To the unassuming outsider, the township of Government Camp located on the active volcano of Mt. Hood, is a peaceful community hosting all the workings of the summer snowboard camps. It’s a place untouched by time, where locals spend long hours in front of the village store combing each other for lice, sunburned campers have makeouts in the tall grass after dark, and the passage of years is best marked by the June birthday of Idaho shred-legend Greg Goulet–now going on his fourteenth year as a coach at High Cascade (and he’s only 25 years old).

Anyone who’s done extended time there, however, knows that like earth’s tectonic layer, the real Govie is a pressure cooker on full boil that can cause even the sanest person to go stir crazy within a week. Pros come from all over to tune up skills and finish video parts on camp kickers, rails, and pipes. But as days pass by in the tiny town, riders find themselves locked in a daily routine of sun-drenched recreation that somehow always leads toward after-hours explosions. Perhaps this helps explain a near eviction at the Quiksilver house–which should actually be renamed the Grenade house–and why the normally quiet and reserved Gigi Rüf reportedly broke through the entrance to Government Camp’s only gated community and later spray-painted a chicken taking a dump on the side of said Grenade, that is, Quiksilver house.

But despite the usual blowing off of steam (including actual seismic activity in the form of a few mild earthquakes), all is right and good at Mt. Hood, and summer camp seems to be unfolding in a generally pleasing manner. Late June saw a few rain days and cooler weather, helping to preserve some of the northwest’s record snowfall from last winter. The glacier veins are pumping with stoked kids getting some in the snow-park, and the coaches and staff don’t seem burnt out … yet. In fact, High Cascade guest-coach Andrew Crawford held an official “Camero Drawing Contest” to give campers the chance at riding in his notorious purple Camero. After much deliberation, Crawford chose thirteen of the best ar-teests to accompany him on a peel-wheels mission to Portland and go cart racing later, “So they get to drive, too,” he said.

As camper Bill MacLindon from Madison, New Jersey acknowledges, “Just to be out here riding” is easily the best part about the Mt. Hood experience. Being a resident of Southern California, it was also fun for me to see all the tall things with furry green branches that people kept calling “trees.” Nature is an amazing thing.