Last Saturday, February 23, my husband Tom and our friend Keith joined my au pairs and me for our cluster meeting at Camp Chingachgook on Lake George in Kattskill Bay, NY. There was little snow where we met to travel together in the 12 seat van loaned to us by Charlotte's host moms and sadly, not much more when we arrived at the camp. Some of us walked out on to the lake to watch the ice fishermen sitting next to a hole, jiggin the line with hopes to entice a fish. Then shortly after arrival, we enjoyed a fabulous lunch with many choices….3 soups, chili, several salads and choice of sandwich fixings, plus cookies and endless tea, coffee and cocoa.
Later as we the hiked up Panther Mountain, we hit the jackpot! It started to snow heavily, so that looking into the immediate woods looked like a fairy world of silver trees, grey boulders and falling snow. Charlotte (from France) was our photojournalist of the au pair group and took many photos of the magical world surrounding us. Gina (from Panama) took picures of snowflakes on her gloves to show her family and we then taught her to make snowballs…and throw them!
Rachele (from South Africa) chose to slide partway down the mountain and then promptly scurried up the smaller rock climbing wall to perch on top. My host family, the Moticka-Beddows family who also spent the day at the camp, joined us on the hike and later by the fireside.
Meanwhile, Stacy (from South Africa) was initiating Lydia and Roxy (both from South Africa as well) into the joys of walking on narrow boards over swampy/snowy areas! Later, they moved inside to make candles—a drier, safer event. We next saw them sitting by the fire in the living/dining room of the main building and quickly joined them. It was a day of pleasant outdoor and inside relaxation. Before eveyone fell asleep, we headed back around the lake and down the highway to the busy world. Of course next the au pairs went to the mall!
Footnote: Chingachgook is derived from the Lenape language, a branch of the Mohican language; he is a the fictional character in James Fenimore Cooper's books, "Leatherstocking Tales." The most famous is "The Last of the Mohicans."