Camp Long – Gift of the Past

This weekend went over to Camp Long for a change of scene. This Seattle Park is a small gem tucked on the side of West Seattle.

When I got there I decided I would use my cell phone camera in an effort to improve my skills with that technology. It started with the picture of Schurman Rock which I promptly posted on Instagram for my big brother.

He is an accomplished mountain climber having conquered several peaks in South America and to this day still skis with the best of them up on Snoqualmie. This park was where he learned and practiced his skills. His comment on the above photo to my post was almost immediate  – “Many days spent bouldering on Schurman Rock.”

Schurman Rock history is documented by the park department with the following:

This major attraction at Camp Long was designed by Clark Schurman. His dream was to build a human-made mountain incorporating every potential rock climbing problem into its design. After taking a winter to make a clay model of the rock, Schurman worked very closely with the W.P.A. workers to create his dream rock. It took 2 years to complete the 20 foot high, erratically shaped climbing rock. Schurman called it Monitor Rock after its intended purpose to “warn, remind, advise and instruct.” After Schurman’s death in 1955 the rock was renamed “Schurman Rock” to honor Clark Schurman’s contribution to Camp Long and mountaineering. On the occasion of the renaming on September 7, 1957, William G. Long gave a special radio address.

The rock is built up next to a large grassy area that is bordered by a steep hill.  Off to the side is another climbing feature. I call it the glacier.

Glacier feature – Camp Long next to the main rock from the bottom.

This angle was on my way back and I took the stairs if any one is wondering.

Stairs for the return trip.

How about a look down from the top. I think the camera shot does not give the drop justice so be sure to look at how small the items are at the bottom of the picture for some perspective.

Looking down the glacier feature at Camp Long

Greg sent me a comment on these pictures that tells a bit more of how this is used to train. It is not just climbing up either. He said “Teenager, practiced rappelling there”.

I loved the graphic visual of the rocks/bricks to build this and took the next few photos.

Not your momma’s hill to just climb.  Check out these side shots of how steep it is. I think I heard once to make it harder or more life like they poured water down it while folks climbed. Brrrrr!!

The twin routes up the glacier at Camp Long
Camp Long Climbing feature – trained many!

Now how about one of my memories. I stayed at Camp Long as a Girl Scout. Must have been in the mid-60s. The memory is so strong about the fun we had telling ghost stories in the cabin at night and hiking around in the woods. I remember exactly which cabin I was assigned to. Here it is a little bit modernized. The inside is still full of wooden bunk-beds and features that make you think you are way out in the wilderness. (not in Seattle city limits).

Cabin at Camp Long – I stayed in this as a kid.

Two things to point out here. The door you see is not the main entrance any more.  When we stayed it was right next to the fire area where we cooked and huddled to stay warm.  Second, is it a bit odd that the cabin is named after Mt. Adams? Here I am now with my married last name Adams.

Of course my brother had a comment to make on the cabin photo.  “Oh I have some great memories of Camp Long. Took my classroom there, once took all of Adams Elementary 4th grade.”

Nothing like a third reference to the name of this special cabin.

Hope you enjoyed this little peek at a Seattle Park that is not your ordinary place. Go visit some day and enjoy the trails. Maybe even rent a cabin and take a bunch of kids camping in the city. How fun and convenient could that be!

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