Part 2 -- Pennsic War:  August 6 - 17, 2001

Cooper's Lake, PA

 




Hot, humid ... fun!

August 6, 2001

We're here!  We got checked in with a minimum of fuss, and went off to find the Outlands encampment.  For the non-SCA folks reading this, The Outlands is the SCA kingdom where we live.  It encompasses modern-day New Mexico, parts of Colorado and Wyoming, plus El Paso, TX, and Scottsbluff, NE.

Here are our first pictures (as always, click on the thumbnail to view a larger image):
 
 

Guillaume at the Front Gate
Merchant's Row (not quite ready for business yet)

I guess a few more explanations might be in order here.

In the SCA, we all take on alternate "personas", including names.  So while I'm at Pennsic, I'm Arwen Southernwood, a French lady of the late (very late) 1500's.  And my husband is called Guillaume de Gonzac, a French cavalier (who is technically just over the SCA's cutoff date of 1600).  We live in the Barony of Caerthe (Denver, CO), which is the oldest Barony in the Outlands, and one of the oldest Baronies in the Known World (records from those early days are a little hazy on the subject).

Merchant's Row is the part of the event that is set aside for that most important of activities, shopping.  We are told that Merchant's Row won't officially be open for business until Wednesday or Thursday, so they're obviously still setting up.

We found our fellow Outlanders without any trouble, and said hello.  Then we went for an evening stroll, had some supper, and went back to the inn for the night.


August 7, 2001 (A.S. XXXVI)

Heat Index (heat adjusted for humidity): 107 degrees F.

It was really hot today.

Guillaume decided that he wanted to help out with the building of the dance floor.  This year, for the first time, Pennsic is to have a dedicated space for dancing - a large tent with a raised plywood floor, which should be much more pleasant for dancing than the concrete floor of the barn.  Part of the project is to paint "parquet" patterns on it before it gets put together.  Here's how it looks today (still very much in progress):
 
 

While he worked on that, I went for a stroll to take a few pictures.  First, I went past the first-aid station (a.k.a. Chirurgeon's Point), where someone had helpfully posted the current heat index (107 F).  Well, that didn't make me feel any cooler!  But I valiantly trudged onward, wanting to get some pictures of the main battlefield.
 
 
The Main Battlefield
With fortress, camping on the hilltop, and the battlefield schedule
Safe Drinking Water
Water here has a high mineral content, but someone has come up with a clever design for a water filter.

Otherwise, we didn't do much that was exciting.  Things don't really get going here for another day or two.


August 8, 2001 (A.S. XXXVI)

Heat Index:  117 degrees F.

I didn't think it could get any hotter, but I was wrong.  Wow, it's hot!  It was so hot we didn't really feel like doing anything.  I sat and sewed for a large part of the day, feeling the sweat dripping off of me.  We've been making sure we get plenty to drink, but it's still very, very hot.

As a result, I didn't take too many pictures, but there were at least a few.  For those who were wondering, here's what the Outlands encampment currently looks like (keeping in mind that most of our fellow Outlanders don't arrive until this weekend):
 
 
Outlands Gate
Staying In The Shade

Work on the dance floor continued, but at a much slower rate due to the heat.  Painting is supposed to continue through tomorrow, and then the floor will be assembled.

But today's biggest story is still the heat.  The Main Battlefield was closed to fighting today due to the heat.  Notices have been posted that the Battlefield will be closed whenever the heat index is 104 degrees F or higher.  On the bright side, some very clever person set up a "mist tent" outside Chirurgeon's Point -- a sunshade with vegetable misters putting out a fine mist inside it.  We stepped inside for a few minutes, and we did feel cooler afterwards.

The heat is supposed to continue through tomorrow; after that, a cold front is supposed to come through and drop temperatures into the seventies for the weekend.  I can hardly wait!!!


August 9, 2001 (A.S. XXXVI)

Heat Index: 108 degrees F.

The weather continued hot today.  It was so hot that after trudging around the merchant areas for a little while, I came back to camp to lay down in the shade.  That was all I felt like doing.  Lady Marged, a long-time friend of ours, has kindly offered us space in her tent to put stuff in during the day, and to hang out in, so I stretched out on the carpet there.  (She eventually came and had a nap, too).  Guillaume went and did a little more shopping, since it was the first official day for the merchants to be open.

As a result, not many pictures got taken.  Here is a shot of some of the merchants in "houses" opposite the barn:

Relief finally came late in the afternoon, when the leading edge of the promised cold front arrived.  First came the cooling breezes, and then clouds, and some wind.  Some of the less sturdy tents took some damage, but I'm pleased to report that all of the tents in the Outlands encampment stood the storm well.  Lady Marged's tent lost a few (cheap plastic) stakes, but fortunately, she had spares.

There was a light rain later, and things became cooler and much more bearable.  Whew!

After it was cool enough to move around, we stopped by to see how the dance floor project was progressing, and took a few pictures of some of the floor tiles:
 
 

The floor is to be assembled tomorrow.