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
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
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.