Thursday, June 21, 2012

100 Counsellors, 212 Campers and a Big Black Bear

A few days after arriving back from our tripper training trip about 100 camp counsellors flooded through the gates of Birch Trail and camp started to amp up in anticipation of the hundreds of campers that would impede for the summer. As a Tripper thankfully I only had to endure about half of the general staff orientation and got to spend the rest of the time running rapids, playing tramp-ball and taking on the role of morning work out drill Sargent.

One morning I grabbed Casey's bike and headed out towards Bass Lake for a ride only to be stopped in my tracks as a large black bear ambled across the road in front of me, frozen and silent I waited tensely as it wandered into the road side brush and then I sprinted back towards camp, looking back once to see the bear retrace it steps back across the road behind me. That was my second encounter with a bear, I had seen one swim across the river during our tripper trip but this was a little more unnerving, it was so close and I was alone, not quite sure what to do!

D-day was rapidly approaching, we had all adjusted to camp life and had the opportunity to get to know one another but I don't think any of us were ready for the 212 campers about to invade our serene lakeside hamlet. On the last day of camp as we had come to know it we crammed into a 15 person passenger van and made our way to Minneapolis for an evening of Ethiopian chow and the plush beds of a hotel before our assault on the airport. The next morning we greeted, herded and shuttled excitable and tired campers and tons of luggage onto buses and back to camp and our quiet community erupted into masses of laughter and cheering. Returning staff knew what to expect but the first timers, myself included found it a little overwhelming to say the least! We retreated to the safety of Tripper Village not long after dinner that night scared for what the following day(s) would bring.

Thankfully after a few meals in The Lodge crammed with hundreds of screaming children you get used to it a little and my cheering and noise tolerance levels have increased somewhat.

Camp life is now in full swing, days are crammed with various activities for the girls, arts and craft, water-sports and games galore and I have received my trip schedule for the first session; I will be leading a 6 day trip to the Boundary Waters, a 3 day trip on the Namekagon River, a canoe voyagers program and an overnight trip with a group of the younger girls. I was really hoping to get the hiking trip to Isle Royale so fingers crossed for next session.

Really can't describe how much I am loving life here, summer and the outdoors. This is living!

Superb sunsets lakeside

A little Ninja fun with Cedar and Zach

Hanging in Tripper Village with Shae-dynasty and Deni

A of the girls dorms
Twilight serenity

Jamming... Cedar finally got some noise from those bags!


  1. Hi Nicole,
    Melbourne misses you but, we are keeping our spirits up ;)

    I've checked out your blog from time to time and it sure does look like you are having an amazing time with some incredible adventure.

    Great scenery, activities and parties!

    Just saw a photo of you at a beach wedding also. Very cool.

    So, this gig is finished eh? I hope that whatever you do next, you keep up this blog as it is really great to see what amazing things you are upto.

    Hope to bump into you again one day but, in the meantime, keep on pushing the limits :-)

    Phil L

    P.s. I wrote a very long comment on your blog several weeks ago then lost it!. Grrrrr. So I hope this one makes it.

  2. Hey Phil! Glad to hear you're not too miserable without me ;) Finished my camp job a week or so ago, off to Europe for a while then back to Melbs for Christmas. We must catch up, go hiking or climbing or something! Hope all is well in your world, Nic xx