Stanford Sierra Camp has a serious obsession with eggs. I’m not just talking hard-boiled, poached, and scrambled here. Although the omelette bar on Tuesdays and Fridays is pretty fantastic – totally worth the 45 min wait. And they do crazy stuff like… sushi omelettes:
Anyways, eggs. Two of the greatest camp traditions of all time are the Egg Toss and the Egg Drop. And I’m just going to put it out there, my family is pretty good at those two things. As in, we won both this year.
We’ll start with Egg Toss. Procedurally, its pretty simple. You get a partner, then you get a raw egg. You start about three feet apart and you toss it back and forth. Pretty soon, you end up with one person standing in the lake, so the whole game rotates 90 degrees, meaning you have the space to toss eggs pretty far. Well, really far. By the end of this year’s game, we were tossing our eggs about 25-30 yards. (Yes, yards. Not feet.) Every so often, just to make things fun, the judges make you do stuff like catching one-handed, or throwing with your eyes closed. When all was said and done, Robby and I tied for first with another sibling pair, and I had egg yolk all over my leg.
But at the end of the day, we got some milkshakes, and a hug in the lake:
And then there’s the Egg Drop. Again, its pretty self-explanatory. You drop an egg. From the second floor balcony of the lodge. Onto cement. And you win if your egg doesn’t break. There are some rules – only recycled materials allowed being the primary one. The lightest and most creative successful drops get prizes. Most of the drops are some variation of an egg in a cup below a parachute. It seems like it would be a winning design, but they only work about 50% of the time. Most people forget about padding, or don’t put a hole in the top of their parachute to make sure it stays fully inflated.
We typically take a very different design path. This year, my egg broke, as did Robby’s. I went with a can-can theme, hoping a taught pair of tights suspending the egg in the middle of a box would keep it safe. Robby built a really cool dragon based on a paper airplane design. He hoped it would “fly” down; if the wings could catch enough air under them, the dragon had the potential to glide lightly to the ground. The wind didn’t help out there. Mom called her drop “Mom’s Emergency Kit,” and included bandaids, DEET wipes, and instant coffee. By using quarters as weights to keep it falling straight down and dryer lint as padding (did I mention there was a mini detergent box in the design too?), she managed to keep her egg alive.
But Dad (classically) stole the show with the same drop he’s used for a decade now. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Basically, Dad takes all the science knowledge he has and puts it in one bucket. A big bucket, admittedly.
If you’re ever in need of an egg drop design (physics classes have these contests and stuff like that), don’t forget about the power of water. A little science lesson for my non-scientists, and some review for the rest of us. Water is incompressible, meaning that when it is impacted, it expands outwards. In common parlance, it basically explodes. So now imagine that ice cream bucket you see filled with water, and a coffee cup suspended in the middle. Put the egg inside the coffee cup, firmly attach the lid, and release. Another thing we know about water is that it is heavy. Really heavy. So when you drop a five gallon bucket filled with water, it drops like a rock, so to say. And everyone groans in sympathy because, clearly, there is no way a raw egg is surviving a fall like that. Because the water is everywhere, the kids are wet, the bucket is totalled… but then the judge walks in, fishes out the egg, and holds it above her head.
And they each get one of the two “Most Creative” prizes, leaving the whole family to hit the fountain for our “egg”-cellent Fountain milkshakes.