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Camp Cowles, Inland Northwest Council, near Newport, Washington
Our drive from Camp Fife to Camp Cowles in Newport took a bit longer than anticipated, and accordingly we found a nearby campground for the night, arose early, and drove to Camp Cowles, arriving just in time for the morning flag ceremony. Mike Yellin, Camp Director, had just enough time for a quick handshake and agreed to meet us at the flag following the ceremony. We were lucky enough to be touring at the same time as a visiting Japanese Troop, and they graciously consented to a group photo nattily clad in Class A's and matching berets. While waiting for the flag ceremony to start, we noticed a group of giant totem poles that proved later to be genuine Native American artifacts.
After a quick breakfast, Mike was kind enough to take us around the camp in his car, always a welcome gesture, because, of course, we've walked quite a few camps and traveling by auto allows us more time to take pictures and interact with campers, staff, and adults. We visited the well-developed and picturesque waterfront and were particularly impressed with the older lodge building Mike showed us. Though small, this lodge has two massive stone fireplaces and numerous plaques from Jamborees of yesteryear.
Because it was Friday, many of the program areas were only half-involved with some merit badge makeup work, but one of the areas that was quite busy was the Devil's Back climbing tower where we watched a crew practice climbing and rappelling. We were also given a demonstration of some of the apparatus at the C.O.P.E. course and took some video of the zipline. One of our favorite photos from Camp Tour 2001 was made at Camp Cowles' zip line. In the foreground a sign reads "Caution! Low-Flying Scouts" and in the background a Scout zinging down the zip line.
Following lunch, we were treated to a visit to the Japeechen Trail area. It's an 1800s frontier camp where Scouts shoot black powder rifles, live in teepees, and learn to trade in the period trading post for necessities of life.
We'd like to extend a special thanks to Mike Yellin for spending the better part of his very busy day with us. We'd like to think that we were just "special," but it is our impression that Mike treats all staff and campers with the same gracious brand of hospitality. In fact, the camp's reputation for friendliness is widespread and international units visit every year; evidence of those visits can be found in the many unique and interesting gifts left in the dining hall sports. Regretfully, knowing we had a long drive ahead of us, we bid an early farewell to the staff and friendly Camp Director at Camp Cowles and went on our way to Camp Bradley.