Camp at its Best
June 17, 2010 by Don Gentle
Pictures from June 17, 2010 (password required)
As we near the end of the second week, our guys are starting to see some of the returns from all the initial hard work they’ve been putting in. Campers that had never been in a canoe before this session made it onto their first Green River trip today and got a taste of a real whitewater river and the challenges that can present. The butterflies that build in each boy on the 45 minute ride over are in full frenzy when they first push off from the bank. Armed with new paddle strokes, counselor guides, and a partner to face the unknown with, each camper finds himself pushing through the nerves and slowly gaining the confidence in his own skills to face what lies around the next bend or around the next big rock. The excitement of the moment sometimes prevents each camper from realizing the boost such an experience can have, and it takes that same van ride back to camp or sharing stories in the cabin for the accomplishment to begin to sink in. This is that same bug that bites so many guys here, and can set them on a path for a lifetime of enjoyment in all sorts of endeavors.
This afternoon saw a group of tired, grubby guys show back up to camp after two days of mountain biking with a campout in between. Having ridden six miles in several hours, the group said they staggered in to their shelter for the evening where their gear had been dropped off earlier that day. Not only did they get to feast on a full Mexican dinner in the middle of the woods, but they also had a treasure note waiting for them which directed them into a nearby, ice-cold mountain stream where eventually a treasure trove of sodas was found floating in a pool. Fueled by stories of the day (and some sugar) the group stayed up into the night playing a Greek Mythology game of Mafia, a favorite around the campfire. The next morning they crushed a breakfast of pancakes before heading back onto the trail, and then back to camp victorious, and needing showers.
Two more 2-Day trips went out today. The hikers headed up into High Pisgah where the weather is cool at an elevation around 6000 feet and the views are amazing. Sam Knob is a spectacular two – peaked mountain rising above the clear waters of Flat Laurel Creek and the surrounding meadows. A group of climbers were off to spend a couple of days climbing in the Obed Wild and Scenic River area. Boasting world class sandstone climbing, campers will have many different routes and levels of difficulty available to them in a very popular destination. With so much of the climbing occurring on private land, or tracts owned by the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy, the campers also get a chance to appreciate the work and effort the climbing community puts into maintaining the sites, in the hope that they will continue to remain accessible.
The last trip today was a huge group of soccer and tennis aficionados who descended on a nearby girls’ camp, Camp Illahee, for an afternoon of co-ed doubles on the courts and a high energy game of soccer with the mixed teams constantly rotating. The buzz surrounding these inter-camp visits usually makes the trip before it starts, but everyone was all smiles and stories rolling back into camp.
Today in camp was one of the prettier days in a while with no rain or thunderstorms threatening, but the weather stayed cool enough to encourage lots of exuberance. Horseback riding did numerous trail rides through some of the rhododendron tunnels and open meadows of camp while climbers on the tower learned how to place gear to protect themselves while climbing on real rock. Fishermen continued to have success on the banks and some from canoes so they could track down the big bass hiding in the deeper areas of the lake. Improvisational comedy instruction was offered later in the afternoon for cabin groups looking to prepare for Skit Night on Friday. Lakeside and Foxhollow ate an early dinner before blasting off to Sliding Rock to commence their Chill Night. All in all, a busy day throughout camp and beyond with some tired fellas dragging themselves off to bed after a snack of large soft pretzels.
Check in tomorrow for more pictures, more news, and more fun!!