Yep, they do have the internet here

Hello, everybody. I’ve been pretty busy and haven’t written anything, but they do indeed have the internet here, so chances are I’ll use a few of my 24 hours off each week to write something or other around here. So, here’s the sort of thing I’ve been up to.

All us newcomers started off our time here with Wilderness & Water Safety training. That was fun; it entailed learning some techinques for rescuing people from the water, and some other things, and after that we put these new learnings into practice. The thing about that was, winter here ended in early May. So the water was somewhere in the upper 40°s or lower 50°s, probably. Even so, we all survived the training, with the help of the state-of-the-art sauna in the Far South bathhouse. I never knew what the big fuss was about saunas until I tried this one for about the third time. That was the time that I stayed in for the right amount of time, and then I came out and felt so cleaned out. I’ll be using the sauna more over the next month here.

After WWS, we did Wilderness First Aid, more commonly known as WooFA. Manito-wish is a haven for acronyms and abbrevs., some of which get pronounced (usually awkwardly). There’s WWS, WFA, the TLC (Trout Lake Circle), the PO (Program Office), OC (Orange Crystals – they’re like Kool-Aid) PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices, occasionally called PooFDahs), and a slurry of others. Quite a few aren’t actually shorter than the thing they abbreviate. For example, TL has exactly as many syllables as “trail lunch” (and fewer than a simple “lunch”). A lot of these things are come up with on the spot, when the speaker feels that he’s running out of time to complete his sentence, I guess. It’s a little bit bewildering, and I’m not sure I care for it, but it seems to be here to stay. WFA, to return to my point, was a barrage of facts about wilderness first aid, all crammed into two days, but we ended up proficient enough, and we also got to watch some pretty cool videos about hypothermia featuring one Dr Gordon Giesbrecht, a Canadian known as the hypothermia guru. So that accounted for days 3 and 4.

The next days were staff training, things about what we do here and how to make a cabin that stays together well, and other stuff. The camp is divided into four age groups, from 11-12 to 14-15. There are also off-camp trips they run, called Outpost and Voyageur trips, that run in Alaska and Canada and other cool places for up to 40 days or maybe more – I don’t really know. This is a pretty active camp. People associate with it for a long time. They grow up with it. I don’t know what age group I’ll be with, but probably 12-13.

After a few days of staff training, there was the training trip. I’m going to use only first names when I talk about other people here. When there are two who have the same first name, I guess I’ll use a number. Fortunately, on the trip all our names were different. It was led by Ryan, who’s been here for a while; he led a retinue of seven guys: me, Ben, Josh, Jason, Alan, Scott, and Bill. We’re all going to be counselors. The trip took us through several lakes, most connected to the previous by a stream. The weather stayed just perfect for us, and in different ways. One day, it was warm but overcast, so we didn’t have to worry about sunburn. Another day, the sun was out but with big, friendly, puffy clouds overhead to give the sky almost a storybook feel. We paddled down the Manitowish1 river and over two lakes and saw bald eagles and a beaver or maybe an otter, and practiced our canoeing strokes, and just generally had a great time. At camp we had chili mac and a lot of free time to hang around. The next day we paddled a few more lakes – actually a few more than we were supposed to, and ended up on a simply incredible campsite on Jag Lake. Jag is small, clear, and has perfect beaches with sand and small rocks of all different colors. Our campsite is excellently open, and the wind was blowing into it at high speed just perfect for drying out my wet socks. We all went swimming and loved the place. We ate “Mexi-Fest”, which was dehydrated refried beans (“reefers”) with rice and chili powder and some other stuff, all in tortillas – delicious. The next day we portaged out of camp back to the Manitowish river, and paddled up it until we got to our campsite for the day, probably less than a mile from camp, on the same lake. We arrived before we even had lunch, so we had a whole day to just goof off there. Fortuitously, there are three campsites just there, and other trips were staying at the other two, so I got to play some cards with Alan and Josh and Lloyd (from the other camp, and he brought cards, good because mine had gotten soaked). One of the camps had too much food, so after we ate our “Chicken Fric” (I guess technically it was fricassee, but not really), we helped them get rid of theirs too. Josh and I specifically did that, because we’re always hungry. The only day I didn’t like so much was today. It’s a bad start when you get woken up by ravens at 6:50 AM. They would not move on! That is, until Ryan got sick of them and yelled some unkind words out the tent at them. We all enjoyed that. For the rest of the day, everyone from those three camps was going “CAAAWGH!” at each other, often across the bay, because those ravens were so annoying and ridiculous and hilarious. The weather had turned really cold, not June sort of weather, but we managed to stay alive okay, and we paddled back into camp at 2 PM after making cinnamon rolls. On second thought: we had cinnamon rolls. Today was okay. We cleaned all our dishes, and got all our stuff back to our cabins, and that brings me to now. I’m on my 24 hours off for this week, as is everyone else. I think I may try the BBB in town (Boulder Beer Bar – I hear they have excellent pizza and cheese curds) tonight, thought it’s raining again. Well, I’ve got rain gear. I’ll see if anyone else is planning on going. Tonight ought to be fun. Even if all I end up doing is finishing the book I’m reading while lying in bed.

  1. The camp name is taken from the river name; the camp hyphenates its name to draw attention to the “wish”, for some reason. I think it’s kind of stupid, but it’s the right orthography, so I’ll abide by it. Also note it’s pronounced “man-i-too-wish”. 

File under: Manito-wish, work


Anonymous

History

Sounds like alot of fun and now work.. The work no doubt will come soon. Sorry no Bonnells are going to Crowduck but we have filled the cabins with my brother in one and Aunt Ellen in the other. We will catch you some fish and have a big fish fry when everyone is home. Sound like you really like your situation now. Good Luck….. G.Pa.

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Chuck

History

No Bonnells? So does that mean Micah’s grades did end up being too bad for Dad to let him go along?
I was thinking the other day that after I get my driver’s license this summer maybe I’ll write a letter to Bill again and see if he’s looking for any help. I wrote one a few years ago, and when I got there that summer he said not really, and that it would probably be complicated what with my not living in Canada. But he probably was avoiding telling me that I was underqualified (since Danny is from Florida, if I recall). If I have a license, and some experience at a broadly similar place of employment, maybe he’ll consider it a bit longer.
But if not, I’m definitely going to go to Crowduck next year. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll work here next year, but one thing that has bothered me and that I won’t be able to change is the shoe requirement. Manito-wish has a positively phobic attitude toward bare feet. Basically, you must have shoes on at all times, except when you’re in an enclosed place that can be slept in (residential cabins, tents). I feel like I’m missing a good portion of the outdoor experience by keeping my shoes on, because it deprives me of the sense I have that can most intimately connect me to the outdoors. With shoes on, I feel perpetually insulated. Unfortunately, that sort op hifalutin philosophizing stuff isn’t going to stand up to their 90-year-old policy of “Kids might cut themselves, and that’s not good, so you have to wear close-toed shoes every minute you’re outside.” I’ve caught minutes where I can, to foot through the pine needles, but really, when fun is covert like that it’s extremely diminished. So, I’ll see over the next month here whether the fun stuff going on here can counteract that sufficiently. I’ll tell you when I get back to Cincinnati whether or not I’ll come back here next year, and that way, if you see fit to schedule Crowduck around me, you’ll have the information you need to do that (or not do it, depending on my decision).

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Anonymous

History

Have to wear shoes and don’t like it. Get Over It. Geeeeeez, if that is your greatest problem - you have no problems. G.Pa.

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Chuck

History

Hey, if you had to wear a, uh, a tutu, you’d complain too. Well, I suppose we’d be complaining for slightly different reasons, but they’re still parallel.

By the way, everyone, I ended up unexpectedly becoming a Tripping Assistant instead of a counselor, because they needed more and I was the one who got switched. That means that I get to spend more time on trail, and I don’t have to do a bunch of paperwork - Ryan summed it up as “your job is basically to go on vacation.” So this’ll be pretty sweet.

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Anonymous

History

Sounds sweet. Are you affected in any way with the floods or are you so far north you are out of it. And yes Micah is taking English in summer school. Ya snooze, Ya lose. G.Pa.

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Anonymous

History

Hey, careful with the dance clothes. In some circles it’s a great honor to get to wear a tutu. And you have to earn the right to wear the shoes, which takes at least two years of serious training!

Love, Irene

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Chuck

History

But we’re talking specifically about Grandpa here. Which maybe we shouldn’t do, in connection to tutus.

We haven’t had any problems with flooding here - instead, it’s just really good paddling with little walking. I was amazed by the Manitowish River when I saw it - at an irrigation pump for a cranberry bog, the water was five or six feet higher than it was last year. ‘Course, last year was an extreme drought. However, did you hear about Lake Delton, in the Wis Dells? It busted its dam, and now it’s just a river.

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Anonymous

History

Actually, Lake Delton did not break through where its dam was. The dam held. It broke through in another area, crossed some roads, and essentially emptied out.

Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa, have been devastated with flooding, as has much more of Iowa. Grinnell has not been in the news, fortunately. Davenport also has been hit, including Duck Creek, near Alice’s house. They had 1/2 inch of water in their basement.

Chuck and I are in Oregon (Beaverton) staying with our 2 grandchildren while Steve and Cindy are going rafting in Idaho for a week. We’ll get home just in time for me to go to Crowduck. Hooray!

(Unless OUR basement is flooded when we get home! We did have one puddle before we left!)

Glad you’re enjoying your summer job!

Aunt E.

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Anonymous

History

Just wait until you are out of sight and take your shoes off! You’ll be the “cool” maverick camp dude. Have you seen any northern lights yet? Are you going to introduce Krokay to the camp?

Your life is uber epic!

Dave

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Anonymous

History

I think if I saw Grandpa in a tutu it would bring on a heart attack. That or I would die laughing. Let’s not put him in one. However, I agree. Don’t knock tutus on the right people–thin and female, that is. I am glad you will have such a great time at your job. Better than standing in the prep line at McDonalds all summer, or digging ditches, or even standing behind a cash register in a supermartket, which is what I did in the summers. Enjoy! Grandma

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Anonymous

History

Okay, break this argument Mr. Smartypants. You are in charge of a group of kids who are depending on you to lead them through tough terrain and winding rivers. If you accidentally cut open one of your feet and cannot perform your job, you have jeopardized the health and safety of those you are protecting. You can’t successfully argue that it is less likely to have a serious foot injury without shoes on.
The camp policy is clearly a good one, with no exceptions. The policy protects their workers, attendees and the camp’s reputation as being safe and that my friend is a major part of running a camp.

Stick that in your hat and smoke it!

Dan

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Anonymous

History

Years and years of kissing those little two bare foots has resulted in this. You never liked to wear shoes but I do worry about you getting owies in your feet. I guess they’re pretty calloused now. I sure didn’t like you walking barefoot in the snow around campus, you goofus.

Mom

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Chuck

History

All right, I will, Dan!

If I accidentally cut open my hand and can’t perform my job, I’ve jeopardized their health and safety, too… yet, they don’t require that we wear protective leather gloves. There’s always some risk inherent in going on an outdoor trip, or for that matter in living at all. So it’s all about where you draw the line for what safety equipment you need. Manito-wish draws theirs pretty high. But I think there would be pretty little risk in letting kids go barefoot in the campsites.
Incidentally, the closest I came to a big injury may have been when I slipped down a steep hill because my shoes were slippery. I doubt I would have fallen with the sure grip of bare feet.

Stick that in your pipe and call it macaroni!

P.S. I just got back from a five-day trip, and tomorrow I leave on another. Blog to probably follow tonight.

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Anonymous

History

We are getting ready to leave for Crow Duck. Will be driving out of here Tuesday morning to get there by Friday afternoon. Sure am going to miss you. Barefoot, gloved, whatever. You. I didn’t even make any ginger cookies this year, and I don’t know who will drink all the hot cocoa, either. But I guess you won’t lose your hard earned money to Dan the poker machine, anyway. We will be thinking of you and hoping you are enjoying your summer, even without a Crow Duck in it. Love, Grandma

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Anonymous

History

You can still hike with a cut hand. To avoid slipping I would get a good pair of hiking boots, I suggest Merrell.

I don’t care what you conceive as a good argument, there is no contest between bare feet and shoes as far a safety goes. I agree that the policy about the kids may be a bit over the top, but for you as a counselor and especially going on hiking trips every day. Shoes are a must.

Stick that in your boot and squish it.

We’ll miss you up in CD. I’m sure you were looking forward to a little “rob da licka stow” but it can wait until next year.

Dan

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Anonymous

History

Hey, Bill never made you wear shoes at the duck. If it’s good enough for the duck, it’s good enough for me. Just carry your own needle and string in case you need to stitch up one of your feet.

I say life isn’t safe. Go barefoot, but only if you don’t get caught.

Maybe you could get mediation and settle on socks only. Life is full of compromise….ha ha!

Bust out yo 9, da likka stow be robbed!……….

Dave

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Anonymous

History

Tomorrow we leave for Crow Duck. Wish you were coming along so i could win more money at poker. I will catch and save a BIGGIN’ fer ya. As for shoes, who gives a S —. Ha Ha. G.Pa

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