Full Speed Ahead
August 1, 2014 by Woody Noland
I cannot believe it is Friday already! These guys have now been living the camp life for five days and you can see a difference in how easily they negotiate the grounds, the dining hall, and the cabin routine of brushing teeth, showering, and meeting every night (not easy in the space of one hour). The speed of the day is picking up as well with campers running from place to place, having a plan ahead of time for the choice periods of the day, and having self-imposed schedules of meeting times/locations with groups of friends for a round of disk golf or an assault on the Rock-It down at swimming. It is great to see this load of young ones coming into their own here and beginning to have a hand in creating the experience they would like to have.
With three full days of activity instruction under their belts, there were loads of campers ready to head out of camp and put new skills to the test. A group of hikers summoned the fortitude to leave camp for a full day even when the morning dawned misty and cool. They crushed a large breakfast and hopped into the van for a cruise through Brevard and then up into Pisgah National Forest to the Pink Beds trail. With stream crossings, rhododendron tunnels, and a boardwalk cruising above some wetlands created by a new beaver dam, the boys had all kinds of stuff to check out. A quick lunch kept mind and body together, but after a whole day of solid hiking above 3000 feet, the van returned with some seriously hungry guys! Tonight’s dinner of rolls, lasagna, corn, broccoli, salad, and cake proved no match.
As hikers were cruising in the clouds, canoers sent two separate groups to the French Broad for a taste of introductory whitewater near the headwaters of the river. After practice on our lake where the only obstacle is created by a stiff breeze, the chance to see how a canoe responds to a river current is an exciting (and challenging) event. Partners learn the importance of communication and a plan created before peeling out of a calm eddy as the river does not stop pushing once you are engaged. Both groups came back singing loudly to pop music on the radio and feeling fairly saucy about themselves after two smooth trips down the section.
Climbers also got out of camp, but this time on foot as they hiked out of main camp and up to the High Rocks, a cluster of huge boulders that provide an excellent first experience climbing real rock faces. The mist in the woods made the trip even more of an adventure with the campers feeling like they had moved WAY out of camp and had the mountain totally to themselves. I think all of the guys came back with a new and healthy respect for how much more difficult it is to clamber up an uneven surface that does not have man-made and obvious holds to latch onto. On the flip side, that experience often lights a fire in them to try it again and again, bolstering their confidence on the suddenly much-easier tower!
Camp rolled along completely unphased by the cool weather with campers unhesitatingly hopping in the lake left and right. A roaring fire in the lodge drew groups in during the morning free time for card games basking in the warmth before enjoying a big BBQ lunch replete with curly fries and hush puppies. Hikers still in camp participated in a fun day of Sneaking where they wore their best camouflage clothing, painted exposed skin/faces, and proceeded to creep stealthily about camp, popping up in all kinds of unexpected places. The remnants of the fun (and paint) were still very much in evidence at dinner so fingers crossed for some thorough cleaning this evening. This afternoon, almost exactly timed for the end of rest hour, the sun broke through the cloud cover for the first time and you could feel the energy kick up another notch if possible. The day finished with a beautiful sunset after another rowdy series of evening activities.
“Hill Billy Warriors” (Hillside & Connestee) – On the activity field tonight for an energetic series of games (to keep the attentions!)
“Aggressive Squidwards” (Lakeside & Foxhollow) – A busy game of Capture the Flag on the cabin field.
“Men of the Woods” (Flattop & Chalet) – These guys were playing some confusing and fun Three Ball Soccer.
“Do It for the Vine” (Windswept & Outpost) – Windswept is out on their cabin overnight this evening and Outpost took advantage of the smaller group to play King of the Court at tennis.
“The Most Annoying Noise in the World” (Lookout & Pinnacle) – This crew headed straight for the gym for some dodgeball.
“Trains” (Halfway & Holiday) – These brave souls marched down to the waterslide/rope swing and proceeded to launch themselves into the water heedless of chill!
Thanks for checking in this evening and have a great start to your weekend.
See you tomorrow,