Summer 2017 - Week 3
I think the most challenging thing about writing a blog is coming up with an opening line. Trying to start it off with something really catchy and interesting to draw people in to read the rest of it. I guess that right now my brain is caught up in the fog of summer-time "happenings"...
Anyways! Week three at The Waldheim has always been one that, we as staff, can take a nice big breath. While each week is different through the summer and fall, and we love each of them in their own special way...this week lets us re-group our staff and get ready for the rest of the summer. Most of our guests this week have been coming for a good number of years. We has some new families here, this year, and they seemed to enjoy The Waldheim atmosphere.
Andrew took this group to Upper Gull Lake for the Wednesday picnic. If you have never been on this hike before, let me tell you, it is NOT for the faint-of-heart! It is one of the more challenging hikes that we take our guests on. However, it is worth it.
It starts with a party-barge ride into the marsh that is at the end of the lake. Now, depending on how many people are on the party-barge, things can get a little dicey when you arrive at the landing spot. It is shallow enough and mucky enough that getting stuck might just be part of the adventure of the day. A few years ago we built a special ramp that we bring along just to make sure getting from the boat to semi-dry land is do-able. Once everyone has unloaded, we either start the hike in or have to head back for round 2 of the boat ride...this week, they were able to get everyone there in one boat trip.
The first half of the hike is a nice, enjoyable moderate-rise trek. At about half-way through, we cross a stream that separates Upper Gull Lake from Lower Gull Lake. The cool thing about this stream is how close you are to the two beaver dams that help create these two lakes. The uncool thing about this stream is how slippery the rocks can get...and when you’re carrying a 40lb pack basket, it’s quite easy to get a little wet. You may end up in a balancing act of one leg in a full-on squat position trying to maintain an upright stance, so to not spill the pack basket, and the other leg thigh-deep in the stream! Phew! That was a close one!
From this point, there are some steep up’s and down’s that require the use of the surrounding trees to help one pull yourself up the trail and shuffle safely down the trail. Once you arrive at the campsite, the kids will tend to drop their things and head over to the big rock on the edge of the lake and jump off into the water. There is a canoe that was brought in, maybe by the DEC, that was once used to explore the lake. The canoe has definitely seen some better days...today, you might get about 50 feet out before the whole thing is under water…
After the traditional campfire lunch (the exact same as when E.J. Martin took the camp picnics back in the day), we pack it all up and head back to the boat. Now, you remember when I was saying that things can get a little dicey when you arrive at the landing spot? Well, leaving the landing spot is just as challenging, if not worse! After the hike, everyone is hot, sweaty, tired of swatting deer flies, feet are soggy, and we are all ready to enjoy the sweet success of finishing the hike and cruising down the lake. Unfortunately, the adventure of the day isn’t over. Multiple times, we’ve had to unload the boat then re-load the boat or have all the adults move to one side of the boat, then the other side of the boat in order to re-situate it and get it unstuck. Multiple times, the muck gets churned up from the propeller. Multiple times, someone has had to jump into the water/muck to push the boat. Andrew has ended these days with a cheer from the group as the party barge gets underway!
So the next time you suggest Upper Gull Lake for the location of the picnic...know that you have been forewarned!