What a Blast!

This event happened after camp had ended one year, possibly as late as 1965, when I was a summer student at MIT, and teaching a computer programming class at CRC on weekends. Most of us remember driving to camp up Route 15. We were getting close when we passed the Ashford Motel (have I got that name right?). But eventually the Commonwealth of Massachusetts decided that a bigger road was needed, and started construction on Route 84, probably to feed their insatiable appetite for graft with some Federal dollars from the Interstate Highway Program.

Anyone who remembers the "seven ridges", or has just observed "Lover's Leap" overlooking the swimming lake, knows that Camp Robinson Crusoe lies on top of a very solid bed of rock, and so the road construction required a good deal of this rock to be removed. This was done by blasting, and we got used to hearing repeated loud booms during the course of each day. Well, they weren't all that loud, because the blasting was outside the camp property, a mile or so away from Bob Hill's house in the center of the camp.

Now blasting away rock is a rather delicate art. It is delicate in the sense that the amount of explosive used for any given task must be carefully chosen, and judging the amount needed is rather more art than science. If too little is used, the rock may not be fractured, leaving the rock face in a rather precarious state, possibly on the verge of collapse, making further work difficult and dangerous. If just the right amount is used, the rock face is thoroughly fractured, and collapses, but there is very little wasted energy, and no material to speak of is tossed into the air to be a danger to all around.

But on this particular morning, someone misjudged badly. We didn't know anything was wrong, except that we heard a particularly loud boom. In a short while, a near victim walking down a hall inside Bob's house was stopped in her tracks when a boulder the size of a watermelon smashed through the roof, down through the ceiling, plummeted a foot or two in front of her, and then disappeared into a hole it created in the floor. That is, a boulder blasted from a mile away had crashed clear through the house from top to bottom.

The blasting crews paid for the damage, thankful they had not killed anyone.

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