Thursday, July 28, 2011

"And with Them Came the Spring"

On July 2nd, 2011, the Camp Loll Staff had had enough. We had been kept out of Camp for three weeks by snow, and were determined to get in "no matter what". It had been several days since we had checked the road. We had no idea what lay ahead.

Hopeful and determined we arrived in Ashton, Id just after noon. We had our lunch at the City Park and headed up the road.

The sign at the Forest boundry was rather omonius. We pressed on anyway. The Loll Staff in no mear vehicle.

We made it, cargo van and all to the top of Calf Creek divide, but there, like Gandalf and the Fellowship, we found our path barred by snow. With no mines to pass through we began our battle with the snow. Bill Wangsgard was there to give support.

We only had a hand full of shovels, so the Loll Staff began to clear the half mile snow bank with their bare hands.

After hours of digging we headed back to Ashton. Our heads were bloody but unbowed. We sought help from our long time friends in Ashton, and found a farm house willing to share their yard with sixty Boy Scouts. Of course all the bedding was in the front of the van, so everything had to be unloaded, then loaded back on before we could get dinner and get to bed.

Tanner Johnson, early in the morning and ready for the fight. He would not be alone.

Here we pose with the Spencers, who generously shared their home with us.

Our "big boys" hiked into camp and brought out a lot more shovels. We faced miles of snow, but we dug and fought our way in.

The first vehicles made it in by 2:30 or so that afternoon. The staff and all their gear were in by dark. The winter had not been kind to our Lodge.

The fun had just begun. This is the snow bank just below the Lodge, facing the parking lot.

A view of the drive way from the porch.

We dug the spring out on the 4th of July. We had to make the water test and get the lines purged and hooked up. We were living out of buckets brought down from the hill.

Our Spring on the 4th of July.

On the way back from the Spring, we stopped off at the Apache gate. Our whole camp was full of snow, and the scouts were coming in a week.

We could not even pitch our tents. For most of a week we all slept together in the Jed Stringham Memorial Hall.

When we did get the water hooked up, we found we had a big leak.

Bill and Kent came to our rescue.

We didn't have much water, but we had a great training from the forest service. Ranger Bill Davis gave us the facts, including a session on how to use bear spray. Every staff guide now carries a bottle into the backcountry.

Most of our daylight hours were spent digging snow, opening up the drifts in the camp sites so our campers would have some place to pitch their tents. The crew worked very hard - they worked a miracle. I remember the "spring scene" from Fantasia, where Demeter magically paints away the snow and brings the spring, the Loll Staff was not as quick but just as effective.

We dug and dug and dug. In Oscar Wilde's story "The Selfish Giant" it is the return of the children that ends the winter and brings the spring. Our Legion of "manchilds" fought to do the same. It worked.

It wasn't easy, but what doesn't kill us makes us strong. On July 11th the scouts came, and with them came the summer of 2011.


Kenneth Richey said...

Impressive! We truly enjoyed our stay at Loll during the week of the 18th. I was amazed at the amount of snow still in Apache when we arrived but by week's end it was almost entirely melted away. Thanks again for all the hard work from you and your staff.

Dan said...

I went with a troop to Bartlett this summer. We didn't have snow, but I would have traded the dry campsite for Loll.

I plan on bringing my troop there next year.

Dan-o said...

Lets hear it for 18 year old enthusiasm, energy, strength, and an unstoppable staff. Though I haven't had the snow problems you've faced this year, I will always remember the amazing amounts of work that got done during staff week. Those were some of my favorite times at camp because the friendships were still small plants clawing for fertile soil. Once the Scouts arrived those plants needed to have sunk their roots deep enough to not be swept off when the real responsibilities hit. I miss camp every summer...

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