Hawkeye Trail Camps

ANY FORMER CAMPERS OUT THERE who accidentally found this page please contact me. I was the youngest camper at camp my first year 1954, (6 years-old) all the way from Southern Ohio. I was homesick that first summer but never after that! Ronnie Friedberg was a year older than me as was Charles Sachs, and Louis Goldbloom. Eric Englund was there and Stevie Price, with his beautiful older sister Miriam and Rush Holt came up my 2nd summer. Counselors included Mickey Compton, Ed Evans, David Aikens, my cousin Larry Melby, and of course my uncle Andy Melby and his wife Dorothy "Mother Melby"(my dad's sister). 

Anyone out there remember the boys Saranac Canoe Trip in 1958 when the counselors paddled into town for "supplies" leaving us little guys and Andy Melby on Tom's Rock?

Did anyone arrive at camp via Train to Saranac Lake? My sister and I would get on the train in Dayton, Ohio and it took two days to get to Saranac Lake. 

Anyone go on a snipe hunt or get sent to the canoe for the smoke shifter? How many brought money along on the Mt. Duncan climb for the hotdog stand that was supposed to be on top?

How many of you were there when the BIG sailboat was there, the one with the keel; not sure when they got rid of it but it was there at least through 1958. Andy Melby taught us to sail and I ended up teaching my high school buddies how to sail and now they all have big sail boats on the Great Lakes and I got an old canvas canoe with a sailing rig I built for it.



                  MOST of my happiest childhood memories are from my 5 summers at Hawkeye! Would love to hear your stories.

I'll post them here.

                                                                                   Bill Curtis (785)766-3351   bcurtis419@ juno.com




Here are the folks who have responded so far.

 Pepper Salzman Ross, Sanna Poorman, Gillian Longley, Mimi Herwald, John Hildebrandt, Richard Friedberg, Jim and Frank Houck, my bunkmates Eric Englund  and Louis Goldbloom, and 2 counselors- David Aiken and Mickey Compton. No one has donated any stories for me to post. Get your memories in gear and tell what really happened on the Saranac Lake Trips. My sister left photos I can't post from one of the Girls Catamount trips and sunbathing on top of the mountain while picking blueberries (not quite R rating but a definite PG).... Good thing the guys weren't on Whiteface that day!

Frank Houck

Frank Houck was a counselor when I first came to Hawkeye as was his brother Jim. His  younger sister, Betsy was still a camper. Frank did what we all wished we could do- he had a career in the Adirondacks. He was in law enforcement at Saranac Lake and took up photography as a hobby. His photographs of the area are wonderful and you'll find his prints in many area business establishments. A winter Adirondack Scene of his is featured in a KODAK exhibit at the Epcott Center. After retiring he moved to Sedona, AZ where his photographic work continues. He has a great eye for composition and lighting. You can see his work at: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/frank-houck.html  

I Received an e-mail from Andrew Nilsson

 in November. He sent some photos from his last visit to Hawkeye and wrote:

 I've attached the photos I took on my visit to Hawkeye.  I wish I'd taken more - don't know why I didn't.  Hope they don't clog your mail box.  Feel free to use them or discard them as you see fit.

Yes, it would be neat to have another camp reunion.  I bet Rush would be willing.  If it could be arranged, I'd show up.
I'm retired after 33 years of teaching social work in Connecticut.  I live on 17 acres back in the bushes west of Washington, North Carolina.  I say back in the bushes because I'm 1/2 mile from the paved road and my nearest neighbor.  I've got a three acre pond, two cats, five ducks, and boundless wildlife.  Retirement is a nice way to live.

     Hey Rush! Aren't you retired these days? We need to get some of the old gang together! Eric Englund, Louis Goldbloom, John Hildebrandt, Andy Nillson.... and any of the old Baltimore campers?  BC

 I have also received word that David Chase passed away in February of 2016. Rush Holt had these comments:

"Hawkeye was very important in Dave's life, as it was for many of us.  Dave was at HTC on and off from 1955, after my father died and my mother, as Hartzie's right hand and gofer, came to camp with us three kids. Most at HTC called her "Aunt Helen" because that was what Dave called her. As a teenager in the late '50's Dave got several year's supply of self-esteem when he set the record time for swimming across the lake and back. (I think the record stood for a year or two.)  Does anyone remember his very irresponsible, but amusing act one evening when he won a large and truly indigestible number of candy bars on a dare "to dive" (actually, to do a belly flop) from the balcony of the boathouse into the crib.  Dave probably would have been voted each year the most likable kid in camp.  Everyone liked him. Even when Hartzie hired him to paint the Owl (as I recall during his leave from the US Navy in 1963 or maybe before he enlisted) everyone stopped to talk with him and distract him from the job at hand. 

He spent most of his life as a high school teacher in Moira, about an hour northwest of Silver Lake.

For Dave's two grandsons Silver Lake is their anchor site to this day.

Dave and I grew up in the same house.  We were essentially brothers.   I always looked up to him. It probably could go without saying I really miss him. "  -Rush Holt



Thomas G Finkbinder

Hi Bill.  You don’t remember me (nor I, you) because I was at Hawkeye (I think)1962-1966 – but here are a bunch of things I do remember, and I am happy to share them.  MANY of my equivocally fond 100 memories are included herein; PERHAPS THEY WILL SPARK SOME RECOLLECTIONS IN FFC (FELLOW FORMER CAMPERS)


1.       White Ducks and Vespers

2.       Kenny Kaplan being discomforted by Vespers because he was Jewish– and although the service was ecumenical – the denomination bias was evident- Kenny wasn't the first. In our first summer, 1954 Ronnie Friedberg and I sang a duet of the hymn: "Now the Day is Over". The second verse starts with the words "Jesus gives the weary strong and sweet repose" not that Ronnie was ever averse to using the name of Jesus quite liberally in his daily conversation- BC 

3.       Kenny played Curley and possibly, Emile

4.       I made the sailboat capsize three times and then I was politely banned

5.       My birthday with cake and pictures every July 6 – both touching and slightly embarrassing

6.       Duncan MacDougall flexing his arms -- impressive

7.       Elizabeth was called Li’l Bet

8.       Li’l Bet essayed Nellie Forbush

9.       Li’l Bet sang “Stardust” for me

10.   Cora The Kitchen Queen..... A Great Lady! BC

11.   One year there was a kitchen aid named Juathalea Martin

12.   We had an oral newspaper  called "THE OWL" in my day (BC)

13.   For at least two years I was in charge of the jokes column and mostly rehashed Bill Cosby routines

14.   Hometowner cum counselor Billy Laundry:  funny, feisty, fey

15.   I think I saw MR. HARTZ maybe once during my five year tenure

16.   Fred – the Old Guy in the cabin on the adjacent property – Fred lived in Nyack NY the rest of the year – and he said he knew Helen Hayes who also famously lived there – but when I asked Helen Hayes if she knew Fred – she didn’t – of course I had no idea what Fred’s last name was so that probably wasn’t a fair question: “Young Man [I was her escort at the Helen Hayes Awards] I’ve known many men named Fred.”

              Fred Matthias was a novel writer who spent his winters in Mexico in the 1950's. I never new his pen name but he started hiking into Silver Lake every summer as a young man man and eventually bought the place on the lake. When I was a camper 1954-58, he always led the boys on the Catamount climb, even in his 90's. He owned an Adirondack Guide Boat and rowed down to the bluffs every morning to fish for Pike. BC

17.   No poison ivy – or that was the claim anyway – I never came down with it, and that’s a fact

18.   Rush Holt (smart guy from the get go) teaching me the word PENSIVE – Why so pensive? – he queried -- I hadn’t a clue what he meant – I was 12. Then many years later I was in Lambertville NJ, I saw his name plastered on a parking meter – he was running for election.  He won.

19.   South Pacific and Oklahoma were two truncated presentations – as in “BEST OF” – they hauled all the non-singing boys onstage to be the sailors in SP – there is nothing like a dame, dontcha know?

20.   Jay Peabody doing many chin-ups on the diving board

21.   The septic tank. It often oozed.

22.   Bathing once a week in the lake with Dial soap

23.   Reunions at the Sheraton Belvedere in Baltimore

24.   Richard Anderson insisting that I hook him up with a date when he came to visit me in Baltimore; I made him scrambled eggs – he didn’t like them to be runny

25.   A kid named Scott helping me build a really good poncho tent (I hadn’t a clue myself) when we went to Whiteface

26.   Waffle bellies – they were impressed over the fact that I didn’t flinch, but it left a scab for the next four weeks.  A tennis racket was employed to perform the bloody deed. "We called it a Pink Belly" BC

27.   Andy Nilsson being nice and calling me at home in Baltimore when I had an accident – and I don’t think I was gracious – I apologize now – I think I was in shock.  Thanks andy for your thoughtfulness.

28.   Hartzie’s room – I wanted it – the quintessence of coziness

29.   Adirondack furniture abounded – probably would be worth something today if still extant – which I am sure it is not

30.   Arts and Crafts – my preference – made A LOT of tiles – still have them – colorful but prosaic in execution

31.   A pretty counselor named PAULETTE (Christie?)

32.   The Katzenbachs went there – and then suddenly Dad was Atty. Gen’l – did Chris get stuch in a fissure – or am I being creative in my memories?   

33.   Putting the hands of unsuspecting sleepers in warm water and hoping that they would pee the bed

34.   Gathering blueberries on Cademount and then getting Cora to make pies and pancakes

35.   A senior counselor being sent home because he drove too fast with campers in the car; I think I inadvertently revealed this; I remember Hartzie looking concerned (she often did)

36.   Jay Peabody’s father buying Fred’s property

37.   No snakes – well – no venomous ones

38.   Coming upon smelly beaver dams while hiking – and a half-eaten porcupine

39.   Being the camp’s worst mountain climber – but I did it

40.   Saranac canoe trips – I tipped the canoes too

41.   Delightfully cool mornings and delightfully warm afternoons; I still wish summers in MD were like that

42.   Hildy – I’m not sure what she did – but she was a friend of Hartzie’s and her son was there as both a camper and a counselor

43.   Jackrabbits outside of the cabin – SO BIG!   We had a bear that had been chased from someone's cabin and ran in front of Barnswallow in the middle of the night. We were all asleep and missed the bear but were woken by the chase. BC

44.   Steve Rexford, a counselor, was called Sexy Rexy – and I think he went to Bucknell and distinguished himself in football

45.   Daily Bunk Inspections (maybe we off the hook on Sundays – can’t remember for sure)

46.   A fresh-water spring near Whiteface where we filled our canteens

47.   Ausable Chasm

48.   Mohawk Airlines – flyinging home to Baltimore – my first plane ride

49.   Montreal and that wonderfully fancy schmanzy French restaurant – we took a bus from camp and had to wear suits; I wandered naively into a racy magazine/bookstore and was fascinated.  We never had to dress up but I remember one year, all the guys came back wearing red wool berets.... Dougie Pierce took us all to Woolworths because his grandpa owned it and he was allowed to buy anything he wanted. We wanted to watch! He got free candy charged to Gramps. We got nothing!BC

50.   My sister thought Hartzie wanted to be called Hartzie because she had a BIG HEART

51.   Hartzie trying to encourage my fastidious sister to come to Hawkeye – what a hoot – climbing St. Regis in high heels and clutching a Chanel bag

52.   Hartzie coming to our house and showing HAWKEYE flickers as an incentive to attend

53.   Hartzie’s rather nifty apartment-condo in Baltimore

54.   Please, please don’t peel the birch bark

55.   But we can be thankful and tranquil and proud that Hartzie’s in doubt of the great counseling crowd

56.   We’ll all remember come September the beauty and warmth of Our Hawkeye

57.   Coming back to camp one July after having lost 50 pounds

58.   A water fountain with a stone base

59.   A fellow camper killing a bat in the mess hall –  was his name John Kronstadt?  Is that JK?) John – and he lived in Wheaton—the family skied – and his dark-haired father often came to visit

60.   Two rich sisters – they had charming international accents – and they lived in the swanky apartments right off Central Park

61.   Snipe hunts – yes I truly believed – my father told me there were such things too

62.   Roomettes on the train trip from Baltimore (or NYC) to Plattsburg – beds folded out from the walls – sort of like North By Northwest – I was totally enthralled – I shared one with JOHN BATSON

63.   Ricky Lillian making muscles and Dave Minard thinking that was hysterical

64.   Ricky Lillian’s sister, Leslie, was pretty, and slightly aloof

65.   We actually had women hired as dieticians

66.   Saturday dances and the Hokey Pokey

67.   Hartzie being called upon to do the Hokey Pokey

68.   Me being called TOM although all my life I’ve gone by T.G. – some adults (unnamed) just couldn’t abide kooky initials

69.   Some early on kisses shared with Nameless Beauties

70.   Richard DuBois was referred to as JINX – I think – could that be possible?

71.   Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and canteens for hikes – mayo gives tummy trouble when left to sun-fester

72.   Bony chicken soup made from leftovers – I still liked it

73.   Ronnie Friedberg making fun of me because I ate a last pea on my plate – me being embarrassed and hurt – and then Ronnie apologizing – and then a week later he was dead

74.   Archery

75.   Mosquitoes

76.   Homesickness – major for me every year – but I still liked being there – I still suffer from it

77.   Gaining a real, fundamental and abiding love of nature

78.   Cold, cold water; clear, clear lake

79.   Lake bottom that felt like poo but was really pretty wonderful – I wish I had known about watershoes back then

80.   The float – about 100 or so feet from the dock – it probably had a more specific name, but I don’t remember it

       For us it was the Big Float and the Little Float. One year Hurricane Connie came through and the big float ended up down on the west end of the lake near Deer Camp. BC

81.   The boat house

82.   What went on in the boat house

83.   Hartzie and Fred (and I guess two other adults) playing Bridge at Fred’s pad

84.   Kenny Kaplan had a sister named Lisa – she had dark hair

85.   In really rainy summers, the creek regenerated

86.   Robin’s Nest was a two-story affair – I don’t think it had screens ....."It still doesn't BC

87.   Not too many bullies

88.   Me dressing in drag (more than once, I’m loathe to admit) and doing takeoffs on That Was the Week That Was

89.   Care packages – some kids had cookie crumbles

90.   My sister writing “torture” letters in which she went on luxuriantly about air-conditioning, television and Coca-Cola

91.   A trip to Niagara Falls after camp was over with my grandmother (Mono), my aunt (Wedgie), my sister Karen and her friend Pat; boys following my sister and Pat, and my grandmother coming up behind them and admonishing, “Now just a minute young men, just a minute!”

92.   I usually only stayed the first month – although one summer I stayed for six weeks – homesickness will out

93.   Only crappies in the lake – I misconstrued the meaning – I thought that was no place for defecation

94.   I only now (looking at Bill’s website) realize that the camp illustration was by Austin Briggs

95.    Oh yeah – it was referred to as the T DOCK

96.   Learned how to square dance – not a skill I’ve often had a need to employ since then

97.   Oh – and the food building (was it referred to as a mess hall?) was THE OWL, and there was a stuffed one, and I  used to think it looked like Hartzie

98.   The screens on the sleeping porches had many mends; I brought four woolen blankets. I think most of us slept some nights in our winter coats... On our honeymoon in August, 1971 we rented one of Douglas' cottages at the old Cedar Lodge next door to Hawkeye. We nearly froze at night and the Douglas's charged $5 a piece for extra blankets BC

99.   Blisters and athlete’s foot

100.                        And I think after all is said and done, HARTZIE REALLY DID HAVE A BIG HEART

Thanks Thomas- What a great list!!!!

 I think the food I craved the most was ice cream and to only get one measly scoop on Sunday nights was a form of torture. At least the boys were allowed to go to Ausable Forks for a haircut once a month and we'd always hit the ice cream place while we were there.

Familiar view of Silver Lake from Silver Lake Mountain- Photo- August, 1996

Familiar view of Whiteface, Catamount and Taylor Pond from Silver Lake Mountain- Photo August, 1971

(Hoping to return there in August 2016) 

View of Whiteface and AuSable River - August 1996

Make a free website with Yola