There are always certain things that people associate with summer, pools, beaches, sun, freedom from school, and of course the opening of Camp Dodge Volunteer center. I (Goose) have been here at Dodge now for the last 6 weeks cleaning, hammering, painting, mowing and everything in between, in preparation for the volunteers. There was endless work to be done in order to get this year ready for the season. It has been 5 years since the last Dodge Facilities Coordinator, in years past the cook was combined with this position. The cook in of it self is a full time job, if there was no food on the table or the toilet paper holders were out, people would complain about the lack of food. So the last 5 years have been the cook cooking and trying to just deal with things like the lawn. So, basic repairs were always put off or put back. Coming into this job I knew there would be lots of work for me to do and lots of variety. The last 6 weeks have been filled with tasks that range from building bunk beds to clipping loads to a helicopter. Every week seems to be filled with new adventure and excitement.
As things unfold at Dodge this year, I hope to provide some insight to those who would like to know what is happening up here at Dodge on a weekly basis. I am already six weeks behind, but that only because I have been too busy to even breath. However there were some exciting things that did happen over the weeks that I feel are worth mentioning.
To begin with, we have a new garden this year, there have been earlier blog posts about this, we have planted and almost filled the garden to the max with plants like pees, squash, kale, potatoes and broccoli. This garden more or less boiled down to just throwing in some seeds in the ground that were donated to our program by Johnny's Selected Seeds. We started planting at the end of May and things have already reached a considerable size, plants like the pees and potatoes have grown at an very rapped rate. Even last yearʼs kale, that was planted outside the main building by Kelsey, grew back without us even doing anything. Itʼs only early June and itʼs already seeding. The best part of this garden is the amount of people that are able and willing to give a hand in tending to it. We have had most all the Dodge staff help out and even the backcountry caretakers, who live at Dodge on there off days, have been willing to lend a hand in the care of the plants. This garden is turning into the Dodge community garden. Once volunteers start showing up more often they too will contribute to the maintenance of this grand project.
For a couple of weeks out of the year Dodge does this mutation thing were it becomes an airport. The AMC for many years now has been flying certain supplies to the huts, shelters and also supplies for the trail programs run here at Dodge. As a kid I always had a fascination with things that fly, birds, planes, and helicopters. It was great fun and very distracting that this metal bird would come swooping in every 10 minutes. Most of the loads involve just clipping a net filled with supplies to the hook at the bottom of the line, however, there was one really large specialty item this year that got flown up to Madison Hut, a 100 foot plus long pipe, running the whole length of the big back field. In order to be flown the distance from Dodge to Madison, they tied one end of the pipe to the line then to the chopper and Carl, the pilot, just started to lift it off the ground. It was quiet the sight to see.
On a whole different note, we have had five bear sightings so far in the camp. They do not seem to be that bothered by the presence of people. We can run, jump and make loud noises at them and they just look at us like we are stupid. I think the only permanent solution would be to make Anya start to cook food that does not taste or smell so good, then maybe they would be less attracted to our area.
The first group of teens has shown up here at Dodge, the check-in process went as well as I could have hoped. Today they all head out to the woods to start there work for the AMC. We are pleased to know that there is such a large crowed that is interested in helping out with the trail maintenance. We have two spike crews, one is working on the Twinway Trail and the other is on the Wildcat River Trail. We also are running a teen base camp crew working in the Great Gulf Wilderness that will be returning every night back here to Dodge. All our leaders are first years at Dodge, I wish them all luck on their first week in the woods.
This is five-one Goose signing out with Camp Dodge journal.