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Camp Fife, Grand Columbia Council, near Goose Prairie, Washington
We headed to Camp Fife after departing Camp Fire Mountain, heading south, skirting Seattle, and taking Route 410. We passed by Mt. Ranier going through Chinook Pass along a steep and windy road that was under construction in parts at the time we visited it, and we finally ended our journey at Camp Fife.
The camp has a wonderful clearing where the C.O.P.E. course and fire bowl are found, and just beyond the clearing is the camp proper, well wooded, with activity areas, dining hall, swimming pool, and administration lodge. Camp Director, Rusty Marquis, was out of camp and after a brief look around, we were welcomed by the camp Program Director, who gave us a quick tour of the camp and turned us loose to explore on our own.
We were impressed by the closeness of all the program areas and, in particular, the very busy metal working area. The waterfront at Bumping Lake is some distance away but provides a nice lake for canoeing, swimming, and sailing.
Camp ranger, Tom Dittmar, gave us quite a bit of his attention and time, for which we are very grateful. Among the areas we toured with Tom was the camp's powerhouse which, while not an activity area and not on our usual must-see list, is a thing of wonder. The generators can produce 100,000 watts of power for this wilderness camp and are tuned down to 25,000 watts, which is more than enough. Arriving in the camp parking lot, you are aware of a dull hum, and nearing the camp itself, the hum becomes a steady fast-paced thrumming. The sound, thankfully, quickly blends into the background as you become accustomed to it, but inside the powerhouse it is absolutely necessary to wear ear protection. One of Ranger Tom's many responsibilities is the care, feeding, and work cycle of the generator: it "goes to sleep" at about the same time as campers, "waking up" early so the kitchen staff can prepare what turns out to be a heck of a good breakfast!
Ranger Tom showed us Tom Fife's cabin inside and out, including the small cemetery within its fences, and he filled us in on the history of the camp, the Fife family, and the friends of the camp who were buried in the cemetery.
The following morning we arose early to find a herd of elk in the field right by our campsite, an event we understand is repeated daily. We left fairly early that day with a long drive ahead of us to Camp Cowles in Newport, Washington.