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Camp Traditions

We just got back from a week long escape to our camp in the Adirondack Park. I know I've written about our camp trips before, but I figure a little refresher and background history never hurts. The cozy camp is tucked into the bay of Eagle Crag lake and truly feels like a different world, something out of a fairytale. The nights are silent, yet full with the sounds of trees rustling, haunting loon calls, and other mysterious wild things that I can't name. 

Camp Elzear, owned by my husband's family. Not a "Great" camp, but still fairly historic, and certainly great in every way that matters!
The camp tradition on the Adirondack lakes goes way back to nineteenth century when the rich and incredibly prosperous built the so called historic Great Camps of the Park. They would pack up their households including nannies and servants, and spend the summer months relaxing or "camping" by the lake shore. Hmm, looks like they really had to rough it! Our outdoorsy President TR spent any free moment he had tramping around the Park, setting up conservations and coining the term naturalist.

Got some moose head?

Ahh to paddle around idyllically like the idle rich...
Our camp is humble in comparison but still has all the same elements. The water, the air, the nature, and the history. It's been in the family for several generations, starting with Grandpa Kermit and Grandma Ruby who bought the camp from a rough and ready French Canadian guy who built it himself, ferrying over by boat every log and piece.

 This hardy couple gave the gift of the adirondack beauty to my kids. Just like their three kids who ran wild in the summers through the blackberry bushes and learned to swim like fishes, now two generations later, my kids are learning to do the same. 

Papa teaching Leo how to steer the motor.
The Family. Well actually about half. Still missing a grandma, a couple in-laws and a cousin or two or three..

She may be fishing in the middle of nowhere, but by golly, she's going to do it in style.

Although camp is awesome, it is also rife with potential hazards for the average helicopter parent. (Which I of course, am most certainly not...) 
Drowning is big on the list since most of camp activities like meals, play-time, and really everything, happens on the docks. And the docks do not have safety gates... 
Accidents like insect bites, falls on hikes, fish hooks in fingers, and splinters in bare-feet are a very real possibility.
Mild stomach ailments endearingly labeled as "camp stomach," is also common. One gets camp stomach from swallowing too much lake water.
Lines for the outhouse or composting toilet when the above takes place..
Sun burns.
Depression from not enough sun when the inevitable rain occurs.
Mice eating all your food.
Carpenter ant and or mice invasions.
Boats sinking. (Capsizing?)
And of course, my main real worry: seizures when the nearest hospital is more than an hour away first by boat and then by car.

However, like always, Leo does nothing else but thrive and bloom at camp. No seizures or emergencies this time! There is something in the air, sun, and water that seeps into Leo's face, finally erasing all signs of the hard winter he has had for good. 

It's hard to believe that he is anything else but a little boy playing in the sunshine. Memories of seizures, hospitals, shunt malfunctions feel hazy and unreal, like they happened to someone else. Camp has worked its magic on us, no doubt about it.

We like to share the magic so this trip we brought friends!

What a boatload of kids looks like, in case you were wondering. 

 Little Eleanor is Leo's BFF; companion in boat rides, splashing, trains, ipads and meat-loaf..

The toughest decision of the day is usually along the lines of "to paddle, or not to paddle?"
Or perhaps to hike or not to hike? The answer is usually a given.

It was a beautiful trip this time, the longest Leo has ever spent at camp so far, and with every successful trip away from our comfort zone, we get more confidant and more experienced. Plus we learn stuff too. Like that camp weather and baths makes Leo's hair super curly!

Let the camp traditions live on, because if the Adirondack's were good enough for good ole Teddy Roosevelt, they are certainly more than good enough for us.

Stay calm and keep paddling, as they say...


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