Camp Massawepie, Adirondacks, New York
Yes, this is a Boy Scout camp which may make one question why I, a girl, would claim this to be one of the best vacations I have ever been on. My uncle is an Eagle Scout and he has connections with the camp.
Come late summer, there is a family week where those Eagle Scouts can bring up their families to stay in the lodges there for a week and he brought my family (my two sisters, my parents, and I). I remember when we were younger my parents would tell us about the times they camped up there in tents before we were born, and how they scared a bear away from their tent one night.
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The last time we went up to Massawepie was in 2008 and we had gone for 5 consecutive years before that. Each year brought new sights, longer hikes, and new activities organized by my creative and nature-breathing Uncle.
One year we took, I kid you not, 500 pictures of the various types of fungus that grew amongst the dense forest. Every year we picked a day, took a canoe across Massawepie Lake and then hiked for the rest of the day. Our dog would always find a way to get into the water and I vividly remember the glimpse of beige in the distance and she sprinted ahead to scope out the winding trail and then returned to us, panting like crazy!
There is something about standing atop a large mountain and feeling the power of the breeze rush through the sleeves of my T-shirt. You feel invincible but at the same time feel so minor compared to the natural power of the mountains. Your mind is freed and you become so caught up in the moment that you wish you could never leave.
No highways or thruways.
No cars or exhaust.
No supermarkets or malls.
Just nature and you.
Gazing into the sunset you feel almost immortal. Endless possibilities of what I could be or what I could do flood my mind. Late at night, after we had sat around the fire, we would walk about half a mile into an open field and shut off our flashlights. Looking up, I swear you could see nearly every star. You get that feeling that this world and our human population, are part of something so big that we don’t even know the extent of it’s immense size. Sitting there with my family, I stay close in fear of the darkness and in longing for that warm comfort. We huddle, eyes peeled for the glimpse of a shooting star amongst the sea of stationary sparks. A twig snapping triggers my heart to race in fear of what could have caused the sound but, the comfort of my family’s presence makes me feel safe.
We stayed in a rustic lodge. Small in size, but just right for it’s place and purpose. I remember walking out onto the small porch and looking over the edge in attempt to find the little chipmunk that lived under the porch. We used to sit out after breakfast and throw shelled peanuts over the edges and waited to see if ‘Chippy’ emerged. Not only did the sights have an impact on me, but my Uncle’s knowledge of the land, nature, and survival did too. We learned how to tie knots, such as a square knot and a double-half-hitch knot. We built lean-tos and to this day I can still start a fire with one match. Being there has made me who I am.
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