I got up at birdsong to feed the mosquitoes. We had a long way to go today. We were all tired, but the Crew worked like a well-oiled machine. We were on our way by 7:45. I may look like I’m just being pedantic by noting all these times, but you’ve got to understand: I have never had a Crew on any high adventure trip that could get up, cook, clean up, and be ready to go so consistently early. Kudos to this bunch!
Our itinerary called for nothing but driving today, but Matt said, “Hey, we’ll be going right by Hershey, Pennsylvania, today.” So, we made plans to drop in on Hershey’s Chocolate World. It was a hoot. We took the free candy ride with the singing cows. We shopped our way through the World’s Largest Candy Store. We were all smiles; sheer delight (in T.C.’s case, shock and awe) was on our faces. After our candy tour, we went grocery shopping for the last time.
You have no idea
We arrived at Caledonia State Park west of Gettysburg just before 4 p.m. I got a real shower, though I passed on shaving. The group was getting tired of each other, and was beginning to say so. I complimented them on this. It is an important step on the way to maturity to be able to articulate such feelings, rather than simply acting out in angry or irritable ways. Once, again, kudos to the Crew. The truth is, we were all starting to look past the finish line, starting to detach from the trip and each other. But there was one more big experience to come before we could pull for home.
Saturday, June 20
We were very slow getting going today. Everybody was sore and tired. We took our time, getting to Gettysburg around 9:15. Just as we were disembarking from the van, I remembered that I hadn’t taken any of my medicine this morning. Crap! I haven’t forgotten to do that in years. Must have been tired or something. The rest of the day until we got back, I felt shaky. But nothing life-threatening was involved, so I pressed on.
We got as much history as we could stand. It was all very impressive, of course. The Visitors Center has been all redone, and the exhibits are interesting. The new film to explain the battle that replaces the old diorama had one thing that bugged me, though: Sam Waterston voicing Abraham Lincoln. Oh, his accent was fine, but like a lot of moderns, he doesn’t read the Gettysburg Address right. He keeps chopping it up and emphasizing phrases that resonate for moderns (especially, progressives). And so, he completely butchers the sound music of the Address, which is solidly based on Old English in rhythm and in vowel length and in its use of alliteration.
My pettest peeve is the way actors today recite the conclusion, especially the phrase, “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Being enamored of the ideas of the speech and clueless as to its rhetorical power, they love that phrase, “the people.” Moderns/progressives always pronounce it as if it were in capitals: THE PEOPLE. So, Lincoln’s phrase comes out, Of THE PEOPLE -- By THE PEOPLE -- For THE PEOPLE, with the conclusion “shall not perish from the earth” trailing off into irrelevance. In natural English rhythm, however, the stress is all on the pronouns: OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people, a phrase first penned by John Wycliffe in his Prologue to the Bible in English (1384), referring to the Bible’s ability to help persons govern themselves by reading the word of God under no guidance but the holy Spirit’s. And there’s a lot of political theory embedded in those pronouns; they imply that we don’t need special people with special birth or gifts to decide things on our behalf. Rhetorically, this phrase is followed by the two crashing stressed monosyllables of “shall not” and concludes with a flourish. The whole drumbeat of the passage thus goes, Boom-de-Ya-da, Boom de-Ya-da, Boom de-Ya-da, BOOM! BOOM! da-da-da-da BOOM! Not that you want to do it quite that sing-songish, but if you can’t hear the rhythm, you don’t know what Lincoln is doing. And trying to improve the original by over-acting and stressing the little nuggets of the speech that appeal to you is the worst kind of theatrics. /Rant.
After wandering through the exhibits and (of course) shopping for souvenirs, we went back to the van and ate lunch. After that, we drove and walked about the battlefield for an hour or so. We visited the Soldiers’ Cemetery, and the High Water Mark of the Confederacy. We climbed both an observation tower and the Pennsylvania memorial. And then, worn out, we boogeyed for camp about 2:45.
Pipers at Gettysburg
The Round Tops
Big and Little
Back in camp, we did another Structured Reflection, this one on Adventures with Others. I’ll post the outline for that one in another blogpost, too. We played some cards, did some napping, and just generally rested up.
Because too much fun is never enough
T.C. at Caledonia
Errol and boys
Joining us for dinner was the Huffman family. Errol was one of our Venturing leaders; he helped me take T.C., T.J., and Jeffrey to the UK in 2013, and his family were active in EFUMC before moving a year ago to Carlisle, PA. The boys are getting big! We made brats and fixin’s. Libby brought two Strawberry Sour Cream pies. Yum. It was great to visit again.
As the Huffmans were leaving, the camp manager was going about, warning campers that a major storm was going to come through. We consulted our options and decided we were in a good position to ride it out where we were. I eventually went to bed about 7:30 (I went to bed at least three times on this trip in broad daylight); I couldn’t stay up any more. A hard rain came in about 8:00, but there was no wind and little thunder. It rained again about 5:00 the next morning, right after I got up. But that was it. We all slept through it.
Sunday, June 21: Father’s Day
And miles to go before I sleep.
We were up and on the road before 7:45. It was a long, grueling drive back to Indiana. We dropped down to Hagerstown, MD, to pick up I-70. The tolls on I-70 in PA were pricey; we would have done better to take I-68 to Morgantown, WV, then gone north to rejoin I-70 at Washington, PA. Ohio was a bore. As soon as we left the last rest stop in Ohio, I apologized to Jeffrey for how loud the CD was going to be, and I put in Carmina Burana. For the next hour or so, all the way to Indy, I drove to the most gorgeous musical adrenaline I know. We finally reached Ellettsville just after 7:00 in the evening, a journey of 600 miles and over eleven hours. We set up the tents to dry and air out in my backyard. We unloaded all the stuff. We said a prayer. And then we went home. Another Superactivity is now in the books, and it was a good one.
Crew 119 at Niagara Falls
Rougher! Tougher! Buffer!
My best estimate of hiking miles for this trip is 21 miles (Niagara 2, Marcy 12, NYC 6, Gettysburg 1, more or less). That brings my lifetime hiking total to 1,608 miles.
We charged those going on this trip $475 apiece. The total budget was thus $3,325. Early estimates soon after getting home looks like we came in under budget by about seventy bucks. Can I cost out a trip, or what?