Hitting Their Stride
July 8, 2011 by Don Gentle
Pictures from July 08, 2011 (password required)
It is Friday and that means the last day of trips for the first week of camp. After several days spent knocking the rust off of skills built in previous years, it was time to head out and put them to use. Five different trips headed out today which is not quite our maximum but definitely left camp feeling somewhat quiet and relaxed. The climbers were up before anyone else and had already eaten and left the property before the other campers came staggering to the Dining Hall for delicious sausage biscuits and gravy. With our weather pattern heavy on afternoon showers, the climbers are working to enjoy every moment of dry rock and sunshine and had a great day out on the Nose of Looking Glass. The cavers also had a fun time at Worley’s Cave in TN, with some of the younger guys finding some tiny cave salamanders no bigger than your thumb nail. The sheer amount of mud coating their coveralls and shoes upon returning to camp was testament to their exuberant assault on the slides and tight crawls found inside the cave. Canoers were off to the Tuckasegee for a full day of solid intermediate whitewater. With our regular rainfall the river levels have been perfect, allowing for exciting water features and a slight cushion over those sneaky shallow rocks. Our hiking trip headed to Pisgah for a loop up and over John Rock complete with some gorgeous views from the top and a nice rock face to have lunch. The group then checked out the Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery which is always a favorite due to the feeding frenzies campers can create with the available fish food. The hatchery grows nearly 500,000 trout a year and offers informational tours on the area’s stream ecology and wildlife. Our last trip of the day was a mountain biking expedition over to DuPont State Forest. The group based out of Sky Valley and had a very busy day riding multiple loops. The highlight however was in running across groups of Army soldiers conducting wilderness survival training in full gear and armed with fake guns. The guns appeared authentic and inspired great interest in our young bikers, creating lots of conversation back at camp.
In camp our activities continued apace. Sailors had a very windy day which allowed for exciting runs before the wind and narrowly avoided capsizes. In horseback riding, campers got a chance to practice riding bareback and had a great time learning to balance without the aid of stirrups. The tennis courts were swamped with our afternoon rain shower and a new game was created which was heavy on aces and lots of splashing. Down in crafts the groups were presented with their awards for the Iron Camper projects causing tons of laughter at the ridiculous titles but resulted in a lot of creativity in the individual efforts.
All in all, a great way to wrap up our first week. I hope you enjoy the pictures from today and please tune in tomorrow for news of our first Saturday and the Illahee square dance!!