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Link-Up Week 2: Fireworks and Friends!

By Bella Rowe, Link-Up Co-Leader

The second week of 2024 Link-Up trips was notable for its strong camaraderie and views beyond anything we'd ever seen - imagine witnessing dozens of fireworks shows all at once, from 3200 ft!


The week began with silly charades on Monday evening - we saw some of the talents of the group and got to know each other a little better. The weather Tuesday morning was deserving of an outdoor breakfast - scrambled eggs and bacon in the backyard. Hearing that fishing was in high demand on the island that day, the Links role modeled generosity and understanding by shifting fishing to later in the evening to allow the island boys access to better fishing spots and gear. 


We got a chance to visit the New Hampton fish hatchery where we learned about how fish are grown and then released into the state's waterways, and had the unique opportunity of observing the tracks of animals who had been stepping in the sandy pathways around the hatchery. The weather was hot! We opted to have our lunch at a shady overlook at the Grey Rocks Conservation Area and then explored the lower section of Sculptured Rocks, before a few Links opted to jump into the cool water. It's still up for debate whether the water at Welton Falls or Sculptured Rocks is colder! 


Tuesday evening we were welcomed to the island for dinner - we left some postcards and gnomes for the boys to find - and ended the evening with canoeing and fishing off of the western shore of the island. A few Links caught fish! We paddled back to a beautiful sunset and reminded ourselves that tomorrow would be a big day.


Wednesday morning we packed our dry bags into canoes and headed north. Links had been told that the group prior had taken about 2.5 hours to reach Cliff Island, so expectations were tempered, however to everyone's surprise, we made it to the southern campsite within 50 minutes. Links were excited to have fried rice for lunch before setting up tents, swimming, and playing camouflage and fishbowl before chicken fajitas and an evening fire.


This group of Links continued to exceed expectations by rising before 6am on Thursday. Happy Independence Day! The early start meant we had time to explore the inlets by Hornet Cove before returning to the Mayhew Base House for lunch, and to pack up for Mt Cardigan. Links were supportive of each other on the hike up and still energized on reaching the hut - so we opted to summit South Cardigan before a pasta dinner, and then the true Mt Cardigan summit later in the evening. We consulted the schedule of fireworks and set expectations with Links about traveling as a group in the dark. We were lucky enough to sit atop Mt Cardigan while dozens of fireworks shows went off in all directions. The sunset and marshmallows weren't too bad, either. 


Friday morning we had blueberry and choc-chip pancakes before hiking down and eating lunch near Cardigan Lodge. We had packed our swimsuits the day before which meant a trip to Welton Falls was easy - we spent the afternoon swimming, skipping rocks and hiked up to a little cave overlooking the falls. Over a lasagna dinner the group shared highlights from the week, and talked about how crazy it seemed that they'd packed so much into less than five days. 

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