In my camping box there is a little journal that we started on June 16, 2000. “We” would be Girl Scout Troop 289… disbanded, the number probably assigned to another troop by now. I don’t know who wrote the first entry. She didn’t sign her name. Here’s what it said, all spellings as they were written:
We had to go to are school. Then we went to camp and made are bed. Then we made Banana Bout. Then we went to bed leat at night.
My youngest daughter, Maddie, who was 8 at the time, wrote this a bit later in the weekend:
Today at lunch we found 2 toads. everyone went crazy. before lunch we made our T-shirts. we used painted leafs.
Each time we go camping, we list the wildlife we see. That first year, the girls were very young and we were consumed with making sure they were busy so that no home-sickness would set in. The only wildlife listed were toads, newts, and a dragonfly nymph (spelled “nimt” by the journal writer!). Meals were simple – hot dogs on a stick… S’mores… Actually, I’m surprised we made Banana Boats! That’s pretty complicated for little girls…
Fast forward to 2008. Emily is 18 and she and I are camping together – just the two of us until Chelsea joins us for the last evening. What a great time we had… packed with activities that included the Girl Scout Cookie Carnival (Friday evening), Camp Open House (Saturday afternoon) – including a Pickle Roast, and our own little outing to Tom’s Bird Banding station on Sunday.
Despite the busy schedule, we still managed to relax, read a little, do some dragon-hunting, cook some excellent meals, and pay attention to all the wildlife we saw and/or heard.
My favorite part of the weekend were the two evenings when we canoed at dusk.
The lake was so still and beautiful. We heard plenty of birds all around us and watched the swallows and the kingbirds over the water. We sneaked up on the beaver lodge and were scolded numerous times by the slap of the beaver’s tail. If only I had my camera at the ready for that!
The nest boxes that my girls built and installed as part of their Bridging activities from Juniors to Cadettes years ago – the account of which is also in the journal – still play home to birds. We found tree swallows in two of them.
Amphibians: American Toad, Green Frogs, Spring Peepers, Wood Frogs, and could that one trill have been a Gray Tree Frog??? I wish…
Birds: American Goldfinch, American Robin, Barn Swallow, Barred Owl, Black-capped Chickadee, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Bobolink, Canada Geese, Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Common Loon, Common Yellowthroat, Crow, Cuckoo, Field Sparrow, Green Heron, Hairy Woodpecker, House Wren, Indigo Bunting, Kingbird, Kingfisher, Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinal, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, Tree Swallow, Turkey Vulture, Veery, Wood Thrush, Yellow Warbler
Fish (don’t know what kinds)
Insects: Calico Pennant, Common Baskettail, Common Whitetail, Eastern Forktail, Eastern Pondhawk, Firefly, Forest Caterpillars, Fritillaries, Gnat, June Beetle, Ladybug, Lancet Clubtail, Luna Moth, Mosquitoes, Paper Wasps, Prince Baskettail, Sedge Sprite, Spittle Bug, Summer Azure, Tiger Swallowtail, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Variable Dancer, Wasp (the one with the REALLY long ovipositor – at least 3X longer than the body), Widow Skimmer
Mammals: Bat, Beaver, Dog, Eastern Cottontail, Mink, Muskrat, White-tailed Deer (an adult on camp and a fawn on the road to Randolph)
Reptiles: Garter Snake, Painted Turtle, Snapping Turtle, Water Snake
Besides taking too long to eat breakfast, part of the reason we were late arriving at Bird Banding on Sunday was this Snapping Turtle, laying eggs in a hole on the side of the road on the HILL that leads up to the tent units. What an unlikely place for a nest.
Wildflowers: Bedstraw, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Dogwood, Hawkweed (yellow and orange), Musk Mallow, Oxeye Daisies, Red Clover, White Clover, Wild Roses
All weekend long, rain alternated with sun. There were thunderstorms at night… None of it seemed to matter.
We had a fabulous time. If it weren’t for the fact that the entire sixth grade from Portville School came noisily to camp on Monday morning, it would have been very hard to leave.