June 17, 2014 by Dan Noland
Today started off promising to be warm and sunny, and both turned out to be true! Another group of climbers was again up and gone early, this time to Cedar Rock, having done a no-rain dance at breakfast, which was apparently effective, since the rock was quite dry and the climb an enormous success.
The paddlers left soon after for a trip to the Tuckaseegee River, an intermediate river that can challenge with strong current in high water or, as it did today, with technical difficulties when lower water leaves more rocks in the way.
Next off was a mountain biking trip to the Nantahala National Forest for a two-day ride on one of the most demanding trail networks around. The Tsali ride is popular among mountain bikers for many states around, and the guys will be sleeping deeply in their tents as they rest up for tomorrow.
The hikers took a trip to the top of Looking Glass Rock, a granitic pluton (I love that phrase) in Pisgah, where they ate their lunches, had the chance to observe from that prominence what logging in a national forest looks like when fresh and as the trees grow back over the years, and they all came back buzzing about the stunning views.
While all this was going on out of camp, in camp was its usual loud, kinetic self, and I have to say that the tone around here is as positive and fun as I have ever witnessed. What a session!
Tonight, our two oldest age groups ate an early supper, hopped in the vans and headed up into Pisgah National Forest for a two-part adventure that we call Chill Night. First comes Sliding Rock, where the guys sidle carefully out into the middle of the Davidson River above a large, sloping rock, sit down at the top of the rock, push off, and let the river’s current accelerate them down into a deep and wonderfully refreshing pool. Much gleeful spluttering and gasping emerges as some of them finally realize what cold water can mean. The water and getting back up for the nest slide takes a surprising amount of energy, so, when all have had their fill of sliding, we take them to the forest’s entrance, where Dolly’s ice cream stand means each guy chooses two from among dozens of flavors, many custom mixed, to heap into a waffle cone. By the time they get back to camp by about 9:00, they are tired, smiling and a bit sticky!
The horseback riders had their own special evening event, a Cowboy Ride that left right after the last activity period, took the more advanced riders on trails further out of camp for their longest ride yet. The trails always end up at the barn, of course, where the guys are treated to a feast cooked over an open fire, where food always tastes the best, seasoned as it is with fun, satisfaction from a job well done and fresh air (with maybe an ash or two).
Even with almost half of camp on trips somewhere tonight, the gym, soccer field and ga-ga pit were still as busy as always for evening activity, so that by the time the Lights Out bell rings at 9:30, many cabin lights will already be out, and a bunch of tired people will fall asleep quickly to close out the first half of the session.
Enjoy the waning gibbous moon tonight.