From Fried Fish to Katydids
July 22, 2014 by Dan Noland
After a spate of rainy weather, capped off by a torrential downpour at lunch and rest hour yesterday, we got lucky, and the additional rain forecast to build through the day held off. We’ve been sending groups out early for weeks now; it is gratifying to see campers get themselves up and to the Dining Hall before wake-up bell then eat breakfast and help load vehicles, as the staff takes care of the blizzard of last minute details, so that trips can leave on time and in good humor. Learning independence within a community takes many forms!
The hikers, who already have an overnight group out hiking from the Fish Hatchery in Pisgah through such places as Cat Gap and Butter Gap, sent another trip out to DuPont Forest for a day hike that included lunch Lake Dense, a beautiful five-acres of exceptionally pure water. The mountain bikers also went to DuPont, for a sweep ride in the Sky Valley trail network. The rock climbers found themselves clambering up The Nose of Looking Glass Rock, and the paddlers enjoyed the swollen waters of the Tuckaseegee River. At lunch today, we had five empty tables as testament to the hard work our campers and staff do on trips, but the barbecue sandwiches were just as tasty, and nobody complained that we had extra homemade brownies to finish.
Horseback riding is engaged in a three-day event to deploy the horsemanship skills they have been developing, many of them for multiple years. Yesterday was the dressage segment, where precision control of the horse’s movements is the focus. Today, stadium jumping required campers to guide their horses around a set course of jumps with varying heights and depths to challenge them in the large ring. Tomorrow, it’s into the pastures!
At free time this afternoon, we (re)instituted our (semi)annual Jim Toman Fishing Classic. Jim was a long-time counselor here renowned for his angling skills, among other outdoor talents. During “The Classic,” the guys actually keep what they land—a departure from our catch-and-release policy—so that tomorrow at afternoon free time they can have a group fish fry. Foolish blue gills and inexperienced bass will be on the menu!
After we hear Sumner play taps on his natural trumpet this evening, we will settle in for an early overture to one of my favorite natural events of the whole summer. We’ve already had a few nights of sporadic singing, but as July wanes their grasshopperish stridulations crescendo until the dark woods themselves seem to vibrate. May you get to hear them this week end.
Until then, good night.