Submitted by Penny Roberts
Driving up the dirt road to see the expanse of meadow, trees and sky, my heart leaps as it always does every time I return to Meadow Mountain Ranch. Songs come flooding into my mind and smells of pine and campfire and cooking-out come close to overwhelming my senses. I am excited to see old friends and to meet new ones. I feel that song coming on, right? Women’s Week is a unique opportunity for all adult women to come together and play at camp, reminisce about all the years past when they were a camper, or try all the new experiences if they had never been able to go to camp before.
What did I look forward to most? The people, food, fires, fun, hikes, flowers, songs. “It’s up in the morning, at breakin’ of day,” – – that’s for sure, and “Bed is too small for my tiredness.” Long days, warm skies, too many things to do in too short a time.
This year, a total of 39 women gathered and offered their favorite activities, or requested ideas of what they would like to do to maximize their time in the Colorado high country. A “Big Circle Tour” acquainted us all with the camp property, its trails, views and details. The flowers are absolutely spectacular this year. It seems that spring, summer and fall vegetation and colors have all become jumbled and mixed because of the weather this year. The grass is nearly 4’ high in the back meadow. (Break out the allergy medicine, that’s for sure, at least for some!)
A group gathered at 6:15 a.m. for the early-morning hike to the top of Vista Spur, where all the mountain peaks are visible in a 360-degree spectacular view.
Let’s talk about the food for a while, OK? Susan Baker is our culinary guru, with the help of several of her Girl Scout troop, who did the menu planning, shopping and organizing. To say the food was fabulous is an understatement! It’s almost more than we can do to wait to see what surprises are in store for the next meal. We cooked over fires again this year, which is a true blessing, and one of my favorite things to do. Other cooking opportunities involved propane stoves, charcoal and a reflector oven. A feature attraction was a TV cooking show-type bake-off with veterans competing against the younger girls to see who made the best pineapple upside down cake in a dutch oven. Who won? Too close to call, we decided, and we made quick work of all of it!
Fresh produce was donated in the form of cantaloupes from Rocky Ford and homegrown rhubarb from the Denver area. The cantaloupes were gobbled up entirely every time they were served and the rhubarb was featured in strawberry-rhubarb crisp made in a reflector oven and homemade rhubarb jam cooked in the lodge kitchen. THANKS to Debbie, Tajer and Nancy for helping us have extra fun with food.
The GSCO History Group gathered on Tuesday morning to complete the history display in the Homestead House. Their efforts were supplemented by new items discovered in the basement of the lodge and ephemera and memorabilia brought by folks to be added. Be sure to stop in at the Homestead House each and every time you come to MMR to learn more about the history of this unique property.
A respectful and moving ceremony was held after lunch that day to burn several U.S. and Colorado flags. It is appropriate to hoist one of the flags to be burned on the flagpole, talk about how and why these flags are being retired, and then gather amid friends before a very hot fire to be sure the flags are completely consumed.
Well, there were many other things to do – – a “Margaret Party” with an old-style movie version of the “Golden Eaglet” movie, campfire every night, sing-alongs every time we got together, crafts, hikes, nature activities, more cooking, more singing………don’t forget story time for a full-length reading of James Thurber’s “The 13 Clocks,” and “The Tajer Tales.”
Kapers, which seem tedious when you do them at home, are actually fun at camp! Cooking, doing dishes, cleaning the biffy, waste management all take on meaning by way of keeping camp clean and safe. MMR has instituted a “Zero Waste” program, and we women needed several tutorials to refine our trash disposal techniques each day.
Sadly, most women left at the end of the Women’s Week event, but several intrepid volunteers remained to operate the Core Camp for troops. Over 100 girls and leaders arrived that afternoon and enjoyed three nights of non-stop fun and outdoor frivolity at MMR. Core Camp is an event that grew out of the desire of several MMR staff alums who wanted to make sure that more girls were able to experience MMR in all its high summer glory. From the surveys conducted at the end, they were not disappointed! (A separate blog posting is coming along shortly to detail the events of Core Camp.)
To close, Women’s Week and Core Camp at MMR this summer leave us with more fond memories to add to our Girl Scout history and experiences. Plans are even now underway to bring these two events to everyone again next summer. Watch the publications for that information.