An Informal Glossary of the Pathfinder Language
AN INFORMAL GLOSSARY OF THE PATHFINDER LANGUAGE
Prepared by Mike Sladden, March 2004
[This is not a complete, comprehensive, alphabetical or authoritative document. Any reference to people living or dead is purely coincidental. The glossary has not been approved by the Canadian Government.]
Actually, the Source Lake access road. A little over a kilometer of nostalgia, whether you're arriving or departing. Drive slowly and be courteous to other cars; they could be cottagers, parents, or Ministry.
Mailbox 1: at the end of the road a brown box serves as camp's mail box. Mail bags to and from Camp are placed here daily in summer. The box stores snowshoes in winter.
Mailbox 2: Campers and Staff can place letters in the mailbox outside the Lower office to be mailed from Camp. Placing your Camper number or Staff name in the corner is as good as a stamp. Encourage the kids to write letters!
Cardock 1: refers to the entire parking lot and dock area at Source Lake landing. Cars shouldn't actually pull onto the dock.
Cardock 2: the "Amazing Cardock" is a remarkable Eastern sage, seer and soothsayer. He is brought into the DH by burly headmen each season to demonstrate his talents. Cardock doesn't say much, but when he does, watch out! He can divine the answers to questions hidden in sealed envelopes. Being the subject of a Cardock revelation is a special privilege. Those who remember Johnny Carson's immortal character "The Amazing Carnak" will know what this is all about.
New Pontoon boat: the 'New tooner' is the shiny aluminum pontoon barge. This is for transporting people.
Old Pontoon boat: the 'Old tooner' is the older wood-decked barge without railings. It is for transporting gear and garbage.
Putter or Putt-Putt
The putters are the small aluminum outboard skiffs.
May Crew / June Crew
Each spring Camp hires a small number of staff to come up early and do maintenance work on the Island. May crew consists of about 8 people. In June, a few more are added to put the finishing touches on Camp. At times, a program is run for an outside group in May or June.
The week prior to the Campers' arrival July 1, Staff week is a wonderful tradition at Pathfinder. The Staff report June 25 at breakfast to begin training and working together in preparation for the Big Moment!
Flagpole 1: literally the pole the camp flags fly from, Flagpole is a timber cradle weighted with boulders, supporting a tall spruce log flagstaff.
Flagpole 2: the ceremony known as Flagpole. Three times a day, the camp gathers and lines up by sleepage for flag etiquette and announcements before meals. Campers handle the flag raising and lowering, and properly fold the Canadian and US flags.
A hand-held air horn is the emergency signal for Pathfinder Island. It is located in the red wooden "Fire Box" on the white pine known as the 'Bell Tower Tree'. Any Staff member may blow the air horn in the event of a fire or missing person emergency. Otherwise, the horn and the box are not to be touched.
Bear Mountain (Bare Mountain)
Where Toncacoo lives. At the west end of Source Lake, it has a peculiar bald spot on the summit. Earth hikes visit Bear Mountain. Treasure Hunt clues are often hidden at its shoreline woods. Toncacoo is brought from there to the annual Council Fires.
A friend to Pathfinder for generations, this old Algonquin native man lives alone in his camp on Bear Mountain and descends twice a summer to be paddled to the Council Fire ceremony by the Tripping Director. There, he takes away or gives back fire from a Pathfinder council fire, the coals of which he tends all winter in his lodge, to preserve the spirit of Pathfinder for another summer. When Toncacoo arrives at Council, it is imperative that the Campers sit in quiet respect, and not take any photos of this proud man. If he approves of the Camp's respect, he will light a new fire, or take our coals.
Years ago, before Pathfinder was established, an Indian man known to the world as Algonquin Joe died on the island, and was buried just along the path to New Council Ring. A plaque on a tree explains his significance. It is traditional that everyone passing the spot choose a fallen leaf to drop on his grave in respect. Make sure the Campers don't pull live leaves off bushes to lay on his grave; this is disrespect for his beloved Park.
At Pathfinder, any flashlight or lantern. Use as noun or verb.
At Pathfinder, any toilet tissue.
Flat on Backs: sometimes ordered for Rest hour when it is particularly hot. FOB means the Campers must lie down and relax during Rest hour. Quiet conversation is the limit on activity during this time. Staff may also rest, but must supervise their Campers.
The storage space under Lodge I where motors and gas are stored. Long ago, when Pathfinder relied on winter-cut lake ice to cool the food in summer, horses were brought in winter to haul the ice blocks off the lake. They would overnight in the stall under the lodge.
First floor of the Trading Post facing the motorboat dock. This is where the Program Director works, also the location of the copy machine and days off request sheet. Also where activity binders and AA card results are turned in.
The DOT's office, the desk with Algonquin map is sacred ground. Use it with the permission of the Tripping Director. Campers are not allowed in this space.
Also in the Trading Post. It's the room behind the trip lockers. Generally for storing trip gear, it is usually locked and under control of the DOT and Outfitter. Campers are not allowed in this space.
The Director of Tripping, he is in charge of the Tripping Program and all Trip Staff report to him unless they are in their counselor role in-camp.
An obscure object in an out of the way place. You can not be told where it is, you must find the Bunderflap for yourself. It is not located in an off-limits place.
Candy Store and Candy Line
The Candy Store was a shelter hut/freight shed in the 1920s-40s at the Source Lake rail stop on the mainland. As with all rail buildings owned by the OAPS or Grand Trunk Railway, its roof was shingled red. After the railroad was abandoned the Camp moved the shed to the Island to serve as the Candy Store. The historic red roof remains. The Candy Store has a selection of candy and 'dry goods' like t-shirts and water bottles, behind a sturdy counter.
Candy Line is the ritual time after a meal when Campers and Staff may walk to the Candy Store and purchase something. No money is needed, your purchase is recorded on your account. A 'Candy Line' is a commodity that is often bartered, i.e. "I'll give you two candy lines for that beam," or "You owe me a candy line for losing my canoe cup."
At the end of Second Half, a semi-rehearsed series of sketches, skits and bits. It opens with the Overture, a song and dance routine by three talented directors. It ends with the Camp Song and Camp yell, and Taps. Encouraging Campers to come up with bits for the Camp show is important. Participating in the silliness is better than watching it. Staff contributions to the Camp Show are always in good taste.
A Canoe Regatta, this is a hallowed Pathfinder tradition that has changed a lot over the decades. In Chief Norton's time, the Regatta was both a Pathfinder event on Source Lake, and a gala event at Cache Lake with Pathfinder joining the famous Cache Lake Regatta at the Highland Inn.
Today, the Cache Lake regatta is known as the 'guides race,' mostly because that's the one event Pathfinder is invited to enter.
At Pathfinder, our own regatta is held each half. It includes canoeing events both serious and silly, and may include other competitions in swimming, ropes etc. Four teams battle for victory, and it's a great time for Campers and Staff to have fun together.
Introduced in the 1990s by staff member Chris Brackley, SURVIVAL is a program of Earth Lore, and is both a fun challenge and an educational experience. Each participant receives an animal identity, and becomes either a predator, an herbivore, or an omnivore. Depending on age and skill, a set number of lives are given the animal, and a set number of 'food' and 'water' treasures must be obtained. The whole island is in play. This is an event people really get into! It's hard to survive in the wilderness, and this game proves it. Most players don't survive, and many lay down their lives right at the end of the game, when disease, fire, and Man all enter the fray.
Capture The Flag
A favorite all-island game played after supper early in each Session. The camp is divided into two teams, each with a Staff man as General. The Island is divided according to strict rules, and the game is played until Free Swim or a winner is declared.
A semi-annual Pathfinder event is the famous TH. Most often authored by renowned Pathfinder savant Daniel "Lance" Kennedy, the all-day game has also been authored by Trip Pierson and Ian Mitchell in years when Lance isn't available. Red, Green, Yellow and Blue teams fight fiercely to win the coveted title. Teams solve riddles and puzzles while also seeking hidden clues all over the region. Matching and solving clues and treasures is the goal. The team with the most points wins.
Message to Garcia
Another Pathfinder all-camp game. Teams field players for each event in a relay race around the Island. Players may be eating crackers while whistling a tune, racing canoes, swimming, throwing horseshoes, hitting softballs, climbing the wall, solving math problems. The race concludes with the last players memorizing and reciting the 'message,' a piece of text related to Algonquin or Pathfinder. The winning team is the one whose player recites the 'message' first without error.
Trip Postings / Being Posted
After taking trip sign ups and making up the canoe trips for a set, the DOT posts them on the Camp bulletin board. When 'Trips are posted' everyone crowds around the board at Flagpole to see their trips. Trip meetings are called after a meal, and the trip gathers with their headman.
Cedars or 'under the cedars'
The Cedars is the area behind the dining hall, just outside the porch door to the small deck. The term 'Under the Cedars' refers to this meeting place and the beautiful trees that shade it. Trip meetings can be called to meet here, but it is also a traditional place for a meeting to be called by the Director, when some Staff members are in a bit of trouble, or when it's time for the headmen to vote on the Tripping Award. Hence the heckling when Sladds asks to see people 'under the cedars after the meal.'
Palace or 'Pathfinder Palace'
The Pathfinder Palace is known also as the "Palace End" of the Dining Hall. The third of the building with the stone hearth, it was where movies were shown in past years, hence the 'Pathfinder Palace' name.
Double-A, or "AA" awards
Above Average awards are given to Campers who meet the requirements for various AA cards in swimming, tripping, canoeing, earth lore, ropes, arts & crafts, athletics and a host of other activities at Pathfinder. The Staff record a camper's progress as he tries to 'get his AA' and the Program Director tallies the AAs won by each boy. At the awards banquets the AA cards are given out to each Camper. It is imperative that Staff turn in AA reports as soon as the Camper receives the AA, so no one's award is forgotten at banquet.
A Pathfinder term for when a Camper or Staff collapse exhausted on a long, tough portage. A trip staff will tell his Headman that, "a camper melted halfway back," or "I melted and had to flip down after that hill…' For some Campers, melting on their first Pathfinder portage is a rite of passage.
Stalker Park - walk around!
Charlie Stalker was a Pathfinder counselor who led the effort after WWII to plant the former ball field between Flagpole and the DH with pines. This was to reforest a bare spot on the Island, and to prevent further erosion. Today, Stalker Park is a mature grove with seedlings on the ground and rock walls terracing the island in an effort to save earth. Campers must walk around and never through Stalker Park in the spirit of preservation. Make sure your Campers walk around the Park.
The Lower Kingdom - aka "Mic Chipp Land"
Lodges II, III and Tents 1-2.
The Upper Kingdom - aka "Skid Row" and "Luigiville"
Tents 18 - 29.
Mic 'N Trippin'
Serving as trip staff on trips posted for our youngest campers.
Oil Shack - aka Paddle Shack
Known as the Oil Shack when it was where diesel fuel for the generator was stashed, the shack is now the paddle shack for the Canoe dock.
Bug Juice - aka Freshie
The sugary flavored drink mix used in the DH and on trips, Bug Juice is made from crushed insect corpses by a secret recipe known only to a few Pathfinder men. Bug Juice is generally good for you. Too much Bug Juice is not. Bug juice is not pure fruit juice, that is known as 'Sun-Pac.' Mixing various Bug Juice flavors to create a custom drink is a favorite pastime of Campers. More often in the modern era, called 'Freshie,' possibly this was a juice crystal brand name in the old days.
"PIC" mosquito coil
A green coil of dubious content, which when lit produces a curious scented smoke that repels mosquitos. Used in the evening in the tents, PIC can be purchased in the Candy Store by campers but may only be lit in a pie plate by a Staff man. Don't let the Campers light multiple PICs in one tent. One is more than enough. On nights that aren't buggy, Campers still request to have their PIC lit; it becomes a ritual they lean on.
P.I.A. -- aka Pathfinder Investigative Agency
Maintains homeland security.
The first morning bell at 8:00 am. Staff get up at this time and help get the Campers up.
Taps 1: the various water spigots located around the Island. These have fresh, drinkable water. There is one for water bottles outside the DH, others at the Forts, and one at the Volleyball court serving the upper kingdom.
Taps 2: 'Day is done ...' and so forth, sung by the camp after a council fire. Or, the great tradition of a bugler blowing Taps on the island.
The tent and lodge sleeping assignments on the Island.
The Chief - aka Herman J. Norton
Chief Norton was owner of Pathfinder for over 40 years, from the late 19-teens to 1962. "Chief" was a colorful character, known as tight with a nickel and not above salesmanship tactics to get boys involved in Pathfinder, knowing they'd love it once there. Chief is a name reserved for Norton, and the current owners aren't addressed as Chief.
A term in use the last 95 years at Pathfinder, refers to campers of the Pathfinder family during the season. While some organizations have done away with any references to the Indian lore past, Pathfinder has maintained a few that are worthy of protection, and Braves is one of those. "Let's get the Braves fed before we push on…" or "Paddle Hard Braves."
Several times each half, a Staff member expects to be assigned night duty for a certain area of Camp, staying in his tent or lodge or staff cabin in that area for the evening, and being the go-to person if the Campers have any problems, or need assistance. Doing night duty means checking in with each and every Camper in your area, knowing whether any Campers are sleeping in a different tent for the night, lighting PICs for Campers, chatting with them for a few minutes in preparation for Taps. Above all, the night duty Staff stay in their area all night, Campers know where to find them. Generally night duty is shared by agreement at the beginning of a session, and has to be assigned when Staff are short, or at the session's end.
Also "Petty cash" this is a cash draw privilege for Staff. They draw cash from the office against salary for the season. There will be a limit on when and how much can be drawn at one time. One can not draw more than his/her salary amount for the summer. Petty is signed out on a Staff member's settle up sheet and in the petty log.
That magical time between First Half and Second Half. Since 2000, we have started Second Half a day later, on July 27, so that the Camp Staff can have a true day off. In fact, Changeover begins after luncheon on July 25. The entire Staff gets up early with the departing Campers on this final day of First Half. After the Campers go, areas are inspected, there is a Staff Swim and luncheon. Then the Director releases Staff members whose areas are in shape. From that time until 9:00 am July 27, is a Staff day off. Exceptions are Staff members who escort camper transportation or lead the full-season Campers who take the Changeover trip during this time.
It is essential that every Staff member reports to breakfast at Camp on July 27.
The most anticipated times of the season. Big Moments occur when the Campers arrive to start their session! Usually the biggest of the Big Moments are when the Rochester and Buffalo coaches pull in and offload a massive number of Campers all at once. So-called "Small moments" include when Campers are dropped off individually by parents, or when an airport van arrives with a handful of Campers.
Big Moments are what all the Staff preparation is about. Being on hand in a Staff shirt at the motorboat dock to meet your Camper and potentially his parents, is a big deal. The Staff set the tone of friendship, fun, and excitement to see the Campers during the Big Moments. The Campers and their families definitely pick up on the Staff vibe at these times.
The universal Pathfinder shout out to our canoe trips either departing from or returning to the Island. Once you see a trip, call out Trippers! and others will take up the call as well. It's a great feeling for Campers and Staff alike to paddle back to the canoe dock and hear the "Trippers!" shout for them before they land.
Ancient vegetable matter rendered by the eons into the most superb and aromatic mud on earth. Many is the Pathfinder man who has contemplated bottling and selling mung for big dollars at the cosmetics counter of Saks Fifth Avenue.
On trips, the bow man exits the canoe at a landing, and sits on the bow deck with his knees clamped to the canoe, steadying it for the others.
In the canoe, a middle man 'straddles' a trip pack in his paddling position.
A Pathfinder expression for two or more canoes rafted together. The middle men hold on but don't lock the gunwales together. This is a stable position for a water or snack break. It's also useful when it's rough or squally. Two canoes pontooned are more stable when rescuing a third in foul weather.
Breaking a pontoon cleanly. No one pushes or pulls their canoe to gain an advantage. Calling for a 'clean break' means no one will accidentally flip over.
Bandanas. Traditionally worn by Pathfinder Trip Staff. Different colors for different ranks: red for Headmen, navy blue for Second Men, green for Third Men. This trend has faded in recent years, though Headmen still wear the red for occasions like banquet.
To wash dishes on a Pathfinder canoe trip. Walloping is done away from the lake, and no leftover food goes in the water or down the Treasure box.
Trip Staff hang the food pack each night on the trail to discourage bears and other critters. Many Headmen require the soap, candy and toothpaste on the trip to get hung.
Trip Staff remember and brag about the great 'hangs' they achieved on their trips. It's not wise to have Campers helping with hoisting or dropping your bear hang; they can get hit with a fall pack or broken limb.
Grabbing a trip pack by the body, not by the straps. Essential skill.
Spin / Spinning / Spun
Trip Staff who are assigned to a canoe trip the day after returning from one. An honor.
Trip Staff who are given a new canoe trip the very same day. A bigger honor.
Trip Staff who are given a new group of trippers while their current Campers are still in their boat. They are sometimes lucky enough to receive a change of clothes. A very great honor.
Tourists who visit Algonquin Park. Often they are unknowing objects of teasing by Pathfinder trippers who witness their urban ways, and their struggles with tripping. However, Pathfinder has a fine reputation for being very courteous and helpful to Touries. Our guys have been known to save them when they flip, to carry some of their gear over a portage, and to point lost paddlers in the right direction. In the unlikely event a Staff member runs into a rude or aggressive tourist party, just smile and move on.
Pathfinder slang for any Park or government official, from road workers to the Superintendent John Winters. Pathfinder Staff are super-friendly, courteous and helpful to Ministry folk at all times. Our reputation is excellent with Ministry at this time, because they like the way we act, trip, and take care of the Park. Let's keep it up. Same goes for the Campers.
People who own or stay at any cottage in Algonquin Park, but particularly on Source Lake. The Source cottagers are all friends of Pathfinder and many of their parents actually worked at the Camp during Chief's era. It is vitally important to the owners and senior staff at Pathfinder that all Pathfinder people are courteous and friendly to all cottagers. The Staff set the tone in keeping our cottager relations at their best.
The Bell Tower is an area more than a tower. It's at the base of the giant white pine to which the Camp bell is mounted. Beneath the bell are a group of arm chairs, often trip meetings or nature lore sessions gather here. Bell Tower is the location of the Fire box, with the Air Horn inside, for emergency signal only.
Bits - aka Skits and Bits
The Pathfinder Bit is any comedy act concocted and performed for our amusement. These can be elaborate or stone-age simple.
A Pathfinder Camper who is enrolled for a two-week session. These are young guys, Mic-Macs or Chippewas, many are first timers and most are first time away from home. We want the two-weekers to have a blast and sign up for a half-season next year.
Cliffs - aka The 'Dreaded Cliffs'
Down the shoreline from Swim Dock, past Sladds' and Leslie's cabin, are the cliffs. Campers aren't permitted to go there, as a fall from the woods into the lake would injure them and no one would know.
Generally speaking, located behind the rec lodge, it was the can dump for the kitchen during the long decades when food cans were routinely dumped in shallow pits throughout Algonquin Park. Today, many generations of cans still lie under the ground and some are still visible. In the past, an errant Staff man has occasionally won the honor of 'digging the can pit' as a penance, loading some of the rubbish off the island.
"G" - also G-Bag, G-Box and G-Run
"G" is Pathfinder-speak for Garbage. Since we're an island camp with an environmental mission, we take G seriously. All Camper G from their tents should be emptied daily into the G-Box on the kitchen deck. All Camp G is removed daily from the Island and placed in the Moose, the garbage shed at the Cardock.
On canoe trips, Pathfinder trips routinely pick up more G than they create, and bring it out of the interior. The Ministry truly appreciates this gesture. The Campers can feel good about the effort. Praise them for not creating G, and for picking it up. G includes even the smallest candy wrapper, which should never be found on a camp trail.
'Never go into the Lantern Shack,' is the advice from Staff men to Campers. Located along the Canary Trail, the shack is looking a bit older these days, but has always been a spooky location. Campers from the '40s recall when it held actual lanterns that were filled and placed nightly along the trails to light the way. Eventually this tradition was let go, and so was the shack. But it lives large in the story of George Liederhaus, and has been the scene of periodic confrontations with the Man in the Baby Blue Canoe, when he sneaks over to Pathfinder to steal food from the TP. A good place to avoid.
A Pathfinder card game. GOOP is played after 10:00 pm in the Dining Hall or PX. A fine game, and a great alternative to another night out. The loser gets the consolation of wearing a beautiful necktie to breakfast the next day, signifying their difficulties. ROOG is embroidered on the tie, stands for "Royal Order of Goopers"
Roggow knot or 'Chain knot'
Margaret Roggow was apparently credited with this excellent dock line knot. Successive loops of dockline are woven through each other. The boat is secure but can be untied with a simple pull of the 'chain knot.'
Moose 1: The cry of 'Moose!' during a meal sends all the Campers running to the windows to see the reported Moose on the lake.
Moose 2: Nickname of the garbage shed at the car dock. It used to have a cartoon image of a moose on the front, encouraging tourists to deposit their G inside.
Campers who wake early and swim to the raft and back each day they are in Camp receive the Polar Bear AA card. Wake up is just before First Call.
Each Sunday afternoon, a bell following soap baths signals the 'call to chapel' and the entire camp walks quietly to the Jean Norton Memorial Chapel. A short talk is offered by a member of the Senior Staff, and time is set aside for quiet reflection in this beautiful place.
Campers write a short letter home to parents on Sunday. This is turned in at dinner time flagpole, and is a boy's meal ticket. Sunday letters are required. Staff men can help younger campers write these letters.
Battling the Elephants
Chief Norton once gaffed while trying to explain how the Staff can help Campers battle the 'elements' - that is, overcome the challenges of Camp and Canoe trips. The phrase stuck, and to this day Battling the Elephants signifies that adversities like bugs, mung, headwinds and even fears of the dark, are ones the Staff can help Campers conquer.
Give Me a Life…
From the prior Rules and Regs. "When kids arrive at Camp you already have their admiration and respect; it is your job to keep it. If you succeed you will find the Campers will cheerfully cooperate with you. Lead by example; offer to help the kids whenever the opportunity arises. During cabin and tent cleanup before Inspection say, "Bill, I'll help you clean up your cot if you'll give me a life with mine," or some such remark. Be intelligently observant."
Thrill of Achievement
From the old Rules and Regs. "Pathfinder's objectives: to provide each Camper with top flight leadership. To assist each Camper in the development of physical and social skills; to help each Camper achieve the 'thrill of achievement' from his accomplishments; to inspire and lead each Camper by your personal example, demonstrating those qualities we hold in high regard - cooperation, friendship, sportsmanship, initiative, and a sterling character."
The annual staff ritual with Sladds at season's end. Taking account of your wages, expenses, employment taxes and any bonus. The process is simple and if you haven't spent your paycheck during the summer, you'll walk out with a check on Aug. 20. Congrats!