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Here are some pictures from the ride to Hillside this year. From NYC, I went through Dover, Wharton and then over the first mountain pass to Sparta, NJ. Northwest of this is the Kittatinny Mountain and then the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. There is a mountain pass separating the Poconos from the Endless Mountains, which is where Hillside is. The pass is between Waymart (the mountain ahead) and Carbondale. Carbondale is an old mining town and the terminus of the 19th-century Gravity Railroad to Hawley, PA which used neither steam nor electricity.
Some pictures of Carbondale: a church; downtown (it's much cooler than New York here, only 79°); railroad crossing and old railyard; and looking towards the next mountain to cross, which lies between Carbondale and the area around Hillside. Ascending the mountain out of Carbondale I took my picture in a scenic forested area with the road following a proverbial babbling brook up towards the mountain pass.
After crossing the pass, there are some rolling hills and then about a two mile descent into Lenox, where I get on 81. Approaching Exit 66 on I-81 is a sign with the tent symbol for a campground, but it could just as easily refer to one of the other camps in the area as to Hillside. Here's the actual exit. Bill from Long Island happened to be exiting at the same time; we chatted a little but didn't wrestle till arriving at Hillside with something softer than asphalt to wrestle on, like the grass. It is the afternoon of Wednesday, July 21.
Last year, only 6 wrestlers had arrived by Wednesday evening. This year, there were many more than that in the afternoon, as the mats were brought in and set up (this shows the main tent). Even with the mats available, some guys still insisted on taking their matches onto other surfaces. Actually, it was a lot of fun to challenge a spectator sitting on the rolled-up part of the mat and end up rolling off onto the grass or tarp and going at it there.
In the evening, the wrestlers from Golden Gate arrived and swelled the Site 60 population to 30. Looking down from the still mostly empty upper level, a little wrestling continues on the main mat while dinner is served; closeup at dinner.
Wrestlers came from all over the United States, as well as two provinces of Canada, and also from Germany and England.
There were three wrestling tents this year, similar to last year's setup. The main freestyle/collegiate tent on the lower level of Site 60 had two full-size mats and was also the site of the Saturday wrestling clinic. This was where the Olympic-style amateur wrestling took place. The pro/submission tent featured a smaller mat for these other styles of wrestling, or for overflow from the other mats. The oil tent, at the far end of the upper level of Site 60, had a similar setup, except it was for more or less private matches. Something for everyone. The pro tent was moved this year to just above the kitchen area since its usual location (Site 60A) was reserved by other campers this year, as can be seen in this mealtime picture and diagram. This turned out to be good, since this tent had a cool breeze during the heat of the day when the main tent was about 5 degrees hotter.
Some more mat action pictures:
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During a lull in the wrestling I took a ride around the area to the east of Hillside. This is downtown Gibson, which this year actually has one stoplight, though it is only temporary during the construction. Other views of Gibson are in the 1997 and 1998 Hillside pages. This is the top of a hill not far from Gibson where there were tons of ripening raspberries growing wild at roadside. And this is Creek Rd., which connects Hillside to the rest of civilization.
After getting back, I went around between the three wrestling tents and had a few challenge matches. Time flies, soon a few hours had gone by and it was time for dinner. By this time, a lot more wrestlers had arrived and it was starting to get crowded.
Not far from Site 60 is the Memorial Garden, honoring those who are no longer with us.
Here is a nighttime scene on the upper level of Site 60, showing the oil lamps between the tents. On Saturday night, it was a little cooler than the other nights, so we lit a bonfire. But it was still much warmer than previous years, where the temperature fell into the 50's or occasionally the high 40's at night. There was wrestling into the wee hours each night, without much of the "steaming" effect of previous years. The sweat flowed very freely and made for some very slippery matches. Late on Friday night I took a little break, hit the showers, and hung out with some new arrivals; those coming from the New York City area on Friday had encountered significant delays on the way in.
Elsewhere on camp is the pool and rec center, where a large bonfire is lit on weekend nights. Though it didn't photograph well, it was a fun place to hang out on Saturday night. There is also the Strip, a former airplane landing strip adjacent to the pool and rec center, which now has a number of permanent and seasonal campsites and is Hillside's occasionally racy downtown.
View of the inside of my tent.
The week after Hillside, several Hillsiders attended practice with Metro and Twin Towers before returning home.
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Created: August 5, 1999 Last modified: Sept. 7, 1999