Another Delightful Day
July 23, 2013 by Dan Noland
The setting full moon still lingered over the dam in a brightening sky when the wake-up bell rang this morning, and though the last week regrettably begins to wane, activities are still going full bore.
First out of camp today, the paddlers headed west to the Tuckaseegee River with another combined group of open and closed boats. The water was no longer as high as earlier in the month, but the river is still full enough that even those campers who have been down it several times before gained a new perspective. The old saying goes that you can never step in the same river twice, and the same goes for paddling.
The climbers took the first of two interconnected one-day climbs out soon after, going this time to the north side of Looking Glass Rock where they spent the day bouldering: no ropes, harnesses, or other gear—instead, having to refine techniques carefully to keep traction and pick successful routes. They finished off a tiring day swimming in a wonderful waterhole not far from the rocks.
The hikers went to the East fork of the Pigeon River, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, on a rock hop, which winds up being a bit like bouldering, but with many pools to splash around in on the way up the river, often bushwhacking around steeper places through thick rhododendron, from Yellowstone (aka Skinny Dip) Falls to Graveyard Fields. Another group of hikers came back into main camp this morning chatting excitedly about their cooking hike. Last night they made their own queso dip as an appetizer to fireside-made deep-dish pizza, followed by blackberry cobbler, and this morning’s fare featured French toast and left-over cobbler.
The horseback riders are now fully engaged in their three-day extravaganza, the Rolex Events. Yesterday was devoted to the precision control needed for dressage maneuvers in the rings, while today and tomorrow see cross-country and stadium jumping. Campers felt a bit nervous at the prospect of leaving the ground while on the back of a horse, but the expressions of pride and joy (with occasional relief) left any butterflies far behind. It is truly amazing to see the bonds that can grow between a boy and a horse in a relatively short time. In fact, many of the returning guys greeted “their” horses like old friends at the start of the session.
Chalet and Flattop are as I write this tanking up on ice cream at Dolly’s after some chilly sliding on the Davidson River, and the snack bell ringing is about the only thing that could pull campers off the lake and out of the raucous, ridiculous spectacle of canoe fill ups.
Please enjoy today’s batch of pictures, and good night.