After spending the afternoon in Keene where it was pouring down rain, they had gone back to the camper to play board games and read. Makayla opened the door to get some fresh air and noticed a waterfall in the woods where a small stream had been earlier.
A closer look revealed the trickle of water that usually runs through a small culvert under the road had swollen to a torrent a couple of feet deep washing away rocks and gravel until the only road into their area was completely impassible to cars.
They were trapped.
Elsewhere in the campground, supports were getting washed out from under trailers, and entire sites were under water. Roads were washed away, the electricity went out, and water for the bathrooms and sites stopped working.
Thankfully, their site was on the some of the highest ground on their loop, and the water went around them.
During a lull in the rain, they walked down to the chapel where the ground floor had water up to their ankles. The beach had been washed away, the boathouse floated, and then overturned, and all the canoes were scattered, gone, or half submerged in the mud.
The camp siren started sounding, and people said they were being told to evacuate. Our girls are 7 and 9.
Making their way to a camp down the road on foot, they learned almost all the roads in from town were compromised with huge sections of pavement collapsing when the water tore away the ground underneath.
That evening, 400 people were in the dining hall, and there were 90 mattresses. They sat at tables with little lanterns because the power was out there too.
Because their site was on high ground, my mom (with permission from the camp director) brought the girls back to her camper to sleep for the night.
The next morning, I called the local police department to find out which roads were drivable, and the poor girl on the other end of the line – after making sure no one was in imminent danger– said, “Don’t come, the town is under water” and offered to transfer me to the fire department.
They were on their way out to evaluate the roads and coordinate with the camp and said I should hear something soon. Sure enough, not long after I found out that by circling up from the South there was one road in that could still support cars.
Three hours later, I got the biggest hugs of my life.
A huge thank you to all the emergency services, camp staff, and construction workers who worked tirelessly to get the roads up and running again and make sure everyone was safe.
I don’t know that I’ve ever been prouder of my daughters than when I called during their first real emergency and heard their little voices say, “We’re okay, Daddy, we’re going to get through this.”
You’re never too young to keep your head and demonstrate real courage.
Joel and Katy