Saturday, May 11, 2019

Camp Scouthaven, Freedom, New York

I have such wonderful memories of Camp Scouthaven. As a child, I didn't stay in Scouts long enough to get into camping. Boy, did I want to and really regret it.

In 2014, my son Nathan and I went camping in Freedom, New York. Scouthaven in a massive campground for Scouts. On this day, we were "up on the hill", a test skill to end a scout's time in Webelos before moving on to Boy Scouts. On the last night at Cub Scout Camp, the oldest scouts go up on the hill for a little archery.

This isn't your typical archery range, it's action archery. Some of the targets move. Some of them are everyday things you aren't allow to shoot at under normal circumstances. Others are just plain fun distance shots.

Nathan loved MOST of it. The one that got him was a series of three lines with bells, a giant truck tire and a regular bulls-eye target behind it all. On his first shot there was a "tink-tink-thunk!" as the arrow struck bells, zipped through the tire and landed in the middle of bulls-eye.

Fifteen minutes later, he was crying. The problem? He couldn't hit 3 bells, thread the tire and hit the target with one shot. The range instructor told him "The bells are set up close, medium and far. You aren't supposed to hit three of the them, just one."

Nathan replied, "Why would do that to kids. I've been hitting two bells at a time and couldn't figure out why I couldn't get all three."

The range instructor asked, "Two bells?"

Nathan fired arrow after arrow into two bells, threaded the tire and hit bulls-eyes, flawlessly. Then he switched hands and repeated the trick. The range instructor was flummoxed. The only reason he could hit two bells was because the wind was blowing them into a line. "Okay, Hawkeye. Go to another station..."

Later, there was a bonfire. There is a whole story that goes with this event. I won't ruin it for you. No spoilers, but it is amazing. If you get the chance, you must see this.

That's enough for now. I'll come back and update with more details on the pictures below.














Saturday, May 4, 2019

Opening Day at Six Flags Darien Lake.


I was the fourth person in the park! There was a family of 3 in front of me and they fired off a bunch of confetti cannons to mark the new sign.

I haven't noticed too many changes from last year. Skyscreamer has replaced the Vomit Log or whatever it was called. Good. 

The Preditor was out of action, I saw some workers on the tracks making adjustments or repairs. 

I stopped at the camp store and lounge. The only change I noticed was an uptick in beer prices at the camp store, which is still cheaper than everywhere else in the park and the fact that wifi is having problems in the lounge. Not too bad for opening day under a different brand.



Corfu, NY

I find myself traveling in Genessee county all the time for camp and vacationing. On of the better stops is on Route 77 and 5. This Tim Hortons has a nicely appointed sitting area, bathrooms and free wifi. They have an outdoor sitting area and charging stations inside at the big wooden table. When I need a coffee, breakfast or just a break this is my go to place. It's about 10 minutes from Darien Lakes State Park* and Six Flags Darien Lake.

*Did you know the lake at Darien Lakes State Park is called Harlow Lake?

Sunday, April 21, 2019

13 days to go

Hello campers. It is 13 days until the opening of Darien Lake Six Flags Theme Park. This is the second time that Six Flags has taken ownership of the park and I can't wait for some changes and fear others. Only time will tell.

Whether you are camping, staying at the hotel or just riding the rides, it really is a beautiful place. I cannot wait for May 4th. I believe the water park will open May 18th. I hope to see all of you there. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Disney Panoramas

I love amusement parks. My sense of wonder and adventure is fueled by the novelty of pure fantasy made real. I don't have a great camera, only my Moto x4 phone. When combined with Google Photos, sometimes a phone can create some wonderful images.

Today, I would like to share all of the panorama images I captured at Disney this Christmas time. It was a wonderful trip and these images really captured the magic.

The Leave a Legacy at Epcot


Future World? at Epcot

The pylons for Skyliner at Christmas 2018.

The Magic Kingdom at Christmas

More fun at Magic Kingdom

Outside Be Our Guest

The moat around Be Our Guest.

Reflecting pond at Epcot

Hollywood Studios, I think. Beautiful, in any case.

Epcot again 

Epcot view from the edge of the International Showcase

The paths and gardens in UK, World Showcase


The countdown to New Years in Epcot.

In between Future World and International Showcase

The Bay at Disney Boardwalk, steps from Trattoria al Forno

Monday, October 8, 2018

Camp Schoellkopf - Phillips Cabin - Feb 2017

SSR - Schoellkopf Scout Reserve is my favorite place to camp. The last time I was there overnight was back in 2017. We got all four seasons that weekend. We arrived on a Friday night and lit up a fire outside of Phillips.

Nathan at the fire ring
 It was a gorgeous first night, mid 50's if I recall correctly. We unpacked and set up the campsite for our weekend. This is one of my favorite cabins as it has a massive fireplace and two very large windows looking out on to the ravine.

The kitchen area is a little odd, it is sectioned off in the back of the building with a door facing out the right side of the cabin.

The real joy is the windows facing the left side of the campsite. You wake up trees and a beautify framed river scene. It really is breathtaking.

Later that night, the storm came in. The temperature dropped 40 degrees and the wind was incredible. It didn't stop us from making peach and cherry chocolate cobbler in dutch ovens over the fire.

The site is very exposed to the weather, we all needed to put on extra layers. My son Paul braved the cold, but Nathan retreated inside to enjoy the fireplace and a couple of card games before dinner.

Despite the breathtaking scenery, there is a real hazard of falling to in the ravine. We had to keep a close eye on the drop off to left the cabin. There is some fencing on that side, but I suspect it would make a poor safety net. Over the summer of 2018, I noticed some improvements to the fire ring and the landscaping near the dropoff. While the safety fence is still there and in sad shape, the landscaping provides plenty of warnings before you reach the ledge.

By Sunday morning, the temperatures came back up and the snow was gone. 



The right side of the cabin, with the door to the kitchen barely visible. 

The front of the cabin in daylight.

This window has some of the best views in SSR. The drop off is to the right in this image.

One of the best secrets around SSR is the trees can block the wind so efficiently that air doesn't move at all. When approaching Phillips from the ravine, it can get breathtakingly cold. But if you stop moving, the warmth from your own body doesn't move away. It feels like magic. It reminds me of The Wood Between Worlds from C. S. Lewis's The Magicians Nephew.

I can't wait to go back.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Breakfast at Darien Lake

Ah, the things you notice when you aren't looking.

The Beaver Brother's Lakeside Cafe at Darien Lake has a breakfast special. $12.99 buffet for adults, $9.99 for kids. The Lakeside Cafe is the best restaurant at Darien Lake for any meal. The breakfast buffet has to be great, too.


I could totally picture myself running here while camping. It is so close to the cabins and so much easier than cooking yourself.