Wow. What a weekend. For me it started Friday because I took the day off. The plan was for me to clean out the trailer, do some Pathfinder paperwork, buy groceries for our camping trip, and then start loading stuff. I was going to do that from about 8:00 until 3:00, which would leave plenty of time to get everything done. But the dryer conspired against me (as per yesterday’s post). Instead, after I dropped Beth off at school, I went to Sears to buy a thermal cut-off switch for the dryer. But they wouldn’t open until 10:00. So I went back to the church and cleaned out the trailer. At 10:00 I was at the Sears parts desk, and at 10:01 I was on the way home to fix the dryer.

It took five minutes to replace the switch. It took 30 minutes to get the stupid exhaust vent hooked back up again.

Then I bought groceries, came home, picked up the boys, and we set out for the church again. Other Pathfinders started to arrive, so we had plenty of help loading stuff.

As a real show of my confidence, I directed some of the older kids to wrap the HMS Sinkytowne in plastic – the forecast was for scattered showers, and we couldn’t let our cardboard boat get wet! The horrors! Here’s what it looked like when we arrived at Camp Lawroweld.

The Sinkytowne wrapped in plastic to ward off the rain.

The Sinkytowne wrapped in plastic to ward off the rain.

Also, I didn’t know how well it would hold up to the gale force winds it would be subjected to as I went barrelling down the Interstate. It did just fine, thank you!

We set up camp and sent the kids to bed just before the rain started. At first it was just sprinkling, and then it really started to come down. I had not yet set up my own tent, but since it’s a pretty small one-man backpacking tent, I was able to pitch it under our kitchen canopy where it was still nice and dry. Once it was set up, I hauled out where I wanted it and staked it down.

In the morning we went to our Sabbath School program, marched in a parade, and went to church (outdoors). Then we had lunch. After that we went for a short hike up to Center Hill (I think that was the name of the place). Here’s the money shot from the top:

The view from Center Hill

The view from Center Hill

Before we left I told the kids in the club that if they could find a flower that I could not identify, I would pay them a dollar. David told them that no one was going to get a dollar, but they tried anyhow. For a while. The reason I do this is so that the kids will be on the lookout for some nature. Maybe when they’re done hunting flowers for money they’ll continue hunting them for fun. I guess I ID’d a dozen plants before they gave up. But on the way up Center Hill, Joyce (a staff member) spotted some of these:

Dunno what this is!

Dunno what this is!


I have no idea what it is, so I guess I owe her a dollar. I’ll look it up later and see if I can figure it out. On the way down, I spotted one of these:
Another one I didn't know

Another one I didn't know


I don’t know what that is either, but I didn’t point it out to anyone. They had all run ahead of me (because I was stopping frequenty to take pictures of moss and weeds, and to look for blooms). Also, I didn’t want to let go of that dollar!

When we got back I showed the unknown flower photos to some other people in our group. Karen told me she had spotted some trilliums in the woods behind her RV, so I went out there for a look-see. Here’s the best photo I took away from there:

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)


Then I found out that a little deeper in the woods were some red trilliums. I had never seen one of these before (except in photos), so I was keenly interested in finding one. Here’s the best shot I got of one of those:
Red Trillium (Trillium erectum)

Red Trillium (trillium erectum)


Cool. Including the two unidentifieds, I managed to see three new to me flowers on Saturday.

On Saturday evening we went to the evening program. Those are always a lot of fun. Each club puts on some sort of performance. We didn’t have anything prepared, but I signed us up anyhow thinking the kids could ad lib something. Also, if we don’t do anything, we lose points, and that could cost the club a blue ribbon for the camporee. David was horrified that I had done that. I suggested an idea he might want to work on, but he didn’t like it. Instead, he came up with his own, and it was fantastic. I caught most of it on my camera using the video mode. Maybe I’ll upload it sometime, but not tonight (I’m really tired!)

Sunday morning we woke up to a hard frost. I guess it must have been 25°F, and we were all very cold. We weren’t allowed to build fires at this place either, because it was all cabins and lawn. Brrrr.

We had a few activities until 10:00am, and then came the one we had all been waiting for. The cardboard boat regatta. I removed the plastic from the Sinkytown, and the kids posed in front of it

The Central NH Flames pose behind the HMS Sinkytowne

The Central NH Flames pose behind the HMS Sinkytowne

We were not the first boat in the water. In fact, we were last. But that was OK, as it afforded me the opportunity to take a lot of pictures. Two clubs made cardboard boats by following the instructions in The Cardboard Boat Book. I was originally going to do that too, but decided against it. I’m kinda glad I did too, since we’d have been the third club to do that. Those boats looked pretty good, but I really did like ours better.

After a long wait, it was finally our turn. I hauled the boat down to the dock and immediately impaled the hull on a dock cleat. Doh! The boat hadn’t even touch the water and I had impaled it. The breach didn’t go all the way through, but it didn’t have to. Once water can get past the outer skin, the cardboard will absorb water like a sponge. But since it hadn’t gotten wet yet, there was hope. Three strips of duct tape later, and it was (almost) as good as new.

The first crew consisted of Jonathan (I put him in the stern because he is our strongest paddler), David (bow – he’s a good paddler too), Joy, and Connor (those four scored highest in the merit point tally). Here they are boarding the Sinkytowne.

The Sinkytowne's crew boards

The Sinkytowne's crew boards

Here’s who they were up against.

Our Competition

Our Competition


This was one formidable cardboard boat. It was far and away the best looking one, and it’s kinda what I was shooting for. We didn’t come close to reaching the bar set by these guys, but I think that’s mainly because I made the kids do most of the work on our boat. Yes, I could have done better if I had done it myself, but it was important to me to let them do it. I wanted them to have ownership, and we did achieve that. They all referred to it as their own boat. Also, if it sank I didn’t want them to pin too much blame on me (even though I designed a good deal of this one).
The Viking ship was fast too, but it was also paddled by people I happen to know are great paddlers anyhow. Most of them live at this camp and have daily access to the lake and canoes (when the lake’s not frozen over. Which is prolly three weeks out of the year.) Also, the youngest person in their crew is 15. Not that I’m making excuses. OK, I am making excuses. These guys clocked in the quickest, but the Sinkytowne was only t en seconds behind them:
The Sinkytowne returns from its Maiden Voyage

The Sinkytowne returns from its Maiden Voyage

Then we sent out our second crew.

The Sinkytowne's Second Crew

The Sinkytowne's Second Crew

They did great too, though the came in a little off course and that cost them some time. I had three kids with me who didn’t want to paddle the canoe. I have no idea why, but I’m sure it was a variety of reasons. OK – I’m not going to make anyone get in a cardboard boat in 35 degree water. We only had two more kids who hadn’t paddled but who wanted to paddle. I would paddle stern, and David volunteered to paddle bow (his second voyage). We got in.

I board the Sinkytowne

I board the Sinkytowne


By then, the boat had been punctured at least one more time and the cardboard was feeling a just a tiny bit spongy. But it was still pretty solid. The vikings were changing crews too, so we had to sit there (absorbing more water) will they loaded up with something like 8 or ten people (three of whom were area coordinators, i.e. PhD’s in Pathfinders). I sponged water out of the keel while we waited.

And finally, we’re off! The two kids in the boat with David and me are both named Alex. So we have a main Alex, plus an emergency backup Alex. And they are both paddling pretty hard, as is David. We’re off like a shot. I’m padding pretty hard too, but I’m also steering the boat. We made a beeline for the first bouy, rounded it handily, and then rounded the second one. I lined us up for a beeline to the dock, but I could tell the kids were letting up a bit. So I hollered at them “Paddle! Paddle! Paddle!” and they dug in again. We shot straight as an arrow back to the dock.

Beeline for the dock

Beeline for the dock

And… we tied the Viking’s first attempt. Furthermore, they were still out there padding when we pulled up to the dock. That means no one had a better time than we did (and we did it with half the paddlers, half of whom were under the age of 14). Yes. I think we can boast!

We hauled it out of the water and up off the dock. I guess it doubled its weight with all the water it had absorbed. We flipped it over and saw the the duct tape repair job I had effected was… not completely effectual?

Compromised Hull

Compromised Hull


But that was not the only hole in the boat. We let it set for a while. The Vikings brought their boat up too and deposited it in the fire. Soon others piled their crafts in the fire as well. I was ready to submit the Sinkytowne to the same fate, but by then the fire was huge and on the verge of being out of control. I briefly considered that the SInkytowne consisted of more water than flammable material, but dismissed that thought quickly. Instead, it was almost time for flag lowering, and since I was scheduled to be a part of that, we abandoned ship and went up to the flag area. We would burn the Sinkytowne after lunch.

When we came back, the SInkytown had settled in a bit, developing a nice crease in the hull. It was unable to support its own weight. Warran (who had been manning one of the safety boats during the regatta) suggested we cut the name off the boat, and we did.

Warran with our trophy

Warran with our trophy


Then I offered to cut off a chunk for any kid who wanted their handprint. Several took me up on that, and then we lifted the boat up to transport it to the fire pit. It folded up like a lawn chair.
Folding the Sinkytowne

Folding the Sinkytowne


Then we committed its corpse to the flames.
The burning of the Sinkytowne

The burning of the Sinkytowne

That’s about all the energy I have for writing tonight.

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