THEY’RE BACK! The last bus of happy, exhausted Skylemar men has returned. Trip Week was fantastic, but it sure is great to have them home sweet home.
Although we go on trips all summer, the Big Trips are something everyone gets excited about. Each year you return, something new and exciting awaits!
First year campers went to Cannon Mountain. They took the tram up, enjoyed an incredible view, and took the alpine slide down. At the bottom was the New England Ski Museum which had some interesting things to see. They set up the tents first - then headed to dinner and a movie next. Luckily, despite the rain, they stayed warm and dry all night.
Delicious hot breakfast in the morning, but the weather was still damp. Nevertheless, they headed to Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves. It’s a maze of steep-walled gorges and rugged rock caverns guided by boardwalks, bridges and stairs. You may remain on the boardwalks or accept the challenge of "caving" in the Dungeon or through the Lemon Squeezer. They came back to camp dirty and smiley, and headed straight to the Shower House.
First stop on the Boothbay trip was the Old Lincoln County Jail, built in 1811, and then on to Fort Edgecomb. The harbor tour took them past lighthouses, which nowadays are automated. They saw lots of seals and were fascinated to learn that these marine mammals eat 50 pounds of fish per day. They also learned about lobstering, and how each lobsterman has his own distinctive, color-schemed buoy markers.
Lobster was a dinner option, but there were lots of other choices as well. Next day was rainy, so they headed to the Maine State Aquarium. It’s a really special place because they have a touching pool – perfect for boys who don’t sit still. Mini golf, ice cream and “The Lion King” – lots of fun to fit into two days.
The Mount Washington climbers have plenty to be proud of. They hiked the world-famous Tuckerman’s Ravine, despite the misty rain. When finally reaching the summit, they had a cup full of the world's greatest-tasting water.
They spent the night in the Joe Dodge Lodge, which is a rustic bunkhouse with meals included. It’s was mac & cheese and BBQ ribs night, so the boys were pleased. Next morning, they woke to a fantastic breakfast, hiked some more and then ended up at the movies
The Winny trip (aka Lake Winnipesaukee) began on the MS Washington sightseeing boat. They enjoyed the boardwalk (with arcade) and beach at Endicott Rock State Park. White Lake Speedway had super-fun go-karts and laser tag as well. They watched the new Spiderman movie, and had smores by the campfire.
The fifth-year campers are always amazed at how French it really is in Quebec. Almost no English is spoken there. For most, it was their first time out of the country.
They toured the Old City, with historic landmarks, quaint shops, cafes and dozens of street performers. Best one was the lady who hula-hooped a ring of fire while on a tight rope. A highlight was watching "The Changing of the Guard" at La Citadelle of Quebec. It’s a precisely choreographed ceremony involving the inspection of the troops by the officers, music by the Royal 22e Regiment Band, and the regimental mascot, Batisse the goat.
Montmorency Falls, higher than Niagara, were incredible. Mist fills the air as the water furiously crashes nearby. The Plains of Abraham, a famous French and Indian War battle site, was perfect for a barbecue. The Chez Marie Bakery’s outdoor brick ovens are especially interesting. Delicious homemade bread with a smear of maple butter came at the end of the tour. George and Max spent time talking to Marie, who explained that the business has been in her family for over 100 years.
Most unforgettable was the Basilica of Sainte Anne de Beaupre. The Basilica is known around the world as a place of healing, and each year thousands make pilgrimage. Hanging on the gilded walls and ceilings are hundreds of crutches and wheelchairs no longer needed by those who were healed. It’s such an incredibly moving testament of human faith, that those of any or no religion feel touched with emotion when entering The Shrine.
They got a taste of college life, staying in a dorm at the University of Laval. Most stuck to Canadian food - Poutine, Beaver Tales (fried dough with Nutella and bananas), and waffles on a stick. They tried Spruce Beer Soda. It tasted like drinking a pine tree.
The 6th year Senior Trip was designed by the boys themselves. They went to a waterpark, and then basically spent the afternoon shopping. That’s our guys!
So glad to have everyone home. It was way too quiet here without them.
Heard this today…
“It’s been a great ride and I’ve loved every minute. The greatest people in the world are right here at Skylemar. But now it’s time for me to go home”, said Pap Pap.
Shep’s brother will be driving him back to Ohio tomorrow. At Pap Pap’s request, we’ll tell the kids after he goes.
Our heartfelt thanks to every camper and staff member who shared their warmth, positive energy, laughter and fun with him.
Only at Skylemar… where it’s not only cool, but it’s also a gift to care.