A Day of Firsts
June 25, 2013 by Dan Noland
Please note: ** Closing Day is this Friday! **
In the many years that I have been at High Rocks, I have never seen a session go as smoothly nor one with as much sheer fun as this one. This is in no small part due to the outstanding group of campers here this June! These guys know and love what camp is about, which means that they have set an amazing tone from the very first day, and they have helped the program to blossom as a result.
As one example, for the first time ever, a three-week group is on a two-day canoe trip, today being on the Nantahala River, the perennial site of national whitewater championships and one of the coldest, fastest rivers in the east. After a night around a fire and sleeping in tents, they move tomorrow to the Chattooga, more of a “drop-pool” river that flows freely through three national forests and a wilderness area and is so beautiful and remote that it has earned a “wild and scenic” designation.
The horseback riders are in the second day of their amazing three-day event, with today’s focus being on the athleticism of stadium jumping and the precision of dressage, where the riders need a fine-tuned, sympathetic control of their mounts. One group of hikers is in the middle of their three-day trek into Panthertown, with its renowned, remote back country full of waterfalls. Another group came back late this afternoon from the Jones Gap area, where they were on a trail so steep they needed to use hand lines, scrambled down a rock that also needed the hand line and culminated at Rainbow Falls, a free-falling, 200’ beauty. Though it was by all accounts a demanding trip, everyone came back proud and smiling, and the staff had nothing but praise for “their” campers.
It turned out that two climbing groups wound up on the same rock today. The youngest climbers in camp took their first off-property trip to Pilot Rock and ascended a part with mild grade and sticky surface—perfect for those new to the sport. Meanwhile on a face not far away, the two-day climb ended their trip by getting over 400’ off the ground: What a view they had from that spot!
The mountain bikers were back in DuPont trying out another section of challenging trails, the kilns are full of pottery getting fired, craft-shop-made tie-dye shirts are appearing kaleidoscopically around camp, and not the least of today’s events was the appearance of girls on the soccer field and tennis courts this afternoon, as some Keystone Campers paid us another visit.
Since tomorrow night is Cabin Night and Thursday is Closing Campfire, we had our last round of regular evening activities tonight, and, while I type this sentence, gleeful echoes are fading off the lake as they run to have snacks.