Whoo Hoo!!  Dates have been set!

July 14-16, 2017.

Start making your travel plans!


This week, my daughter and I hiked at camp twice.  I was in search of the Pink Lady’s Slippers that bloom there.  On Tuesday, they were up, but still pale and ghostly.  On Saturday, the were glorious.  Along the way we took lots of other pictures, too.

Painted Trillium:

Rose Twisted Stalk:

Star Flower:

Wild Geranium:

Golden Ragwort:

May Apple:

A bench overlooking Jackman Bay:

Jackman Bay from the Peninsula:

Re-growth around beaver-chewed trees:

Red Eft:

Animal Tracks in the mud:

This camp is a gem, a treasure… I hope we can keep it for generations to come… But it needs some tender loving care. Lots of it. More on this later.

I don’t get to visit camp as often now that the girls can drive themselves… But sometimes I get down there…  Here are a few shots taken around camp:

Twelve-spotted Skimmer
Twelve-spotted Skimmer

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat

As I type, Emily is on her way back to college. Yesterday, we had a chance for one last ski together at… where else?… Camp Timbercrest.


It was a pretty day, if cold. Temperatures in the teens, “RealFeel” in the single digits… It took me until we got all the way over to the Sunset shelter before my fingers were warm…

We decided to ski out to the leanto…

The Leanto

I would so love to winter camp here… Though it would be nice if the shelter faced the fire circle, rather than the creek… hmmm… Maybe another location for winter camping would be better…

View from the Leanto

We rested only briefly. The cold settled in quickly… We needed to keep moving to stay warm.

Keyser Lake appears to be completely frozen over… But I would never try to cross it… I know how deep it is! I’ll stick to the roads and trails, thank you very much.

Road to the Lodge from the Units

A delightful day…

(Cross posted at my WinterWoman blog.)

Geese Overhead

This has been just about the most glorious weekend ever. Especially cool was that a whole bunch of girls, including some who had never been there before, got to experience Camp Timbercrest during the riotous colors of fall. Girls came from around the council to work on a canoe and kayak Interest Project.

It is especially poignant to those of us who grew up coming to Camp Timbercrest every summer to see girls come here to learn canoeing. Here’s why: Esther Keyser (“Skipper”) was instrumental in establishing this property as a Girl Scout Camp and served as Camp Director in the early days. The lake is named in her honor, as is Skipper’s Rock. Esther went on to become the first female licensed guide in Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada. She wrote a book of her experiences there called Paddling My Own Canoe. Her legacy is great and her spirit lives on at Girl Scout Camp Timbercrest.

Karen Cotton and Concetta Young were co-instructors for the paddling part of the day. Girls learned basic strokes together in the Dining Hall on benches before hitting the water.

Practicing Strokes Before Hitting the Water

Out on the Lake, they stayed close to shore for a few practice strokes, then took off on an Amazing Race to the swim dock, then back to Jackman’s Bay, around the Peninsula to Skipper’s Rock, and home again to the Boat Dock.

Girls Approach Clue on the Peninusula

Paddling Past the Totem Pole

Maddie and Jessica

I had to leave shortly after the paddling part, but there were more workshops in the afternoon with Mike from Evergreen Outfitters.

There are plenty more photos at my Flickr Site. Click here to see them. Any member of Girl Scouts of Western New York is welcome to download any of these photos. In Flickr, select the photo you want, then click “all sizes”. Select the size you want, then click download.

We have reached that unhappy time of year when campers and camp counselors across the country suffer a common illness: Camp-Withdrawl. In the summer, we happily sing that “come September… we will remember… our camping days and friendships true.” Okay, great. We relive our camp memories by relating them to friends and family as we relish the last days of summer. But what about October? (Or, as we might say at Timbercrest of late, what about the month of “Toast”?)

The weather starts to get colder. We have to put away our camp clothes in favor of sweaters, scarves, and jackets. We trade our good hiking shoes in for heavy winter boots. The workload at school and work starts to pick up. Suddenly instead of playing a fun teambuilding game, we’re writing papers. Instead of relaxing by the fire while our foil dinners bake, we’re gulping down mac and cheese and racing off to a soccer game.

I often fine myself humming “Today” or “Three Green and Speckled Frogs” under my breath and pause to lament the lack of goofy songs in the real world. Because that’s the trouble with it all. At this time of year, we are forced to realize that the real world isn’t like camp.  That’s terribly disallusioning and un-utopian, but it’s true.  Our lives simply can’t be the way they are at camp all the time.  Don’t get me wrong, the real world does have its perks.  You get to sleep in your own bed, things are generally cleaner, and you don’t have to eat Brownie Bites (usually).  But it’s just not camp.  Especially when you work somewhere as beautiful as Timbercrest, the real world just pales in comparison.

So how do we cope with these post-camp blues?  Get in touch with camp friends to let them know how much you miss them.  Look at pictures, maybe even make a scrapbook.  Take a sunny day and go for a hike- it doesn’t matter where as long as you’re outside!  Sing your favorite camp song to yourself or teach it to your troop.  Above all, remember that camp will still be there next year.  In the meantime, we’ve got the whole of the real world to enjoy!

Pickles showed up at camp on June 13th and 14th to help out with a couple of Council events – a special program for girls who sold a lot of cookies, and a camp open house.  Yes, it’s true: Pickles is still a dedicated volunteer at Timbercrest summer camp and other events.  What she didn’t know when she arrived to volunteer is that this open house would have an event in her honor…  The council would award her the Thanks Badge.

Pickles, Donna, Marlene

The Pizza StoryShe was probably wondering why so many of her old friends were on hand on such a rainy day for “just another” Camp Open House.  As the afternoon was winding down to a close, Marlene made the announcement that something special was planned to honor Pickles and Gwen came out of the kitchen with pickles on the end of barbecue skewers… so that we could start the “Pickles” roast.

Michelle, a former camper who had Pickles for a counselor, related a story about how she had insisted that they try to cook pizza over a campfire.  Pickles was skeptical, but wanted to empower the girls, so she gave in.  They made the dough, covered it with sauce and cheese and attempted to cook it over a campfire.  When they deemed it done, Pickles raved about how good it was.  Michelle confessed that actually, it was awful.  Still, Pickles had the girls convinced that they had achieved total success!

Binky was on hand to tell a story that probably should not be related here…  Suffice it to say that when Binky started working at camp and found out how cool the other counselors were, with Pickles as ring-leader, she knew she had made the right choice for a summer job.

Pickles and Binky
Pickles and Binky

Pickles Reacts to a Letter from BurnsieBurnsie couldn’t be there.  Instead, she sent a story which Pickles was asked to act out as she listened.  We were all in hysterics.  It seems one day after a cookout, Pickles was getting ready to toss the dishwater.  Apparently Pickles was well known for throwing out silverware and scrubbies, and all sorts of things when she dumped the water.  This time, she thought she’d reach in to see if anything remained in the dishpan…  Her hand squeezed around… A DROWNED MOUSE!  Pickles even re-enacted the scream that still echoes through the woods around Keyser Lake!

Donna told a story about a Girl Scout trip to Washington DC during which Pickles got into all kinds of trouble… opening doors that were supposed to stay shut… having her jackknife confiscated at a security check…  Oh, Pickles!  Can’t you behave?

 Joanne Nelson added a serious note about how Pickles and all the counselors that worked at Timbercrest have made it a very special place.  She put Pickles in the top ten counselors she has ever worked with.

A Pickles Roast
Joanne and Pickles

When all the roasting was over, Pickles was pinned with the last ever Girl Scouts of Southwestern New York Thanks Badge.  (Our council has now merged and we are part of Girl Scouts of Western New York!)

Lisa, Pickles, and Marlene

We love you Pickles!  You certainly deserve this award!  Congratulations!