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A Hot and Snowy Day in Summer

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WHEN we took care of a Girl Scout camp 8,800 feet up in the Rocky Mountains, I heard complaints about the heat from some of the people we worked with. To them, I gave advice - twice. "Wear long-sleeved, long-legged, cotton clothes and a hat, and you'll feel cooler." Both times I received incredulous stares from counselors wearing the minimum allowed in camp. My efforts to explain the sense of keeping the sun off one's skin to keep from heating up didn't seem to get through, so I gave that up. I also wan t ed to give this advice, "This high in the Rockies, don't complain when it's warm. Give thanks," but I knew that would bring more incredulous stares.

On June 21, in the mid-afternoon, clouds moved down from the higher mountains west of us. The temperature dropped. Big, wet, lazy flakes of snow drifted down from the dark clouds above us, a few and then more, until it was snowing hard. It didn't take long to build up more than an inch of snow on the ground, and the falling snow didn't slow down.

I drove up to camp and got my helper, the camp director, and the assistant director, and we drove to the first tent unit. The weight of snow will tear canvas and break ridgepoles, so while the counselors moved the Girl Scouts from tents into lodges, Margo and Bobbie moved cots to one side of the tents, put possessions under the cots, and Mike and I took the tents down.

The snow was already so heavy on the tents that we couldn't lift the support poles, and it was still coming down heavily. I decided speed was of the essence, and we abandoned all finesse. The ropes were so tight, with the weight on them, that many of them wouldn't release the usual way of yanking on the end of the rope to release the clove hitch. Mike said, "A lot of these aren't clove hitches at all. After this is all over, we'd better give a class in clove hitches."


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