Hidden deep into the forest and by the water’s edge, is a magical place called Sky Pines. Although it’s just a 20-minute paddle or a 10-minute walk, when you’re there it feels like you’re a world away.
It’s a special cabin overnight, that you remember the rest of your life. It’s hard to explain how it’s such a unique experience to be there, even though you’ve been living with the same friends for weeks. As they say…location, location, location.
Beauty surrounds wherever you look. Soft lapping shores with waters that shimmer with the sunset. To your back, trees so tall and strong that it’s hard to see their tops. Look up to see the “star light, star bright, first star I see tonight”.
The favorite way to travel to Sky Pines is by our 70-year-old Grumman canoes. Three to a boat, with strokes in unison. Upon landing at the rock wall, gear is unloaded and brought into the tents. First things first – campfire building. Tipi or log cabin, and then somebody usually asks, “can you really make a fire by rubbing two sticks together?”
Trav knows the answers to whatever is asked. Not only is he a creative and amazing Director of Outdoor Education, but he’s also one of the smartest people we know. He teaches all the essentials of camping, plus how to skip stones and the best way to cast a fishing pole. He’s an incredible cook too, all in a cast iron pan.
While Trav preps the meal, it’s time for snorkeling. There’s lots to see at the Sky II waterfront. Fish by the dozens, including a mama and her babies.
Chicken tonight, with green peppers and onions. Cheese, rice and plenty of seasoning. Everything tastes better over the open fire. S’mores too.
After the dinner, it’s the listening hour. The sounds of the loons, fish splashing, and owls hooting in the trees. It you stay perfectly still, you hear every bit of it, like never before. The sky is filled with twinkling stars, and it’s fun to lay back and talk about what you can see with a bit of imagination.
Sitting by the campfire, Trav tells a story. Sometimes he starts with the phrase, “Sitting around the campfire…” Then each person gets to add two words, and so on. Sometimes he engages them in “roses and thorns”, where each boy shares something he likes as well as what he might not particularly care for.
As you “chill” in the tent, you realize that your friends have become your brothers. It’s calm and relaxed here, and natural to feel appreciative.
Some wake at dawn, while others wait for the smell of the bacon, eggs and hash browns. Yum!
We clean up the site, and paddle on back. Everyone smells like a bonfire...what could be better?