July 16, 2010 by Don Gentle
Pictures from July 16, 2010 (password required)
Tonight we continue our “guest columnist” event as Ashley Upchurch takes the stage to write a little about camp from her perspective. -Don Gentle
Evening, y’all! My name’s Ashley UpChurch. I work down at the barn teaching lessons and working with the apprentices, training them to be future riding counselors (fingers crossed). I’ve been a counselor at High Rocks for four summers, and half way through that I spent a summer as a riding and cabin counselor at Camp Green Cove. I graduated in 2009, and I spent the past year teaching Language Arts at a bilingual school in Armenia, Colombia down in South America. Having flown in from Colombia 3 days before the Four-Week started, I arrived to camp just hours before the kids rolled up the mountain. It was the perfect beginning to another incredible summer.
We’re just coming over the big halfway point, and this week is living up to its usual expectations. Alex mentioned yesterday that the kids are heading out left and right on trips all over the place. We saw a caving, a paddling and a climbing trip head out early this morning (the dining hall at breakfast and lunch has been pretty calm all week), and they’ll be headed back in tonight. This evening the 5-day hike comes back, surely happily worn out and with plenty of stories I can’t wait to hear. Tomorrow the New River paddling trip will rejoin us as well, and after a quick morning barn trip, we’ll have one of those all-in Saturday afternoons I personally enjoy so much.
Last night was an exciting one for the barn. We first sent two trail rides out during 5:00 free period, and they all got to help turn horses out to pasture before having dinner with Jane Williams, the co-founder of camp. Supper Rides are a new development at the barn this summer, and it’s been a huge success so far. It’s neat to watch the kids interact with Jane, who they don’t get to see that often. Many campers choose to have dinner at Jane’s instead of going on the barn overnight.
Luckily for me, some campers still like the overnight. After the Supper Ride, Sumner Williams, Jane’s grandson, and I took our overnighters on a beautiful trail called Fern Gully (aptly named for the lovely ferns spread around most of the trail). We ended our trail in Upper Pasture to spend the night with the horses. After bare backing around the pasture for a while just to have some fun, we let our horses go for the night and set up camp. S’mores plus a couple games of Mafia (a camp-wide favorite, as I’m sure you know) saw us into the night, but it was cut short by some much needed rain. We scurried into our tents (and I into my hammock), and settled down for the night, all silently hoping the rain would let up.
This morning I woke to find the boys rather damp, but all smiles as they packed up camp and rounded up their steeds. They were sports about the rainy night, and as we bare backed our way into camp I heard snippets of conversation about how much fun they had. The part I found funniest of the whole night was when our oldest boys tried setting up their tent, concluded they didn’t have tent poles, sent delegates in search of new poles, returned with the wrong set of poles, and ended the whole ordeal finding the original poles under the tent!
Tomorrow the barn staff will be taking any riders who would like to go (which is most of them) to a horse show in Tryon, NC. We’ll be watching local riders compete over fences and in groundwork, and what’s more we get sodas! The horse shows have often been a huge success (one summer we even got to pretend to be horses out in a field near the show and put on our own little event), so I’m predicting tomorrow will be a fun day for the High Rocks riders! On a side note, our 2-week Minis have been doing awesome. As riders, they’ll be staying around camp tomorrow to get as much saddle time as possible in the next week. Speaking of that, I can’t believe we’re already a week away from Closing Day.
I hope you all enjoy this last week; I know I certainly will! Have a great weekend as you keep up with what’s going on here at camp.