Monday, April 12, 2010

Ropes and Webs

The school was offered a field trip last week. We love it when that happens!

Thanks to the superb organizational and networking skills of Rob Benson (of SeaCoast Mission fame), the kids went over to Southwest Harbor to Camp Beech Cliff.

The teachers called. Will the School Board authorize an impromptu field trip to Southwest Harbor to do a Low Ropes course at Camp Beech Cliff?

What does that entail, I asked, spidey-sense tingling.
(All the while thinking -Ropes? Cliff? And there will be a boat ride involved, maybe two, and it's April, it will undoubtedly be raining and blowing, and who knows-snowing, and we just watched another tv show about 100 foot rogue killer waves and please, please, tell me you don't need me to chaperone, that 80 people have volunteered to go over with the kids...and what do you mean 'ropes', and I am responsible for all 13 kids in the school, and, wait, Cliffs??)

They'll learn teamwork, coordinating, trust, the teachers said. They'll climb a rock wall. They'll belay. It's perfectly safe. There will be a harness.
Yeah, that came at the end. That implies height, doesn't it?

I knew it. Spidey-sense is always right.
Horror show.
My kids, suspended from ropes, hanging mid-air, too many feet from the ground.

Helmets and harnesses my butt. This calls for mucho investigative reporting on my end, in the name of safety's sake.

Will there be Valium for me, I asked?**

I am not That Mom, who just lets her kids Do Stuff because someone else says its safe.
So I thoroughly checked out Camp Beech Cliff.

They're awesome! Totally safe! Rave reviews! Huge following! Many, many repeat attendees! And not a single death on record!

And so it was that I found myself on the Gott boat, in Early April, when a typhoon or monsoon or rogue wave could happen at any second, heading over to a place where my kids would be climbing cliffs and rock walls and strapped into a harness to keep their little bodies from crashing onto the ground and breaking into a million little irreparable pieces.

In my next life I'm coming back as That Mom Who Just Doesn't Care. It's exhausting this way.

The kids LOVED it. Everybody climbed. Nobody fell. All their little bodies remain intact. (Actually, four of them are missing teeth, but that's entirely unrelated!)

Even the boat ride wasn't so bad.

Look at them; they have no idea of the potential dangers afoot.
May they always be that way.

I did not stay to witness the hanging from ropes in mid-air. I drove a few kids to the Camp, and left, because, well, the Valium was really not an option. Which means I have no pictures of the Camp. It is also how I am able to sleep at night.

This may have been the highlight of the day for me:


I still don't know what to make of it.

We were driving by. It was raining lightly.
I was reading directions and trying to find the camp and watching the road and yelling at kids...when this cow caught my eye.

I screeched to a halt (it shut the kids up, anyway).
I turned the car around, and pulled into the driveway. (The fact that I had to turn the car around hints at my stellar driving skills.)


AWESOME! At first I thought it was one of the Hilltop cows!
You know the ones I mean- in front of the steakhouse in Saugus?

p.s. I may have ridden one of those cows in my much younger and wilder days. When I was, like, 20. Maybe.
However, there is no photographic evidence of any such event having taken place. So it never really happened.
And I may have run screaming because I thought I felt the darn thing move, like it was alive.

I always wondered if they have cameras on those cows, and some remotely activated motion inside them to freak out the stupid among us who are compelled to get up close and personal with the cows. I mean, those cows have been there forever, yet everybody who has lived into adulthood has some story of interaction with them. I'll bet they've got electric current running through them nowadays.
Be forewarned kiddos!
Don't mess with the Hilltop Cows!

**Disclaimer: The Chair of the School Board likes to joke about requiring narcotics to attend field trips, but she does not actually take them on those occasions. There is supervising and driving required, you see.
There are usually copious amounts of wine upon the return, however.


  1. I can absolutely see where the inner parent might crave pharmaceutical intervention given such a field trip.

  2. Hehe..I remember those Hilltop cows! We were always driving by, never got to actually "visit" one IRL hehe..