It was the night we’d all been waiting for, and we could not have chosen a better evening for it. Both with the Falcons camp, and the Fox camp, it was as if we had reached peak summer. As Hayden had explained, this was the “crossover episode” of the season, and once everyone had been dropped off and introduced, we all made our way down to Cow River beach.
We made quite the parade as we walked down to the beach, and we made quite a splash when we hit the water, too. Amid backflip contests and frog-catching, handstands and sandcastles, it didn’t long for the hours to pass, and soon it was time to head back to the old school and get set-up for the night.
We were pitching our tents down by the river, and as we wound our way down the footpath and into the valley, everyone was amazed as the beauty and isolation of our camping spot. There was an island in the river, with two water crossings to access the other spaces, and it was a mad dash to claim a tent site that best suited everyone.
Through a flurry of tent poles and tarps things slowly took shape (very slowly, in Abby’s case) until we had established our own tent city. Once every had staked their claim, it was time to eat.
Fresh off the lessons of cooking that we learned at our campfire cookout back on the beach, everyone was ready to get down to business and make something good. For the FalconCamp, we were cooking over the fire down at the Gnarled Root, and it took a concerted effort to carry pots, pans, utensils, food, tables, and benches all the way down there, and it was just as much work to keep the fire going. A malfunctioning can-opener was an impediment to progress, but with Mr. Paton’s hatchet, and Reagan’s persistence, it was nothing that we couldn’t handle.
On order was cornbread (thanks to the Olivias), spicy hot ramen, and chili (special thanks to Sarah for having the patience to cut and cook those veggies) with our secret ingredient: salamander! Everything was a boiling hot mess, but it was our mess, and come supper time we were happy to eat it.
Over on the FoxCamp side, the fire ban took the spark out of our cooking ideations, and so we moved things up to the school grounds, where through a wild setup of grills, electric kettles, and pizza ovens we did what we do best: we made do! Savannah, Michael, George, and many other helping hands got to work on the chili, while Avery prepared the best banana bread I’ve eaten in the woods.
We had an entire army boiling hot water as it was needed, with Ella, Lexi, Kennedy, Bella, Serena, and so many more helping lead the charge. And I must say, by the time supper was ready, we’d sure earned it, and it was the spiciest thing we’d ever eaten!
It was around this point that it began to get dark, and that is when things really started to get exciting. Now, there’s an old saying that what happens at camp, stays at camp, so it was here that we started to put our cameras away, and let the magic of the night take over.
The Foxes began with the “Schoolhouse Swap” game, where everyone received a lovely article of clothing, and had to switch seats in the old school based upon the instructions that they drew out of a hat, with the objective being to finish the game while wearing the beautiful purple sweater that Markus so warmly embraced. And while there were several winners at this game, the real winner was Logan, who rocked the best outfit of them all, in red pants and a football jersey.
It was then that both teams made their way down to the old root, where it was time to taste and try some of the wildest treats we’d ever imagined. After that, the stories began to flow like a river, a trickle at first, but became a cascade of disbelief as the woods grew dark. The Foxes learned the story of the Bears and the Bandifrigs, while the Falcons heard the details of the Wookalark, and the Story of the Stone Children. In both cases, something buried beneath the fire proved to be the height of imagination, and with this treasure unearthed it was back to the old school, where magic was afoot!
Magic is a slippery thing, and to explain it, is to forego it, and so it will suffice to say that everyone at FoxCamp learned about the hidden potential they’d held inside themselves all along, while those at FalconCamp discovered that magic, real magic, is much closer than they had ever before known, and that there was more to the story than mere make-believe.
Within an hour we were back into the woods, where fun and fear had reached a fever pitch. I’m sure those that were there will gladly tell more about what happened, but tragically I myself am sworn to secrecy; but let me say this: an egg was buried, an attic was explored, a potion was unbottled, a chest was unlocked, a key remained hidden, a book was signed, and a legend was born that will last throughout the ages.
And then, just like that, sleep came knocking, and one by one our intrepid campers made their way into their tents, where they lay down under the stars, amid the trees, and beside the river. All except Rita, who some say is still singing the music from The Little Mermaid, even to this day. In all cases morning came quickly, and then it was a flurry of french toast to feed our hungry campers, as dawn seized the day once more. It was soggy shoes, and lost socks, and ‘where’s my bowl?’ [hint: I still have your bowls, please come and get them!] and then, like stars on the horizon, the parents arrived one by one, lest their children be abandoned in the wilderness.
By 9AM it was all over, and Jesse and I were left sitting on the deck, surrounded by wet towels and forgotten mason jars, satisfied in the knowledge that for at least one night, we were kids again, and that in those moments, the world was ours.
Yours in adventure,
Nathan and Jesse
Wishing a special thank you to Zoe O’Regan, Brooklyn MacInnis, Georgia Fraser, Amadea Llewellyn, Ella MacAulay, and all the neighbours and parents who helped to make this possible. We couldn’t do it without you!
From the very first mention of ‘Lazy River’ we knew that it was going to be a hit, however when everyone learned that we were being dropped off back on the Hermitage Road, there were those who were skeptical, hearkening back to the River Rally we did on Week 4. Skeptics were soon proven wrong, however, when we took a turn towards the north, in order to uncover an unparalleled river, just ideal for floating.
Things are never as easy as they seem though, and this week’s challenge saw players transporting potatoes down the river, in order to score points with them at the end. This challenge aside, the pace was leisurely and relaxing, and while at times the wind was cool, it made for a perfect summer’s day.
All along the way there were sightings of eagles and large trout, and there were dreadful rumors (and purported sightings) of beavers! Water levels ranged from ankle deep to nearly eight feet, and the drop off was one to remember. Each team took their own pace and charted their own way down the river, but I am sorry to say that no one was able to claim the $20 reward that was hidden at the bottom of the swimming hole, and that prize instead went to Jesse, who was able to find it late on Friday evening!
Some teams enjoyed floating at their own pace, while others joined the tube-train, being pulled along by Mr. Paton as Jesse led the way with those up ahead. For the Coyotes there were lost shoes, while for the Falcons there were seaweed fights. Ravens led the way in song, while the Foxes took a detour to the Cow River pond, where the most frightening thing in the water was Mr. Paton!
By late afternoon it seemed that cool winds prevailed, and I think that for some of the teams the best part of the day was a hot shower behind the Red Rock! We would also be remiss if we didn’t give a shoutout to Liam McNally, who got a “splinter” so large they had to use pliers to pull it out, and to the Ravens, who were the only team to bust any of their tubes, and who busted three of them within five minutes.
Without a doubt it was a week to remember, and I’m certain that it has established a new Red Rock river tradition! As for the scores, it was a rollercoaster of a week. The Coyotes established themselves as contenders from the get-go, losing only two potatoes and scoring 90 points, while the Ravens dug themselves into a hole, by dropping 12 of their 25 potatoes. Falcons swooped in for a comeback though, nearly doubling their prior week’s score to earn a total of 105 for the week, while Foxes settled in nicely at 85, keeping the competition close. The tallies for the total scores are as follows, with only two weeks remaining, and as you can see, it’s all coming down to the Coyotes and the Falcons.
Scores from our Paddle-Boarding adventure will soon be posted, and I know that we are all looking forward to making our dirt shirts next week as well.
With summer winding down, we can't wait to see you all again;
Yours in adventure,
Nathan and Jesse
We saw an entirely new side of our Red Rockers when it came to our Campfire Cookout. Beginning with the Coyotes, we welcomed special guests Peter and Paul who showed us how to light a fire using ferro-sticks and a fire bow. Everyone took turns lighting last year’s cattails and dry grasses with the ferro-sticks, with Hayden getting a big burst of flame, and Dawson hard at work on the fire bow.
Between the pancakes and the food fights, the Ravens took to the fire-building component like a fish to water, and thanks to Charlie and Liam, by the end of their time with the fire they had a blaze going that was the envy of all the other teams. In fact, it burned so big and so hot that when the Falcons arrived the next evening, they weren’t provided with any matches or ferro-sticks at all, and instead were able to light their own fires using the embers left over from the Ravens.
Skies soon turned cloudy though, and we watched as lightning struck out over the water amid rumbles of thunder, with a downpour threatening, and when a bolt struck out across the harbour it was a mad dash into the shop to take shelter from the passing storm. Falcons kept busy with the ‘hot marshmallow’ game, (where Olivia A. and Ruthie soon learned how sticky it could be!) and when the rains passed everyone was dry (except for Jesse), and we all headed down to the beach for a swim.
For the Foxes, they were kept busy making their own fires, and found that after the heavy rain parts of the beach had turned to quicksand, and discovered that if they ran fast enough they could make their way across it without sinking, a discovery which was put to great use, while the boys worked away on their fort, which is still there today!
On the cooking side of things, the Red Rock kitchen was a wild and crazy mess as potatoes were cut and peeled, carrots were sliced, fish was fried, lemons were squeezed for lemonade, pancakes were prepared, gravy was stirred, eggs were boiled, and so much more in preparation for our sea-side meals. It just seems that everything tastes better when cooked over a fire beside the ocean, and I think that all our Red Rockers would agree. Everyone learned of the treasure that is Boston-creme marshmallows, too.
It was a fun and relaxing time, but everyone knew that, just like any other week, points were on the line, being scored this week through fire skills, cooking skills, and teamwork and cohesion. And while cooking skills were less than refined, each group managed to muddle their way through until the end, however, it was the Foxes who made a comeback and claimed the first place victory, after being shut out from a win since Week 1.
We will be back to our normal scoring and postings, once this weekend's camp-out concludes and points can be accurately tallied.
Yours in adventure,
Nathan and Jesse.
It seems that some of you had doubted how sticky Slimefest would be, and I can only offer my sincerest of thanks to the parents who were willing to drive you all home after such a sloppy, stinky, sticky mess of a week. If we can make it through that, we can make it through anything.
It was a week that saw players competing in a half-dozen challenges that were designed to put them to the test, both mentally and physically, while also balancing their abilities to compete independently and as a team, all of which is in preparation for the final Survivor night, which, believe it or not, it just about a month away!
We started things off with the tire relay, where everyone learned two things: one, that tires are waaay heavier than one might think, and two, that this is not your ordinary slime. Players chased each other in an effort to slime their opponent, and in the end, there weren’t many who were able to avoid those oozing sponges. On the Coyotes team, Amadea was pure machine, while for the Ravens, Thomas eliminated five players, including his sister Avery.
Next we moved on to the electric fence game, where despite the setbacks of some wasps (shoutout to Dawson, Hayden, Avery, and Savannah, the newest members of the Stingers ---an exclusive club), teams were able to coordinate a plan which saw them climbing over the fence without ever touching it, all while holding a leaking and dripping bag of slime. Some teams used pyramid formations, some used crowd surfing techniques, and others simply opted to fling players across and hope for the best.
After that, it was time for the slackline, where every single team quickly proved how agile they were, absolutely blowing away our expectations of performance, despite some newly greased hands. Where on the first day of the week the best team time was 2:10, by Friday afternoon the Foxes had managed to shift their team around in under 30 seconds, while the Falcons were able to do so in a mere 21!
But what I am sure was a highlight of the day for many was the mud pit, a Souris favorite brought back to life for another year. Lined with straw and filled with mud, players competed for a ‘flip’, wherein they had to dip the other teammate’s player into the mud. There was no way to stay clean here, and we saw some amazing spectacles of gymnastics and tactics. Dawson was an unstoppable force, while Ella was bending over backwards for a win.
When the mud pit was finished, players took their positions on the obstacle course, consisting of the slackline, over and unders, an army crawl, a tire tunnel, a ladder stack, monkey bars, and a finishing sprint. It took teamwork to get the slime from the beginning to the end, and while at times progress was slow, every single team was able to fill their bucket in the end, with the Ravens and Falcons pulling out ahead. In pickle-race action, Ella again proved herself to be indomitable, narrowly edging over Reagan in the final round of action, while Abby seized a decisive win in Falcon play.
For some teams, this was all that we had time for, while for others they unlocked the bridge building game, trading in marbles, pennies, and seaglass for nails, boards, and ropes in an effort to build the farthest reaching bridge through the trees of the woodlot. Multiple different tactics were used, but in the end it was the Ravens who reigned loftiest, while the Foxes uncrowned the Falcons to seize second place in this part of the competition.
It was not easy calculating the scores this week, as each game, challenge, and activity had to be cross referenced and tallied up back at the shop, and several times it came down to the photo record to determine which team was best able to pull things off. This, coupled with bonus points for stings, scrapes, and lost pickles, made for a very close race indeed, with the Ravens seizing the lead, and being the first to break the 300 ceiling, closing the week, and the midway point of the season, with an impressive score of 312. Coyotes continued their battle for second, pulling ahead, while the Falcons had a strong showing coming off a weaker fourth week, but still they lingered in the rankings, closing in a not-so-distant third place, leaving the Foxes with shrinking hopes of unseating them.
Looking ahead to the competition component of Week 6, everything will come down to player’s abilities to work together for the greater good, and it will be a week where skill, technique, and patience will be a virtue, where we put not only the fire-making abilities, but their culinary talents to the test.
Some hints for the upcoming week:
Well, I think that’s about it for now; we can’t wait to see you for what is sure to be one of the most memorable weeks of the summer; our much anticipated Campfire Cookout! Remember that this week we go from 5-8PM, instead of our regular afternoon sessions.
See you at the beach!
Yours in adventure,
Nathan and Jesse
Braving the heat, the cold, the rain, and the occasional ‘lake snake’, last week’s adventure was one for the history books. It started out at the edge of an old dirt road, and led us deep into the heart of Prince Edward Island’s forests as we followed the winding Naufrage River to the head of Larkin’s Dam.
But this was to be no ordinary hike, though. Right away players discovered the barrels (ugh! The barrels!) that would have to be pushed, carried, rolled, and floated for every inch of their three kilometer journey, and it was these barrels that would ultimately lead to teams scoring their points in the end. Shout out to Luc “the lifter” for doing so much barrel work for the Coyotes, and to Ayda for keeping a close eye on the Falcon’s barrels.
The pathway we followed didn’t last long, and soon everyone was in the water, doing their best to trek against the stream. All along the way there were checkpoints set up, that had players tree-climbing, log racing, and hopping and blocking, in order to complete the checkpoint challenges, score points, and be able to move on. It was Bill who found many of the checkpoints for the Ravens, while Camden kept his eye out for the Foxes.
Rumors persisted of a swimming hole, and while some teams discovered the difficulty of the Sun-and-Moon puzzle, others were amazed to find a fully equipped water slide! It was here that faces were painted, players got stuck in inner-tubes, splashes were made, and absolutely everyone got soaked (no matter how cold out it was!). Tripp loved the waterslide most of all, while Bella and Liam and enjoyed getting their faces painted.
From that point onward, it was a race to the real swimming hole, and a race against time, too, as teams competed to be the first to reach the dam, in order to solidify their place as the week’s scoring leaders. It was a valiant effort on the part of the Ravens, who found countless bonus bottles along the way, but in the end it was the Coyotes who took command of the lead, scoring a bonus multiplier by completing the Sun-and-Moon challenge, something which many of the teams did not even earn the chance to attempt. Still, it was enough to put them ahead on the leaderboard this week.
Falcons, on the other hand, suffered several blow-backs, including a heart-breaking fault, the loss of a marble, and major difficulties in orchestrating the Sun-and-Moon game, and they ultimately fell to last place for this week’s challenge, while the ever-steady Foxes continued their battle to hold on, now narrowing in on the once unbeatable Falcons.
Looking ahead to the upcoming week, we are preparing for our annual SlimeFest, and so you should be prepared to get stickier, messier, and sloppier than you ever have before!
This week’s hints:
Can't wait to see you all out there!
Yours in adventure,
Nathan and Jesse
What strikes me as we look back on last week was the sheer variety in all that we did; right from the very start things heated up with a competitive photo challenge, which saw players crab-walking, cartwheeling, leap-frogging, face-painting, and so much more. All week each team tried to out-do the other, and it made for some fantastic photos, as you can clearly see.
After that players unlocked access to the ‘float the boat’ challenge, wherein they had to dig an entirely new channel to the river, and divert enough water using a hand-made dam in order to float a water bottle all the way down. This was certainly more easily said than done, but our Red Rockers rose valiantly to the occasion, and while I had never seen such a motley assortment of shovels (shout out to all the Dads who helped with that one!) they put them to good use, and every single team was able to complete this challenge.
This is where things then got tricky, as players were next tasked with building a raft worthy of standing on, and with enough buoyancy to float their entire team. Most (but not all!) of the teams made it, and while the rafts were hardly seaworthy, they were enough to score some points all the same.
For some teams, due to timing, this is where the week’s challenges ended, but for others, they unlocked the fire-building challenge, where with one match they learned how to build and tend to a campfire. Many were interested at first, but when they saw that it took patience, not prodding, to build a successful fire, several team members abandoned the task in favor of swim time, while those who remained earned their stripes in fire-making (shout outs to Lexi and Rorie of the Foxes!), something they should indeed be proud of, and a skill which will serve them well in future challenges and our camping trip.
When it comes to this week’s score, things once again took an interesting turn, as the Ravens moved up a position to close in on the Falcons, tying for first, while the Coyotes climbed from the basement to narrow the gap towards first place, landing in second. Foxes too are fresh on the hunt, with only five points keeping them out of contention.
And while Coyotes move to second in score ranking, this week’s upcoming challenge is one that just might give them an edge over the rest, as it will be determination, leadership, and creativity that will lead to success this week, more than anything else.
This week’s hints:
Yours in adventure,
Nathan and Jesse