a depth up to our knees. There was no rock hopping across, we couldn’t even see the rocks. Actually, the decision-making part of the endeavor had already been gone through by the time I, at the end of the line, approached.
“We’re wet anyway, let’s just hold onto each other and wade through.”
I have to admit, to my adult temperament, it seemed kind of silly to be walking in water with my boots, but this was a group decision, so what the heck. It was what happened next that really struck a blow in the “deal with weather, don’t just go with it” sentiment. We were cold and wet, and it was late, but everyone seemed to be having fun pulling each other through this fast-moving water. Suddenly from nowhere there was expressed the thought,
“What if we put down our packs on the side, got into the middle of this river and just laid down, letting the current take us for a ride?”
It didn’t take long before everyone was in the water, boots, smiles and all, floating along. It was like a carnival ride, only we didn’t have to pay and so could stand and walk back up the stream at any time, getting the pleasure of that natural water chute again and again. It seemed like such a treat that all of us, separately and together as a group, were filled with delight. I know that the image of Sparkle Moore, Alix Rolle, Michelle Jimerson, Candiece Goodall, Kashina Sylvester, Izzy Hillock my co-leader, and Nathaniel, Lev and Chloe, their faces full of the enjoyment of the moment, is one that I will never forget.
Were you on that trip, smiling at being reminded of that day? I/We would love to hear from you! Email [email protected]
Posted in Saltash Mountain