By Peggy O'Connell
Whoo, Whoo, Whoo - Back to Lodestar!
Come Back to Lodestar and maybe you will spot a rare Great Gray Owl, Strix nebulosa, showing off its 5-foot wingspan flying over the meadow looking for dinner. If you’re an early bird, wandering about near dawn, you might spot this huge dusky gray earless owl with yellow eyes, large facial disks and distinctive black chin spot bordered by white patches resembling a bow tie perched on a low branch watching and listening for prey. You may even spot a nest in a dead or broken treetop. If you happen to be out at dusk wandering through the trees, you may hear the deep rhythmic hoots - whoo, whoo, whoo, whoos - of this Great Gray Owl. If you don’t hear them, give it a try yourself –whoo whoo whoo – you may just spot one. Come back to Lodestar and enjoy the serenity of nature.
By Peggy O'Connell (staff)
and Julie Leigh Domeny (camper)
Though the long tradition of “snipe hunt” pranks at summer camp has convinced many people otherwise, Wilson’s Snipes aren’t made-up creatures. These plump, long-billed birds are found throughout North America.
Experience as Lodestar Staff:
How could you ever forget your first snipe hunt? The thrill, the excitement, the feelings of being lost, and the one that got away. Snipe hunting was done on a moonless night with only the stars shining bright.
Camp Counselors: “All first time campers line up, grab a gunnysack and head down towards the small meadow area that is surrounded by trees and wait for us. “
Campers Chatting as they walked: “What’s a snipe?” “Isn’t it some sort of a bird?” “Why do we hunt them at night? “ “Hey, what happened to our counselors?”
Camp Counselors Whisper among themselves: “Half of us will go hide behind the trees and bushes, ready to make snipe calls and rustle the bushes. The others spot “the snipes” with your flashlight in the bushes and lead the campers all through the trees.”
Campers: “Is that one?” “Where?” “I heard it. Did you?”
Counselors: “Yes, over there quick, in the patch of mountain misery. Get your bag ready. Go, go, go in that bush.”
The snipe hunt continued for 20 minutes with counselors spotting the ever-illusive snipe, making snipe calls, and the campers chasing the snipes they thought they saw here and there.
Campers: “Did you catch a snipe?” “No, did you?” “Hey, where did all our counselors go?”
Camp Counselors: Leaving the hunt quietly, we’re back in the lodge laughing and recounting the nights successful snipe hunt.
Experience as a Lodestar Camper:
I have mostly fleeting Lodestar memories. The beads; the singing; and…most of all… the snipe hunt night walks! In my vision, I can see and feel the terror, or perhaps exhilaration even to this day.
I know some campers were squealing as our little huddle of perhaps 15-16 campers clung to each other. In my typical demeanor of that time, I’m sure I was silent, but terrified. We stepped trepidatiously forward. In my vision, I see one of the Livingston brothers with a flashlight. It could have been Bruce. If there are four corners, I am at the right, rear corner. I am clinging to someone, and I think it must’ve been Andrea, because she was the one I would’ve been next to.
I loved it! And today, now that we all have heard about the Sierra Sasquatch, do you think our terror was justified? Just wondering.
Saying it out loud, or even thinking it quietly, the name Lodestar conjures up powerful memories and reflections. And meaning.