Peak-bagging, Rope Swinging, Watermelon, and More – 2013 Far West June Lake Camp by Nancy Fiddler


Photos by MacBeth Graphics

Far West juniors from Truckee, North Tahoe, Sugar Bowl Academy and Mammoth programs took part in a 4 day camp in the Eastern Sierra July 18-21. Camping in June Lake, participants experienced lots of sunshine and warm temperatures while putting in some high quality training.

Campers from the north and south merged at the county park on the north shore of scenic Mono Lake on Thursday afternoon for some foot agility, skate plyos, and circuits to kick off the camp. Friday was a double workout day with the focus on classic skiing. It was all about bounding, moose hoofing, and ski walking intensity in the morning, followed by rejuvenation in the cool water of June Lake. Hot is the best single word to describe the afternoon roller ski workout, but the 21 athletes focused down on some specific strength drills to complete the day.

The high survival rate at the Friday afternoon roll session on the Owen’s Gorge Road was most likely due to the mid-day workout that preceded the roller skiing. All 21 campers and a few coaches worked the Gull Lake rope swing pretty hard, which lowered body temperatures and warmed up the laugh muscles. Even the Far West Team mascot, Curious George, took part in the fun by taking a few swings with the kids.

The highlight of the camp is the traditional peak-bagging event on Saturday. Two groups attacked North Peak in Yosemite National Park with 100% success rate. One group circumnavigated the peak as well as summiting. Curious George made it to the summit with a little help. Lots of glacial lake swimming, watermelon on the summit, and a trip to Mono Cone kept the group cool. It was a big day for everyone, with 4-6 hours of hiking, but the day was made complete by another trip to the rope swings.

By Sunday morning, there were signs of wear and tear on the campers’ faces, but everyone fired up for one more workout; a skate roller ski with a focus on technique and some distance on Benton Crossing Road.  A quick stop at the Whitmore ball fields on the way back for some Ultimate Frisbee and yoga in the grass topped off the morning.

Back in camp, it was time to pack up and say good-byes to old and new friends. Camp coaches Mark Nadell, Marie French, and Nancy Fiddler were still standing at the end, and pleased with the effort and enthusiasm of the group. Putting on a camp like this requires a lot of planning and team work. There are workouts to plan and execute, meals to shop for and cook, transportation to organize, and endless packing and camping details to get right.

A big part of the success of this camp is the attitude and preparedness of the athletes. This year’s group pulled their weight in training, doing clean-up shifts after meals, staying organized, and looking after each other.

A big thank you goes to Mark Nadell and Marie French for their coaching efforts. Mike McElravey provided sumptuous and healthy home-cooked food every night and was always ready with breakfast and lunch when the hungry athletes roared into camp. Steve Twomey was on hand as a parent volunteer and was at the ready to prepare meals, drive, or do whatever came up. Thank you, Steve! Finally, none of this would be possible without the “behind the scenes” work of Kelly McElravey.