Warm and Wonderful
July 16, 2013 by Woody Noland
Our dry weather is settling in nicely, boosted by the first noticeably warm day of the summer. Before the sun was over the trees, though, the canoers rolled out of camp for a long-awaited, annual event on the Nantahala River. Paddlers from numerous camps in the area congregate at this renowned white-water river to compete seriously but good naturedly in slalom, down river, single, tandem and kayak events. Much excitement attended their departure (They didn’t even complain about missing cinnamon toast!), and we await their late, tired but gratified return before lights out.
The rock climbers are taking full advantage of “their” weather, with a new group of guys going to Horseshoe Rock. In the afternoon, the swimmers went to Hooker Falls, on the Little River in DuPont, where the water has finally returned to a more comfortable flow. They took inner tubes and basked in the sun, swirling languidly in the large pool at the base of this fall, which made a star appearance in The Last of the Mohicans. The five-day hikers are on their first full day in Joyce Kilmer Forest, and I’ll bet that as they set up camp this evening they were exchanging awed tales, not just about the incredible size of the trees there, of which there are over one hundred species, but also about the stunning, complex beauty of this never-logged place.
In camp, as you can see from the pictures, everybody continued to be rambunctiously busy. For instance, the horseback riders not only had their regular instructional classes, but a large group of them went back to the barn for evening trail rides to be followed by a cowboy supper cooked over an open fire, which always makes even the plainest food taste exotic. Our newest campers got their first experience with mountain biking right after assembly, and the rest of the day saw the bikers engaged in Trail Day. A fresh group took the ropes course and zip line challenge in the morning and then got right back to regular activities.
Martin Schmidt, an early-days camper and counselor, is visiting, and he has set up his large telescope for us to view the waxing moon moon and, when it’s dark enough, ringed Saturn as we head for bed. You might take a peek at them yourself.