IN FULL SWING
June 18, 2013 by Dan Noland
Today’s wake-up bell rang as usual at 7:45, but there were already several tables full of guys excitedly working through their French toast sticks, bacon AND sausage (We sang both “Four Wet Pigs” and “Dunderbeck” at assembly!) as they prepared to leave camp early on a variety of trips. Even though rain threatened on and off during the morning, nothing could dampen the fun (See the Wet Tennis pictures).
Rock climbers were the first group out of the parking lot, heading to Looking Glass Rock, a massive granitic outcropping not far away in Pisgah. Though rain prevented them from climbing as long as they had planned, a stop by Dolly’s provided some sticky consolation.
The paddlers pulled out just behind for a long day on the Tuckaseegee River, an impressive body of white water—especially with our wet spring—that challenges even advanced paddlers as it flows westward through the Nantahala National Forest on the way to become the southern border of the Great Smokies.
A group of beginning mountain bikers took their first out-of-camp ride to DuPont State Forest, while a group of hikers spent the day hiking to, on and in the area of John Rock, which is above the Fish Hatchery, where part of their view is back to Looking Glass. They all came back beaming from their adventure. Another group of older hikers who had left camp yesterday for a three-day trip spent all day hiking to and up Sam Knob, higher to Black Balsam Knob, then over and even higher to Tennent Mountain. They probably found several of the excellent swimming holes thereabouts, but we won’t find out for sure until tomorrow, when they return; I do know that they are having a blast: Black Balsam and Tennent are grassy balds high enough to be above the tree line, so the views from the tops include Shining Rock, Cold Mountain and Mount Pisgah.
By the time all of our day-time activities had wound down in the late afternoon, some of us had an early start on supper, since Outpost, Windswept, Chalet, and Holiday I are all on their Chill Night this evening. As they piled out of the Dining Hall to head for the vans, they were already animatedly “discussing” who was going to get down Sliding Rock the most times and which flavors at Dolly’s are the best. Supper time was almost quiet, since a group of horseback riders spent their free time on a Cowboy Dinner Ride on the trails through camp’s woods, and on their return to the barn were treated to a special cowboy supper of hamburger, potatoes, carrots and broccoli, wrapped in tin foil and placed directly in the coals to cook.
The pattern of intermittent showers pushed eastward during the afternoon, so we are looking at several days of clear, fairly cool and dry weather. As the waxing gibbous moon rides high tonight, we’ll have its bright light on the lake and the accompaniment of whippoorwills and the occasional barred owl to fall asleep to. Here at the midway point of the session, all is well.