Remembering Winter at Camp

Remembering Winter at Camp

By Pati Egan

Imagine walking down the snow-covered Camp Road by Daniel in the early 1960s and 1970s. The only sound you hear are your boots crunching in the snow. Perhaps then Ranger Ralph Rheinecker sent you and your “off-season” staff to find the perfect site for the next big project or perhaps to find the perfect piece of cedar for the perfect campfire.

Remembering Winter at Camp - Walking down a snowy covered sinder path at Camp Ondessonk

Many skills were needed in those days, but not the same skills that are needed today. I don’t know how well today’s staff are with hand tools, such as hand axes, or having one single gasoline generator to help build an entire cabin, but wait, this is about memories – not facts.

Rumor has it that the original off-season boy’s staff lived in the original Administration Building (Staff Lounge) and then in the Cook’s Cottage. The Cook’s Cottage is located on the Camp Road right next to the Health Center and the Handicrafts Building. The original Camp Ranger and his family lived in this small residence until the Ranger’s house was built. Dan King and his family currently live in this home. Imagine getting on a toboggan or old-fashioned sled, and your goal was to sled from the Ranger’s house to the bottom of the hill by the Cabana.  

Remembering Winter at Camp-  The orginal administration building at night during the winter at Camp Ondessonk

Long-time off-season staff Gene Canavan has memories of living in the Cook’s Cottage; a building never built for winter housing. A small dual-space heater heated the building. Norb Garvey remembers living in the original Infirmary with a small wood stove. Showers were taken in Shower House C. Imagine crossing the star-lit parking lot – perhaps the brightest stars you’ve ever seen. Perhaps you hear the howl of a distant animal and recall the many scary stories told around a campfire the past summer. Perhaps you stare in awe at the beauty of God’s heaven and earth.

Remembering Winter at Camp-  Frozen waterfalls at Camp Ondessonk.

Click here to learn more about Camping and Hiking at Camp Ondessonk.

Remembering Winter at Camp -10/25/2023.


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