I drove up to camp last night. It is that time of year when my camp visits increase in frequency as we start to truly gear up for the summer. When I walked into my house, there was a note from my old friend and former Echo Lake counselor, Bob Lindler. Every year Bob comes up to the Adirondacks in the coldest part of winter to hike and camp in the high peaks. Often times it is in sub-zero weather, but Bob and his hearty friends just love it. Following their days in the mountains, they stop by my house to shower up and spend one night in a warm house.
It started me thinking about our Trek Program at camp, and my very first hiking experience back in 1973. I remember our group heading down to the Fish Hatchery. As soon as we started to turn left onto the dirt horse trail in the woods, I panicked. I started crying and refused to go on the hike – I must have been very scared of the wooded trail. My counselors hung in there with me and, after what seemed like an eternity, they convinced me to go on the hike.
The hike, of course, was magnificent. After a ways through the woods, the trail opens up outside the shade of the pines so that you are walking right along the edge of the Hudson. We walked and walked and walked on the river’s edge to the bridge that crossed from Warrensburg towards Stony Creek. I remember feeling such excitement by the end of the hike. Not only that I had done the hike, but that it had been awesome!
Each summer our Trek Program – and ultimately – our 4n4 Program, open so many new doors for our campers. Among the great new opportunities our campers have each summer at camp to try new things, no program presents more of these opportunities than Trek. Mountain biking at Santanoni, going underground in Knox Cave, whitewater paddling on the Schroon, hiking any number of the 46ers, rock climbing at King Philips, sleeping out under the stars or simply walking down the Hudson and catching crayfish. And that is simply to name a few …
These are activities where, at any moment, you can see something you have never seen before. There are challenges that you have never encountered before. And because of that, these are experiences that you will never forget – you just have to get out and do it.
So we want all of our campers to “get out there” this summer! I always remind our 4n4 campers before they depart to seize every moment and don’t regret not taking advantage of an opportunity they may not have again. When at camp this summer, Trek – and the 4n4 – will present our campers with so many chances to do something new, something cool and something that may be a bit out of their comfort zone. I say “go for it!”