Saturday, the first official day of Feral! Because I am naturally an early riser, I woke up when it started getting light outside, somewhere around 6 AM. It’s also a bit chilly in the mornings in late August, apparently. I did not have a thermometer with me, but I suppose it was around 50 F. Considering that was the morning I did not quite figure out how the showers worked and I woke myself up with a contained version of the Polar Bear Swim (which I never participated in), that just added to the cold.
Breakfast is at 8 AM, so I go over to the main lodge and hang out for a little bit, get to know a few more people. I think this is when Wotan and I began the first of several talks over the course of the weekend. It’s quiet in the morning, though, because furries do not believe in waking up early for the most part. After breakfast comes the opening ceremonies, which was the shortest and most informal I had ever seen. In my mind that’s not a bad thing. Almost everything that happens at opening ceremonies can happen in 5 to 10 minutes if it’s timed right. Potoroo introduced the staff during breakfast, and Max from the Arowhon staff introduced himself and the rest of that group, and then it was outside to introduce the guests of honor and raise the Feral! flag.
One of the things I like about Feral! is that there are actually things to do that don’t involve wandering the dealer’s den and lounging in the hotel room. It’s vacation, so you can hide yourself away in the cabin all weekend if you want to, but why do that when there’s so much going on? You can choose between multiple camp activities like archery (which I avoided), kayaking, swimming, a ropes course… There are also different workshops. I think the camp staff deliberately set up the camp so you can’t do everything at once and so you must come back the next year.
I think it will work.
Anyway, Jeffery Core and I decide it would be fun to go on the canoe trip to the other side of the lake. There’s supposed to be a really good vantage point of camp from over there, and I’m always interested in pretty scenery. So we get on the canoe with about twenty other people, and then promptly learn that none of us know how to paddle as a team, so rowing in a straight line becomes a challenge of its own. You know it’s bad when the kayakers are doing laps around your canoe.
We take the long way to the vantage point, and from there it is a short hike. Now, I am a Southern ‘yote used to warm temperatures, and I walk several miles a day. A quarter mile walk uphill is nothing. It was funny listening to them all be out of breath.
The view was wonderful, too. No pictures, I am afraid; I did not want the camera to get wet. You just have to trust me.
After lunch that afternoon was a ropes course. The coyote does not like heights, and I am a firm believer that all four paws are meant to remain on the ground at all times. Nevertheless, I got all harnessed up, and I climbed up a tower of tires to a chair perched on the very top. Honestly the view from up there wasn’t all that impressive.
That was also the day I discovered the lake. There had been a game of watermelon football (I did not play this year, and based on how cold the water was I never wish to play), but since I did not participate I did not really know just how cold the water is. I am surprised there are no ice cubes in that lake. It is so cold it’s difficult to breathe, and it’s a workout just treading water. There’s no getting used to that temperature. Ever.
That night was the sponsor’s event. A lot of drinking in a very crowded room. Not fun, moving along.
Saturday and Sunday there was also a “backyard astronomy” session where we could look up and see lots of stars and satellites. It gets very dark at Camp Arowhon at night. Since that was also the first night I really slept, that was also the first night I noticed some animal sounds. Heard loons and wolves that night.
I also realized lying in bed that night that I had somehow managed to avoid almost all the staff that day. I had wanted to talk to them, and resolved beginning tomorrow to change that.