Photography,  Writing

Returning To Camp Chateaugay Wilderness After 13 Years Away


I was a camper at Camp Chateaugay Wilderness during the summers of 1993 & 1994.  After 19 years away, I returned for a visit in 2013.

During a camp reunion on August 16th through August 18th, 2013, I returned for a brief visit to Camp Chateaugay Wilderness.  It had been exactly 19 years since I was a camper in Wilderness, in the summers of 1993 and 1994.

Visiting the old camp cabins, I noticed that there were many words of advice written upon the walls of the girls cabin.  I was impressed to read through some very intelligent passages, the majority of which offered sound words of advice to future Wilderness groups.

I can personally speak from experience, having had the opportunity to experience Camp Chateaugay Wilderness for two consecutive summers; both in the summer of 1993 and the following summer of 1994.  I thought of writing my own words of advice, but instead of writing on the walls inside one of the cabins, I thought a better approach would be to do so on my blog, where it would be able to reach a much broader audience.

For those who have never experienced anything like Camp Chateaugay Wilderness, let me say that there is nothing else in life that will even come close to this experience.  If I was able to, I would return here for the experience every summer of my life, so long as I was able to experience it with the same group of people I was with in those two summers.

The following narrative was based upon my experience as a camper in the summers of 1993 and 1994.

The experience will push you to your physical, emotional, and mental limits, yet those around you will be there to help you through it, whatever it takes.  The friendship bonds which will inevitably develop will be ones that will be unlike any other you are likely to ever experience.  Even today, after all these years have passed, I am still very close friends with a small group of people who experienced Camp Chateaugay Wilderness with me.  Our bonds of friendship are stronger than ever, even after all of these years, second only to the bonds we have with our spouses.

Through this experience I learned the value of friendship, and what it means to truly be loved, respected, and adored for who I really am.  I learned to have patience, how to forgive, how to trust, and the virtues of having an open mind.

I came through this experience; it changed my life forever, and by all accounts, for the better.  I came through this experience having made a lot of friends, sharing good times as well as challenges and hardship, but most of all, the best part of this experience were the stories and memories of what we experienced, together, as a group of close friends.

When the group of us returned after some 19 years away, we noticed that while a few handful of things had changed, notably the size of the group, the electric refrigeration in the kitchen, and the gas-powered stove, everything else has stayed pretty much unchanged.  Best of all, my name is still written in the rafters above where my bed was in 1994.

My advice is to take lots of pictures, write down all of your experiences, and don’t forget to add your name to the growing collection of names in the cabins, as it is doubtful that you will never again have an experience like this again in your life.

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