Under the Summer Sun
July 10, 2015 by Woody Noland
This week ended with a blue-skied scorcher of a day to complete the dry weather we have had recently. We had some trips roll out to enjoy the fine day with climbing the first to go busting out of camp around 7:30. The climbers headed to the South Side of Looking Glass for some classic North Carolina routes in one of the most beautiful areas around. They had a successful day with the dry weather allowing plenty of time for every guy to get his fill. Many water bottles were consumed and many comments flew about the amount of heat a bare rock surface can absorb and then reflect back at someone glued closely to it!
Mountain bikers also took advantage of the cooler morning temps to get a early ride in through Dupont. Once again, the dry weather made the trails pack down nicely so the group was able to ride further, faster than in wetter conditions. Paddlers took two trips to the nearby section of the French Broad river for guys to get their feet wet in moving water. Both groups practiced their first attempts at eddy turns, peel outs, and ferries in the gentle, but insistent, whitewater. Our last overnight of the week returned from Panther Town where a crew of young guys, mostly Mini campers, had a wonderful hiking experience with a campsite they all were talking about once they rolled back in. After getting their gear sorted and packs emptied (no small feat!) they re-entered the camp day just in time for some choice period fun.
The in-camp crew was busily working away as well. Some of our crafts guys were in the woodworking shop for the first day of serious project building. After selecting what project they would like to work on yesterday, the budding carpenters set to making ping-pong paddles, shelving units, dog bowl holders, and the favorite, lockboxes! Eye and ear protection were strapped on before they began using, or helping, with sanders, nail guns, saws, and more. Lots of fun, noise, and seriousness as they slowly began the process.
With such a warm day, our hikers embraced the heat with a continued lesson on fire building. Hikers are becoming adept at sizing pieces of wood for different stages of a fire, determining types of wood better suited for the different stages, and much more. The advanced class impressed themselves and the instructors with an added challenge. After they had foraged for the appropriate woods and sizes to make their fire, the counselor bundled the wood together and dunked it fully in a bucket of water as a surprise stumbling block. The boys were somewhat dismayed at first, but quickly got to work as they do when confronted with an unexpected setback. By the end of class, they had a fire blazing despite the soaked wood and left the class feeling like veritable Daniel Boones, each recounting their piece of the success.
The general camper body also received a welcome surprise at choice period with an impromptu appearance of rootbeer or coke floats at random points around camp. It is amazing the watch how quickly word spreads across the property when something out of the ordinary (and containing ice cream) springs up in one isolated. With no wifi assistance, I believe every single person in camp learned where the treats-laden gator was a made a beeline straight for it. A brief, but enjoyable, respite it was too as the campers immediately jumped back into the gaga pit, restarted Camper/Counselor tennis matches, or paddled back to the gates course to continue playing hard.
It has been an excellent second week and is setting the stage nicely for the next two weeks of really productive projecting and tripping around the area. For some of our guys, it marks the last full day at camp before they leave us tomorrow morning. While a boys’ camp brings many images to mind, one that might not be at the forefront is how attached these guys get to each other and how genuinely sad the 4 Weekers are to say goodbye to our first group of Mini campers. It was touching to see boys making a point of catching up for one last round of disc golf, setting meeting places/times to make sure they could spend the final choice period together, or just hanging together in the meal lines. We will miss our Mini I campers, they have been great!
Enjoy the pictures tonight, thanks for checking in, and we will see you back here tomorrow night.