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Camp Oljato - Memorial Day 2004

It all begins with fear and loathing in Fresno, CA.  I flew from DIA to FAT (yes, that's the Fresno Air Terminal) on Saturday morning and the flight went fine.  I sat next to an elderly Catholic woman who tried slyly but without success to convert me during a 2.25 hour flight.  Her aim was in direct conflict with my goal of napping as much as possible to make up for the 5 am alarm.  Anyway, what faith I had I lost in the Budget Rental Car line. My 90k mile white Kia was just barely going to make it.  I let the twisties in the foothills really stretch out that creaky suspension and got to camp at about lunch.  My cell phone call to the other dock caught everyone by surprise and I was swiftly picked up.  The weekend went great.  I helped clear out the dining hall including the roof pole caber toss, fixed a leaking pipe in family camp, set up Family camp, welded together some dock anchors and a myriad of other little tasks.  There were some of the usual suspects there including some friendly staff members who spent the evenings watching Mike Myers movies and roasting s'mores in Stern Lodge.  Skip barbequed like usual and Sonny provided more than enough grub to go around.  The pictures here depict that weekend and the trip to and fro.  The ride down the hill went fast, mostly because I didn't like hearing the rattling brakes on the Kia so I didn't use them.  Before hitting the airport for my flight out I had to get some good authentic cooking so I stopped at a strip mall in Fresno (there truly is no more sad a venue than a Fresno strip mall) and parked the car between a Hmong noodle house and a Mexican cantina.  Both made me fell vaugely at home in a way the Boulder Chipotle never will.  Fresno air terminal is really a cosmopolitan localle.  Why, there was John Muir's airport bar (that whirring sound is him spinning in his grave) and an obese white guy in a fedora teaching english to his Russian mail order bride.  The air trip fro went smoothly but the old Catholic lady was replaced by Elbow Woman.  Elbow Woman's secret power is her ability to monopolize an entire armrest at any given time, asleep or awake.

Enjoy the pics.

First the Vicki:

The Vicki is an old longboat from Honnor Marine.  It is used by the senior sailing class and by the sailing staff.

And now the barges:

The barges started life as half-ponton's for treadway bridges in the Korean War.  The corps of engineers would drag them up a river and lash them side by side. See a photo of this here.  They have been outfitted with transoms and bench seats for camp use and handle surprisingly well.  Every winter they are beached.  Before these, the camp had landing craft ala D-Day.  A rusty 10 cyl cast iron engine block can be seen when the lake is low enough, you do the math.

Here I am watching some weather roll in.

Tent platform number one in close proximity to the maintenance shed.  


The boardwalk through the meadow.  

Latrine number 1.  A favorite of adults, staff, budding grafitti artists and bears.

Don't forget to put your swimming tag on the sailing buddy board.

Sonny's only complaint about my boat driving was that I got us back too fast to finish his nap.  It takes a hard working scouter to nap on a floored inboard engine.

A young volunteer hanging out on the maintenance dock.   The Green Weenie was in the water and humming and those blue barrels were donated for use around camp.  The barrels came from Pepsi and I cut them open.  Let's just say that you don't want to get Pepsi's secret ingredient on your shoes.

Maintenance.  Where the action is!  

A curiously shaped rock on the trail from waterfront to Navajo.  Its novelty is not lost on 300 thirteen year old boys.

Skip barbeques up some some tasty steaks while his patient but ultimately unsatisfied dog looks on.

A set of paintings lining the ceiling of the dining hall.

These signs hang above the chow line.

The coolest totem in the whole dining hall.  Today people don't even recall the Stanford indian.


I tried to get all the Troop 33 totems I could find in the dining hall.  There used to be one more, a tiny diorama near the doors with names from before my time but that seems to be gone.

I had to shoot this one because I've always thought it was seriously cool.  Nerdy, but cool.

If you take some time to look around, you find art in the most unusual places at Oljato including this etched glass in the kitchen bathroom!

And this inspired sketch found in every family camp crapper.

The million dollar view from Stern Lodge.  The story goes that Lucy Stern had the house built after she bought the camp.  She intended to stay there on the occasion of her visits which never happened.  The hall, however, has remained and is used for functions, staff and a particularly memorable Eagle reunion I had there once.  It is stocked with wood every fall for winter visitors.

An old photograph of a Navajo woman weaving somewhere in southern Utah.  The name Oljato comes from an indian village in Monument Valley and means "starlight on the waters."

I bought a woodcut of this scene a few years back from a fellow who used to be a staff member at camp.  The stonework on the chimney is both intricate and massive.  The shutters are still on the windows in this shot.

The old white jeep parked behind the dining hall.  Notice the floral print mattress that has replaced the passenger seat.  


One last shot of the dock as the boat pulls away from camp.

Shiloh is Skip's faithful boating companion.

I won't say whose car this is.