Wah-Tut-Ca Magazine February 2014 - Page 6

A FLAVOR OF WAH-TUT-CA The Trip To Johnson’s- A Wah-Tut-Ca Adventure A most time-honored tradition at Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation is to briefly escape the woods for a taste of civilization. Every week at Wah-Tut-Ca, Troops select the option to sign out some boats and paddle, sail or row to Johnson’s Dairy Bar & Restaurant for a cold summer ice cream treat. Although very good, it can be argued that the ice cream is just an excuse for a Northwood Lake adventure. Scouts have made this journey for over a half a century. Typically Troops make arrangements early in the week. The entire Wah-Tut-Ca fleet is available. It is also possible to sign out a member of the aquatics staff to guide you to your destination. to gain efficiency by getting everyone to row or paddle in time. This is usually only successful for brief moments. To engage the group someone invariably decides to lead a song. Their fractious voices echo across the lake and bounce off the cliffs. Like the synchronized paddling eventually the singing breaks down with a missed or forgotten chorus. Yet despite the lack of aquatic harmony the group presses forward towards its destination. Johnson’s is a common term in Wah-Tut-Ca dialect. It is as common as, Discovery, The Cliffs, Top Of The Hill, and Service Center. This restaurant has been in business since the early days of WTCSR. Once it was the only commercial food establishment The distance from the docks of between Concord and Portland Wah-Tut-Ca to Northwood’s NH. The Johnson family that ran a public landing is about a mile dairy farm in Northwood decided and a half. Roughly this is half to process and commercialize the expanse of the lake. For a young Scout it can be quite the their product into ice cream. Due to the success of the ice physical challenge. However the preferred craft use multiple cream venture they expanded the business into a full service hands to propel them forward. With a mix of young and old restaurant. It is exceptionally good. the boats always reach their destination and return safely. The trip back is even more hurried as sunlight is running out. The most common boat for this journey is one that is almost Being in the middle of a Wah-Tut-Ca sunset is a surreal exclusively used for the Johnson’s excursion. It is the 10-man experience. The warm colors of red, blue and orange reflectcanoe. These boats are antique Old Town Canoes built in ing in the water is like being in a painting. Maine. They are constructed with wood and canvas and their craftsmanship is evident, as they have been crossing North- Generations of people can tell you about their trip across the wood Lake for over 50 years. lake. There are thousands of stories. They are all similar and at the same time each is unique. So is it the trip or the destiSince 2012 a new boat has been commissioned for these nation that captivates these sailors? Ask someone who has crossings. The YCCS Craig Ryder is the flagship of the lived this adventure. They’ll tell you the story. Then ask them Wah-Tut-Ca Fleet. Also known as “the whaleboat”, this “what flavor of ice cream did you get?” vessel is powered by oar and sail. It can hold up to 20 and with a good wind it has twice the speed of the canoes. It is a new boat that was designed to reproduce the old whaleboats that were in use during Wah-Tut-Ca’s first 25 years. Interestingly the 10 man’s replaced the whaleboats. Now all the boats are available and often Troops sign out both the whaleboat and the 10 mans. Usually after dinner Troops rush to the waterfront to begin their voyage before the sun goes down. Organizing the trek consumes time and folks get anxious to get out on the water. Tags are placed on the board, life jackets are donned, and seating arrangements are determined. Once on the lake leaders attempt to push the pace. They try