Showing posts with label Camping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camping. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Opening Day at Darien Lake

May will be cold and rainy, but that has never stopped us from going to the park opening day. May 5th, 10:30-8 will be the hours. 69 days from today.

The water park opens a few weeks later. We have our season passes and this year we picked the food option. Last year, we spent over 22 days in the park and it seemed to make sense to add in a meal plan. I figured five people dining 22 times a year vs. the $69.99 price tag, that works out be less than 20 bucks a visit. I can't feed a family of five for $20 at McDonalds. We'll see how it goes. 

Today, I am posting some of the nicer images I took over the years. I should create an album for this sort of thing. 

Giant Wheel

The Predator

Tornado

Boomerang

Monday, May 30, 2016

TGT-1415C-1 Embark 9 Person Tent by HKD International

For Christmas 2012, I received the HKD Global 9 Man Tent. Due to a noticeable lack of information on the web, I had wait until June 2013 to set it up to see what it looked like. UPDATE - it looks like this tent is discontinued. If you have one treat it well. If you need one, try the Embark 8 man tent

It’s great. I couldn’t ask for a better tent, but like all tents, the instruction sheet is poor. The condensed instructions on the inside of the carry bag are handy, but without seeing the assembled product, they are too sparse.

Setup is easy, but does require time and two people. Start by opening the bag and the cardboard box. Do not use a knife, just peel the tape away. Find the envelope with the instruction pamphlet.

The first step is to spread the whole tent out. Remember, you have both a tent and a rain fly. The tent is largely screen mesh, the fly is blue and solid. Put the fly aside for now.


Next, stake the four corners at the metal rings.  There are six rings total, you will skip two of them.


Next, find the A poles. These are long fiberglass poles with 7 sections. Assemble them and slide them diagonally into the sleeves. Next pick up the reddish orange five section B pole and slide it into the sleeve from front to back. All fiberglass poles have sleeves.


There are six plastic elbows, two red and four black. Make sure that the elbows are facing the right way by checking that the nylon strap is not twisted. As a double check, the small fiberglass poles fit into side with smaller internal diameter.


Now you will need some help. Assemble the 6 black steel poles and insert into the elbows. Metal poles do not have sleeves. The stake ring has one or more pins. Place a pin inside of the pole to secure it to the ground.

I found it easier to stand the posts up in the elbows, then work my way around the tent putting the pole on to the pin. Now use the Vecro straps to secure the tent edges to the metal poles.



Now spread out the mesh entryway and slide the last grey fiberglass pole into the sleeve and then the elbows.


Now for the grey steel poles. Insert them into the elbows and then use the remaining pins on the ground. These poles also have Vecro straps. With this step complete, work your way around all of the steel poles and snap the plastic clips together at ground level.



This is the step requires help. Lay out the fly in front of the tent and make sure this logo is furthest from the tent:


Now gather the whole fly together and lift it on to the top of the tent.


When this step is done, again check to make sure the logo is on the front left side of the tent. Next grab the remaining stakes and find the orange tie downs.


Unwind and pull the tie down into a loop using the plastic slider.


Stake them down about 2 or 3 feet from the side of the tent. Location will determine the distance. Once this is complete, use the last two stakes to secure the back and front center ground rings.
Walk around the tent and check the Velcro straps to be sure they didn’t slide on the poles. Also check the orange tie downs for tensions.

The total assembly time was about an hour for the first try. Now that I have done it once, I would expect to do it in about half the time.





















Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Camp

This is the first year I haven’t been to camp with my boys. Both have moved up from Cub Scout to Boy Scout and no longer require their parents at camp.
The program run by the Greater Niagara Frontier Council is amazing. Through out the summer, they mentor and guide youngsters to be the best they can. The leaders and counselors work gruelling hours out in the rough, week after week, all through July and into August. Parents and leaders only see a brief 4 day window of camp life. The staff lives it for weeks to make it all possible.
I already miss our 4 day camps. One of my favorite people at Camp Scouthaven is Digger, the camp Ranger.
He is always “on”, he is the face of the camp from sun up to sun down. He works tirelessly to make sure the camp is an amazing experience for young and old alike.
To put a point on it, I went to camp as a child and don’t really have a clear recollection of it. No one really stood out. My daughter dropped in for a closing dinner raves about Digger and his antics. If she remembers from a brief encounter over dinner, my boys are going to have wonderful memories of their time in camp.
If you have the opportunity to camp at Scouthaven, jump at it. If camping is not your thing, be sure to check out the GNFC website for other happenings at the camp, like the yearly sugar mapling breakfast.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Wonders of Slovakia?

Earlier this month, my boys and I spent four days at Scout Haven Cub Scout camp in Freedom, NY. I haven’t posted on the camp itself, but the staff are really the heart and soul of this camp.
Our guide, Barbara was participating in a worldwide scout exchange program. Barbara was visiting from Slovakia, a region with a long history of scouting. She spent hours talking with the boys about the differences between US and Slovakian scouting. We also received a brief linguistics review. “Lighting a match/fire” is a concept that did not compute to Barbara, but “strike a match” and “start a fire” did make sense.
Not much is all that different, but when it is different it is wildly so. In Slovakia, tepee’s are used by leaders and camp staff while at Scout Haven the staff use cabins. Written materials are largely absent in Slovakia, with an oral tradition taking its place. Food is about the same except for lunch, but the quantities in the US are not surprising larger. Lunches tend to be soups and/or finger foods.
Barbara spent several hours with our pack as our guide/VIP, and enriched our understanding of scouting with her perspective. She and the other staff made our summer vacation absolutely wonderful, with camp wide events.