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Link-Up Week 1: Summer Adventures Begin!

By Bella Rowe, Link Up Co-Leader

Week one of Link-Up Expeditions was a success! Our first group of Links worked together to complete their summer adventure and are excited to share their week - read on!


The group of nine Links began their adventure Monday June 24th, coming together at the Base House for a community-building dinner of spaghetti bolognese and garlic bread (the latter cooked by a group member!). The group began to connect over dinner and talk about what the week had in store. While staff had put a plan in place - camping, canoeing, hiking! - there was intentionally space left for the group to "choose their own adventure." 


Evening games were played, and the group split themselves into Bear and Moose bunk-rooms. Everyone awoke to spectacular weather on Tuesday, so a decision was made to go fishing, while practicing canoeing and group travel skills around Newfound Lake. The morning was put to good use despite catching no fish - neither by our Links nor boys on the island that day! In the afternoon the Links hiked to Welton Falls, spotting animal tracks, impressive waterfalls, and enjoying a refreshing swim. That evening the Links were grateful for an opportunity to join boys on the island for dinner before returning to the Base House, and wrote postcards to their old cabins as a way to contribute to the island. 


Staff reiterated to Links over french toast Wednesday morning, "now is when the challenge begins." The gym was used as a gear preparation area to pack for both the overnight canoeing and hiking trips to come. The group loaded dry bags with water, cooking gear, and tents into canoes and set out for Cliff Island. Wind picked up near Wellington State Park and made for a challenging, "zig zag" path, however once the Links reached the island (and refueled with lunch) morale rose and they took on the challenge of setting up their tents and organizing camp.


The trend of beautiful weather continued and the group swam and snorkeled together off of Cliff Island before a camp-stove dinner of mac and cheese, cookies and hot chocolate - and a campfire to close Wednesday evening. 


Winds were in our favor on Thursday, gently pushing us back to the Base House. Links were elated to learn that the paddle that had taken them over 2 hours Wednesday, only took 44 minutes on Thursday (world record?!) Spirits remained high over lunch and boys took responsibility for unpacking and repacking gear to prepare for a hike up Cardigan - and an overnight hut stay. 


On arrival at the AMC Cardigan High Hut the group gathered on the porch to discuss expectations and ensure we left the hut in a better state than we found it. Not satisfied with a challenging canoe and hike, all nine Links put on warmer clothing after dinner at the hut to hike up to the summit of Cardigan for sunset (is it ever not windy up there?!). Games and card tricks were played, chocolate was eaten, and the group fell asleep to a staff member reading from Moby Dick. 


The week had been physically strenuous, and on Friday morning some Links chose to rest at the hut while others hiked up to South Cardigan Peak. The group rejoined for a breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes (all carried up on our backs up to the hut!) before hiking down and choosing a longer route back to the car. Links spent the rest of Friday playing games at the Base House to close the week.

What a fantastic week full of adventure and comradery!

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