It’s early on Wednesday morning as I sit and write this. Camp is still and calm as the only signs of life right now are our Polar Bear swimmers- brave souls who rise early start their day with a refreshing swim at our waterfront. Later this morning I travel to the East Branch of the Penobscot River (about a 4 hour car ride) to camp with our Guides (counselors in training) on the final night of their 10-day wilderness trip. My visit will be a surprise to them (at least I hope it will be). My visit serves two purposes: it provides me with some quality time with the Guides to discuss leadership as they prepare to make the transition into cabins as the third counselor during the second session, and it allows me to reconnect with my wilderness tripping roots, however briefly. I started at Chewonki as a wilderness trip participant in 1988 on a the five-week Mistissini canoe expedition in central Quebec. Wilderness trips are at the heart of what we do here; we know that our campers learn so much about themselves and their cabin group through time in the natural world, and their hearts are opened to the many wonders of the wilderness from wildlife to the untouched natural beauty and simplicity of the regions through which we travel. As you know, all of our campers experience some form of a wilderness trip with their cabin group. Our youngest Puffin campers canoe out to Oak Island just off the southern tip of our peninsula, while our oldest three-week Ospreys spend close to a week of their time on a trip. At this time, all of our Ospreys have been out on their trips, and now most of the Herons and Owls are either on their trip or preparing to head out on their trip any day now. Xanadu has returned from whitewater kayaking on the West Branch of the Penobscot, South Hall is back from canoeing the West Branch, Shang-Tu is back from a coastal sea kayaking trip, Pete Gillies and Osprey Lodge are back from canoeing the St. Croix, Ranch House and Orchard house are back from backpacking the Saddlebacks and Bigelows respectively, and Jungle is back from a coastal canoe trip. Outhaul returns today from their short canoe trip, and Gordy Hall returns from the Bigelows. Upon returning to Chewonki after a trip, I invite the cabin group to sit at my table for a meal. I love hearing the stories of the trip fresh off the experience, and vicariously basking in the post-trip glow through the camper’s stories. The strong bonds within the group and personal sense of accomplishment is clearly evident, and it takes me back to my days as a participant and cabin trip leader. I hope you are able to hear many stories from your son about his trip upon his return home.