Rides and Ribs

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CIT. It stands for Counselor in Training, but it has been so much more than that. And it isn’t over— I’ve got a whole second two-week session ahead of me.

Over the course of the past two weeks, I’ve slept in a tipi with younger campers—a new experience for me, a member of the Washoe cabin in my first year—mountain biked as a councilor, leading campers on new-to-Shaffer’s trails, and helped lead evening program, among many other things.

Bunk life has been fantastic, even though I was switched into a different tipi than the one in which I was originally positioned. The first week I spent with Chumash.

Never have I felt the perpetual energy of five eleven-year-olds for twenty-four hours a day (save when I was one of the five) and never could I have imagined it to be so powerful a force to be reckoned with.

I learned to accept that they woke me up at six every morning to allow me to go and take a shower, and not to spite or annoy me. Conversely, in the older tipi in which I spent my second week, I often slept until several minutes past the beginning of breakfast.

I have yet to shower since my Chumash days, and the infinite supply of dust around camp has convinced me that no matter how much I wash down the shower drain, I won’t make camp even remotely cleaner. Outside of the tipi, I took the position of a counselor in the bikes and boards program… and came to the same quick conclusion I have reached in every year I have been here as a camper: camp is completely free of dust and dirt, comparatively. On the last day of camp, we took the bike tracking campers to ride the Downieville Downhill.

A phenomenal trail that winds down from Packer Saddle (elevation 7300 or so) to the small but vibrant town of Downieville (elevation 3400 or so), the Downieville Downhill, which follows the Sunrise trail to Butcher Ranch, to Third Divide, and then to First Divide, keeps even the most experienced riders on their toes.

The campers made it look easy after two weeks of riding other trails building up to that final ride. Back in camp, we enjoyed the final dinner we would spend together as a group: rib night.

Rib night is a beautiful, beautiful moment: more silent than any other meal, by a long stretch, until the groans of satisfaction and stretched stomach linings filled the air.

I am sad to see this group of campers leave, but I am eager to meet the new group as well.