Ed Shafer’s 1930s Memories

Overnight hikes were an activity for all the campers at Susquehannock (except the youngest, aged 7 and 8?). Most were campouts on the camp's property, or closeby, but the big deal for every camper was to hike to Salt Springs, spend the night, and hike back the next day.

There were two routes: the first by the road (the long route). Hike to Lawsville - 3 miles down and--it felt like!--22 miles back; Lawsville to Franklin Forks - stay out of the way of traffic! - 1 mile? Forks to the park - 1 mile ??

The second is the preferred route: over the hills out of the back of camp, down in the valley (avoid the wetland), up over 3 rocks hill, across 2 roads and a little hill, then down in the deep Salt Springs valley.

First challenge: Climb the 3 falls! Watch out for the nettles along the path. Stay on the left side of the stream. Dale Cunningham and I crossed the stream to climb up the rocks on the other side. We were caught by Mr. Smith, the head of the Junior Camp (we were scared!) and wimped back to the left side.

Which is more scary - Falls #1 or #2? Both are steep and have challenging paths. By comparison, #3 is a breeze! At the foot is the only swimming pool. Boy, is the water cold! Just above the top falls is a flat rocked place where we can build fires and have supper: baked beans, spaghetti, hot dogs done by each camper, on a stick, over the fire. For desert, canned fruit and cookies, then marshmallows on a stick over the fire.

Then climb up to the top of the canyon and put down your sleeping bags (thankfully brought up the path by our counselors). One problem: Dale Cunningham is known to role out of bed, so tied a rope around his leg and tied the other end to a tree. It worked!

In the evening, the counselors would tell scary ghost stories, so we went to sleep pretty scared.

Next morning, we could purchase from the farmer milk and eggs for breakfast.

Now, the challenge of getting back to Camp. Salt Springs is in a very deep valley: climb that, go across the 3 rocks hill, down from that valley, and up to Camp.

Once, we got lost. We climbed over a mountain I'd never seen before? Although we started back early, the Camp was having 1 P.M. dinner when we finally arrived. And at three we were supposed to play baseball??

Oh well, it was a blast and we'll do it again next year!

For counselors dating Quaker Lake and Binghamton girls, it was a great place for an evening picnic. The challenge: to get the big tub-full of ice and soft drinks (no alcohol - illegal!) up the steep path to the top of the falls. A very special event. To be well remembered!