Northwest Camp & Cabin Reach 60 Years Milestone!
by Rod Parlee, Co-chair Northwest Camp Committee
On Saturday, August 13th the Northwest Camp committee hosted a celebration comemorating the sixty-year anniversary of the Northwest Camp cabin. Hand built in 1951 from American Chestnut trees, the cabin sits on leased land located on the Taconic plateau of the Berkshires in the very northwest corner of Connecticut. Today the cabin still serves as an outstanding destination. The Northwest Camp Committee was orginally known within the Connecticut Chapter as the Riga Committee. The Mount Riga Corporation owns the property adjacent to the AMC NW Camp property on the south and west side of Bear Mountain, the highest peak in CT.
The night before the celebration, participants were treated to the annual viewing of the Perseids meteor shower and a one-minute glimpse of the International Space Station from the bald top of Mt Riga. Even with the full Sturgeon moon, twenty meteors were counted between 9:41 and 10:41 am. The skies were clear, the temps were warm and everyone enjoyed the celestial show. Saturday morning, as people arrived at the cordoned-off parking area, they were greeted and escorted by long-time member John Hicks who has managed trails on the property and in the area for over thirty years. John is also a past Riga chair and is the current NW Camp Trails Subcommittee chair. .
The NW Camp committee, particularly members Carol Langley and Paul Thoma, worked hard for over a year organizing the 60th anniversary party. To toast the 60-year old cabin, the Committee offered a fruity top-shelf champagne. Also pictured are the tasty chocolate cream and raspberry cake and the fabulous miniature replica of the cabin made from pretzels and graham crackers. After the toast and cake, everyone was treated to a blessing of the water by a Native American medicine woman and an old-growth tree hike by nationally known arborist, Matt "Twig" Largess of Jamestown, RI.
Of the thirty or so participants, some of the original crew were present such as Don Pratt, who helped pick the location of the cabin and assemble it during the summer of 1951. Construction was by ax without any power equipment. Joan Ensor-Katan and her husband Charlie Katan were both very active with Chapter committees, especially Whitewater. According to John Hicks, Joan's stepmother Margaret Lorenz Ensor was the daughter of the Lorenz mentioned on the Paradise Lane memorial plaque and also was responsible for the purchase and donation to AMC of the entire Massachusetts portion of Sages Ravine adjacent to the NW Camp property. Her father John Ensor, was the person who led the CT Chapter committee in finding and negotiating the initial lease of NW Camp property that allowed the cabin to be built. Norm Sills, a former Chair of the Riga Committee for five years, hiked the entire AT and has managed trails for many years.
The committee expresses their sincere gratitude to these dedicated, long-time AMC members whose actions many years ago provide our enjoyment today.