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Return of the Quasar (Day 1)
To read the previous hub, Introduction, please visit this link: http://sayyestolife.hubpages.com/hub/Return-of-the-Quasar-Introduction
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
After Jim got my luggage settled at Carousel Two, I sat next to a robust middle-aged woman. “I’m pleased to see a female representing snowboarding!” she told me.
“Thanks! Excited about camp?” I responded.
“I’m not going. I’m just waiting here for my husband.” He arrived, and they both took off, leaving me as the only female. Nothing unusual about that; with only 2 exceptions, that had always been the case. This time, a few grown men were around, with the usual assortment of teen boys.
I was warmly greeted by two staff members I didn’t recognize. This year, the staff t-shirts were red with gold lettering that advertised High Cascade. Adam Kisiel, who had done this in the past as well as announced the youth activities at camp meetings, was no longer with High Cascade. I suppose that’s not surprising, since in 2009 he had suffered a traumatic brain injury crashing in the halfpipe and had to be put in an induced coma. Since then, he has had to cut back on his physical activities. Meghan Stein and Ami Voutien are also no longer with HCSC, and – much to my disappointment – neither is Preston Strout. Preston has an amazing ability to read people and understand social situations; when we first met, he recognized me from a conversation we had over the phone! He was replaced by Terrence Stilin-Rooney; the greeters told me Preston was a difficult act to follow, but Terrence was doing his best.
The other camp owners, John Ingersoll and Kevin English, are still there, though they don’t come around much.
We loaded up in an HCSC van, and rode silently to Government Camp. Once there, we were greeted by the Marshmallow, an HCSC icon. I put on my new hologram glasses in time to take a picture with him.
I always wear wrist guards when snowboarding or skating. As a result, I have never had a wrist injury. These can be worn under gloves. It amazes me that more people don't wear wrist guards. There is a proper way to fall, but you don't always think about that in the heat of the moment.
After checking in with Nurse Greg Kerwin, we got our wrist bands and t-shirts. Our t-shirts are the same as the staff, except they’re gray with black lettering.
We all got our room assignments, and the van drove me and Chris, an adult male camper, to Park Place. Chris began hauling his luggage up the stairs, but I prudently decided to find out which floor I would be on before going through all that work. A girl on the second story informed me the adult campers would be next door in Boardwalk. Chris met me back downstairs; he told me he had found out when he got to the 4th floor! In front of Boardwalk, we were told we were supposed to be in Creekside, so we made our way over to there; Chris helped me with my heavy suitcase and duffel bag. It turned out there were only 3 women at this session, and one was married; on the other hand, there were 17 men! YIPPEE!!! There are 100 youths, and their ratio was the typical 3 boys per girl.
Creekside divides into a duplex on the second floor, where we share a common living room, kitchen and dining area. The 3rd floor contains 2 bedrooms with several bunks in each. I was in the Spruce room, the one facing the front of the chalet; it was the same room I was in my first time here in 2007. I had only one roommate, Krista, so the extra bunks had been removed. The next room had the married couple, Lindsay and Nick. The other duplex had 3 bunks per room, all housing men. This made a total of 16 campers in Creekside; the others were sharing a chalet with the youth.
The Creekside counselors were Meese and Molly. It turns out Meese is Melissa Johnson, who had been my counselor in 2007. I didn’t even recognize her! She had bleached her hair blonde. She was living in the Los Angeles area back then, and relocated to Portland. Now she was back in Newport Beach, CA, because she couldn’t handle Portland weather. She’d had to miss several years at High Cascade, but was finally able to make it back last year. Molly is a shy brunette; she remembered me from 2010.
The weather was sunny and scorching hot. I put away my things in the closet and chest of drawers, using only half of them so Krista would have space. I laid out my sleeping bag on a bottom bunk (normally I choose the top, but decided to skip that since heat rises), and wondered if I’d done the right thing by bringing a flannel nightgown. Then I set out to get my snowboard gear at the demo shop. As part of the camp fee, we can use next year’s stuff without extra charge; not only do we get top-of-the-line equipment, but it saves us the trouble of schlepping it ourselves. The guys working at the demo shop remembered me; Andrew had been a grom youth camper in 2010, the last time I was able to come here. Now he was an adult, old enough to work at camp.
I got a Gnu smart board, and brand new boots. I remembered Lee Cooley, my roommate in 2009 and 2010, had warned me to bring my own boots since by Session VI the ones they had would be all gross, but apparently that’s not the case. (I had written Lee on FaceBook telling her I was finally able to come to HCSC; she told me she couldn’t make it this year.) Bindings were applied to my Gnu board; they asked me about my stance, and all I could tell them was that I ride regular and I prefer my feet to be 20” apart.
I brought my gear back to Creekside chalet, and soon afterwards it was time to meet at Cobra Dogs for the vans to take us to Timberline Lodge for our Welcome Dinner.
Ever wonder how pros do all those spectacular crashes, then get up and try again? They wear body armor underneath their clothing. This device protects the spine.
The buffet was held in the Raven’s Nest room; ironically, we passed Cascade Dining hall to get there. We were served various types of salads, and pasta with two types of sauces, meat and vegetarian. For desert, we had berry cake. I thought about the youth campers who were having their Welcome Barbeque Dinner in front of the Main Lodge, and how they would be meeting the Session Pros later at the skating bowls. The featured snowboarders were Chris Grenier, Helen Schettini, Jesse Burtner, and Scott Stevens. We adults would not officially meet them until they joined us for dinner on the 5th evening.
Most of the campers were in their 30’s. The men were great, but many were already married or had girlfriends; with one exception, their women had stayed home. I found it strange that they didn’t share the same love of snowboarding as their men. Isn’t it dangerous, sending them off by themselves for over a week? What if they don’t come back?
None of the campers remembered me, but several staff members did. Sandra Hillen, my counselor from 2008, is now Head Coach of Adult Camp. Coach Nick also remembered me. Dave Reynolds, the original Head Coach, wasn’t there; he was presiding over Youth Camp.
I wore my hologram glasses to dinner, and everyone was fascinated with them. I allowed them to wear them while I took their pictures.
We were divided up into classes. My coach was Jason, who is from Australia; people kept teasing him about his accent. He now lives in my beloved South Lake Tahoe. My class consisted of Vincent, Emily and Tom.
Coaches Justin and Kara had been there earlier in the summer, but left for other commitments. Leslie, another counselor I had in 2007, couldn’t come; later Meese told her I was there, and she said to tell me hi. Emile also wasn’t there. Ian Clark was busy making a film. Manimal, the other camp mascot, was injured and couldn’t come (shucks – I’ve never been able to meet him).
The pros featured this session are Scott Stevens, Chris Grenier, Helen Schettini, and Jesse Burtner. They were not at the banquet, but usually they meet us at a dinner held in an adult chalet later on in the session.
We got back to camp around 9pm. Several adults went to Charlie’s, a local bar, for drinks. I was too worn out to do so, plus I normally don’t drink at camp – especially since tomorrow was to be my first full day snowboarding in 4 years – so I went straight to bed. I awakened sometime past midnight, and noticed Krista still hadn’t come in. I felt concerned, but decided to look into it in the morning.
Welcome back to life, Aurora! (That’s the name I go by at camp.)
This device protects the tailbone - very important if you're riding or skiing rails!
To read the next hub, Day 2, please visit this link:
© 2014 Yoleen Lucas