All trips are back, happy and tired. It was rainy in New Hampshire, but hot and muggy in Canada. Here at camp it was somewhere in between.
The brave men of Mt. Washington hiked for a good five hours, before it started to pour. By 5pm they were down the mountain and hunkered in at the Joe Dodge Lodge. JD Lodge is part of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) network of hospitality huts. There you get a bed and a couple of hearty, hot meals.
The evening was pleasant and relaxing, with board games, reading, bracelet making and just plain hanging out. The guys got to meet some of the hikers who were conquering the entire Appalachian Trail, and several commented to Cory about our excellent behavior.
The rain was still pouring after breakfast, so they passed on the Square Ledge Hike. Instead Blake Shep led a yoga class (to the surprise of his mother), with help from a YouTube video. From there it was pizza and a movie, with storms overhead.
The Lake Winnipesaukee (Winny) trip also was a lot of fun, despite the dreary weather. The boys still could go on the MS Mt. Washington excursion ship, but the beach wouldn’t work. Of course, they loved the boardwalk and arcade.
With high winds and a questionable forecast, it was again decided to forgo the tent overnight. Instead they played laser tag at a really cool indoor center and went go-carting even through the puddles. Next the movies, McD’s, and home sweet home, wet and tired.
Our international travelers returned, after several days in Canada. The six-hour drive was well worth the effort for this fabulous fifth-year camper trip. Quebec is amazing and very different for our boys. French is the native language, and very little English is spoken there.
They toured the Old City, with historic landmarks, quaint shops, cafes, and dozens of street performers. A highlight was watching The Changing of the Guard at La Citadel Quebec. Montmorency Falls, higher than Niagara, was incredible. Mist filled the air as the water furiously crashed 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 were especially interesting. Delicious homemade bread with a smear of maple butter came at the end of the tour.
Maple syrup is used in many of the delicious dishes in Quebec. Other popular treats included Beaver Tales (fried dough with Nutella and banana), gelato, and waffles on a stick. Not so popular was the Spruce Beer Soda. They said it was like drinking a pine tree.
Perhaps the most impactful part of the trip 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.
The Chateau Frontenac, the iconic grand hotel of Quebec, was majestic and beautiful to see. The Skylemar crew stayed at a university instead, where they had some interesting "floor-mates". First, there were the girls of Camp Pinecliffe. Even more fascinating were members of the Team Denmark, Team Belgium and Team New Zealand Underwater Hockey Teams. Who would have guessed that the timing of this trip coincided with the Underwater Hockey World Championship which happened to be in Quebec? Then again, who would have known that this is a world-wide sport? But check it out: www.cmas.org/hockey. It's awesome!