What August Camp Has Done For Me

by Art Ritter

Every night at AMC August Camp in Oregon, someone from each of the half dozen hikes would give a brief - well, usually they were brief - trip report, talking about what the hike was like.  During our last hike of the week, in my case the Obsidian Trail, hike leader Eva talked about how we should write an ode to obsidian.  It got the wheels turning, and I said I could probably write a verse or two that whoever did the trip report could include.  Eva said "Why don't you just do the trip report?"  So as we hiked along, I started thinking about what I might want to say and how to get it into verse.  My first time at August Camp had been incredible, the week had flown by, I had so many great memories, and I couldn’t believe that it was nearly over.  So, I felt as if doing something special to celebrate that last hike was in order.


Back at camp, we learned that there would be no trip reports that night, because of the "Follies," which is the end of each week of camp's talent show.  So after thinking it over for a few seconds, I had a leap of faith that I could write something before the Follies and present it there.  So, I signed up for the Follies to present a poem – now, I was on the hook!  I took a shower, and then spent about a half hour after dinner scribbling something out, and here is the result.  I read it at the Follies - which were excellent by the way: a lot of talented singers, musicians, and story and joke tellers, and even a funny mime act on sleep deprivation.  It was a good way to end a great week, and to me, this one hike summarizes many of the great things about August Camp.


“Ode to Obsidian Trail”


Eleven hit the Obsidian Trail

Energized, with such wide smiles

We had great times, without fail

On this lollipop of a dozen miles


Obsidian is volcanic glass

It’s hard as flint and black as jet

This hike is one you should not pass

This trek is one you’ll ne’er forget


We climbed about 2,000 feet

Through forest, meadow, lava field

The air was cool and damp, yet sweet

We layered up, from chill to shield


Around midday, our merry bunch

By waterfall and rocks of pumice

Pulled out our sandwiches for lunch:

Ham, turkey, cheese, tuna, hummus


As far as wildlife on our day

The highlight was a yellow marmot

We met no harm, but sad to say

I’m pretty sure we did alarm it


Through open glen we softly tread

When we all spied two glacial tarns

So unexpected that I said

“What lovely lakes!  Well, I’ll be darned!”


My week here is near a close

This hike today was quite the champ

A fitting last hike that I chose

To end my week in August Camp!


Yes, eleven hiked the Obsidian Trail

A little piece of Oregon heaven

With one last fact, I’ll end my tale:

How many returned?  Why, all eleven!

Art Ritter

Glen Allen, VA