We had a good, soaking rain all night. I was glad I put the dining fly up before going to bed. I was up at 5:30 and made coffee. Julie got up shortly after, groaning. We let the kids sleep in. There were going to be some challenges this day. Dealing with rain for one thing, a morale problem as well as a technical problem. Plus, we were all very beat up.
I had planned this as a Make and Mend day. There was time to rest, to piddle, to poke our noses into things at random. The plan was to play tourist; my personal ambition was to shop for gifts for my two grandcubs, Daniel and James, in Lake Placid. We went back to the Adirondack Mountain Club to shop for goodies, then into Lake Placid to wander about. We poked into various shops. T.C. discovered Butterscotch Beer, a cream soda intended to reproduce a drink referenced in the Harry Potter books. We also shopped for perishable groceries. Then we returned to camp for a lazy afternoon.
The eponymous body of H2O
We did a Structured Reflection on Adventures with Self. This is a new Venturing requirement. I’ll publish my outline for this Reflection in another blog post. After that, we took naps. We dried out our tents and hung out laundry in the nice sunshine. For dinner, we had a big Italian feast of spaghetti. We also made a fruit dip with cream cheese and marshmallow crème, into which we dipped strawberries and apple slices.
Tuesday, June 16
Fort Ticonderoga: an American castle
We awoke to a beautiful morning. It was amazing how well the youth we reworking together on cooking, cleaning, and taking down tents. We had achieved an amazing level of harmony and cooperation. In Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development – forming, storming, norming, and performing – we were definitely in the performing mode, and doing it well. It was a pleasure to watch them work together.
By 8:20, everything was put away and dry, except for the dishes. Then it started sprinkling, but too late to hinder us. By 8:30, we were on the road as a light rain began. We stopped in Keene Valley to do a little shopping at The Mountaineer, an outfitter in the High Peaks area, then it was off to For Ticonderoga. The rain let up as we neared the Fort.
Fort Ticonderoga has been almost completely restored. Cannons and mortars look out over the narrows of Lake Champlain, commanding the only practical route for armed force in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Inside, re-enactors in French uniform showed the daily life of the fort in the days when the French held this as an outpost against the British. A shoemaker was demonstrating his craft. A special exhibit in another building of military fashion was being interpreted by a docent who was an Eagle Scout. He told us a lot about uniforms and fabrics of the time, but we also talked a lot about Jamborees and Philmont.
Guns over the Narrows
Place des Armes
Heavy rain hit just as we were getting ready for lunch. We found ourselves surrounded by raucous schoolchildren on a field trip under the only pavilion’s shelter. It was like being in a school cafeteria. After they left, we played some cards and waited for the rain to die away.
On our way out, we stopped to examine the earthworks from the Battle of the Heights of Carillon in the French and Indian War, in which a smaller French force smashed a larger British army. The famed Black Watch was cut to pieces; Carillon was their worst defeat. Then we boogied up the coast of Lake Champlain to check out the ruins of Fort Frideric (the French’s other outpost) and Crown Point (the larger British fort that became unnecessary after the defeat of the French in 1763). We wandered about the ruins. The bridge to Vermont was right there, and everybody wanted to go there. I said we could go there if there were gas and ice to be had (those being our current needs). We loaded up and crossed the bridge, found nothing on the other side, promptly turned around, and returned. We gassed up in Crown Point and hustled down past Ticonderoga in the rain.
Black Watch Cairn
Heights of Carillon
Exploring the ruins
What’s left of it
We arrived at Camp Wakpominee outside Fort Ann about 5:15. The gate was closed and nobody was around. We tried to call various numbers we had, but cell phone service was very sketchy. We drove to a place where there was a pay phone – I hadn’t seen one of those in years – but I couldn’t get it to work. Finally, we went back to check at Camp one more time to see if anybody was there who could let us in, and found the gate open. The Campmaster was working in the kitchen, and he gave us the run of the place. We camped once again in wooden shelters. And I built a fire for us to enjoy. It was a chilly night and the fire felt good.
A cozy fire