Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Day 15: Summer Camp Memories

Last month, I went down to a childhood favorite of mine.  It was a camp I attended for three years.  The reason I went down there is because it was being decommissioned.  Girl Scouts has sold the property.  They sold it for way less than it was worth.  They sold over a mile and a half of shoreline on the Lake of the Ozarks for $1.5 million.  The developer that bought it, it's going to make a lot of money off of it.

That's not my point of this post though.
My point is to share some of my favorite camp memories.
I loved this place.  I looked at it as my escape from my cigarette smoking step dad for a couple of weeks. 

Camp Oakledge

I attended three summers there, doing a different program each summer. 
The first summer I went I did a swimming program.  We spent half the day in the pool.
It was amazing.  We did all the other amazingly fun things too.

The next year, I did camping and canoeing.
We got to canoe all over the lake!
We went into a cave on the canoe.
We were able to go get ice cream at one of the lake front restaurants.
We canoed to Mosquito Hill and spent the night.

The last year I went, I did Outpost.
It was rough.
We did not have cabins, we had tents.
We did not have bathrooms or latrines, we had a hole.
(I cheated and used the latrines, I just couldn't go in a hole)
We made all of our food except for maybe a meal or two over the campfire.
It was awesome.

So scroll down for some stories.....

Driving down the dusty, crooked road.
The lake.
On the dock, someone left their glasses.
Out at Elmer's Cove.  Dock seems kinda pointless on dry land?
This story doesn't really involve me.  It does involve my camp hero though. 
In Girl Scouts, Counselor do not go by their real name.  They have "camp" names.
One counselor, her name was Buzz, she had a twin sister name Bowie. 
She became my camp hero on a hike out to Elmer's Cove.  It was about 3/4 of a mile jaunt from the main camp.
She came upon a copperhead and it was a nasty little fella.  She killed it and became my hero.
Poisonous snakes are scary. 
At the decommissioning she was there.  I was tempted to go tell her she was my hero for killing a copperhead, but I didn't.  Because that would have been awkward.


For my first two years, I stayed in Lichen Hill. 
They just separated the programs and they all had their own units.

This is the hill we had to climb to get to the main camp.  The picture doesn't do it justice.
It's steep.
We got fans in the dining hall! 
This was the original flagpole area.  There used to be rocks that looked like steps.  It was one of my favorite places in camp.
I thought it was magical.

The hike up to Look Out Point brings me to another story.

During my Outpost session, we were required to do a survival night. 
Each Scout was by themselves.  We each packed our own bags and were only allowed to take certain items. We were allowed to bring a sleeping bag, change of clothes, bug spray and sunscreen.

We were provided a tarp, rope and matches and our food for the evening.
I could not get my fire started.  I tried for an hour.  It would go and then die; repeatedly.  I was getting hungry.  I already had the rest of my “camp” set up.  I had created a mini shelter with my tarp and set my sleeping bag on it.
I got this brilliant idea.  Bug spray is flammable.  I have bug spray.  I can get my fire started with bug spray.
So I got a little flame going and doused it with bug spray.  Sprayed the wood with bug spray.  I had an awesome fire going.
I made my food on it.  It was one of those foil dinner type things.  Hamburger meat and veggies.  Nothing exciting.  But it was food.
I took a bite of it and spat it back out.
It tasted like bug spray.

Rappelling was one of the adventure programs the camp offered.  I had done it before but never off of a cliff.  As a teen, I was not afraid of heights or falling.  The picture below shows the platform.  The picture below that shows what it looks like when you are rappelling.  It looks like you are going directly into the lake.  You aren't though, there is another cliff below.

Back then, we didn’t have to wear helmets.  We had our harnesses, which we tied ourselves.  Much more independent back then. 
I went down a few times and raced back up to go again. 
They always warn you to keep your hair up and out of the way of the figure 8.  They warned you if you got your hair caught, the only way you could get it out was to cut it off.  I proved them wrong.
The third time I went down that day, the wind caught my hair and it got stuck in the figure 8.  My hair was longish. (This was way after the disastrous short hair cut my stepdad had made me get).  I feared they would have to cut off my hair; I pulled as much as I could to get as much of my hair out that I could.  I did not want short hair again.
But they just told that story because they didn’t want your hair to get caught.  One of the rappel masters came and saved me.  They did some fancy trickery with the ropes and it slide right out.  I was so embarrassed.  Dang wind. But, I went again.
Another one from Look Out Point
Last Campfire at Oakledge.
I know you are asking why I am showing you pictures of a bunch of trees.  This is actually where the best story took place.  Please let me have a few drinks and I will tell it to you in person.

I’ll tell you right now too, but I’m not saying it will be as funny.

The last day of Outpost, we had to break down camp and put all the gear away.  This meant that we were sleeping down at the main camp in the field.
They treated us with an ice cream party.  With all the toppings.  Including butterscotch.
I kept shoving those little butterscotch morsels in my mouth because they were the best thing ever.  Even better than the ice cream.  I ate so much butterscotch.
I wake up in the middle of the night, not feeling well.  I knew I was going to throw up.  I tried to get out of my sleeping bag as fast as I could.  I was able to get out, just not very far away from it.  I puked about five feet away from the front of my sleeping bag.  Nobody else woke up, nobody else moved a muscle.  Nobody knew I had vomited all over the place.
I crawled back in my sleeping bag and passed out.
I woke up a little later and looked up.
There was a raccoon.  Eating my puke. 
It was terrifying.  Absolutely terrifying.  I pulled my sleeping bag over my head and hoped it would go away.  I feel asleep again.
I woke up the next morning, no puke to be found.  Thanks raccoon.
This totem will be moved to Prairie Schooner (which is where my daughter is right now)

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