What a Week!
July 15, 2016 by Woody Noland
The second Friday of the session was a seriously busy one as our Four Weekers wrapped up the first intensive tripping week and our Mini I guys put the finishing touches on their camp experience this year.
Older guys took a crack at the ropes course today with a mixture of Windswept and Outpost dangling on the wires fifty feet up. Though their years at camp have certainly increased their comfort zones, the high ropes can still offer moment of pause and the opportunity to push past nerves. Our staff do an excellent job of targeting the moments for each participant that allow a moment of self-reflection… something at a premium when camp life keeps them so engaged.
A climbing trip headed to Rumbling Bald for a warm day at the rock. One young man came back pumped because he had become the “shortest camper to have ever climbed the middle route” at the Bald. A cause for much oohing and ahhing in the dinner line. Canoers were gone quite early this morning for a full day on the Tuck with a mixture of open and closed boats allowing campers to proceed at their respective skill levels. The colder and deeper water of the Tuckaseegee is a fun step up from the Lower Green and the boys worked themselves to a nub. They piled out of the van in weary triumph and more than one head had wild hair from an impromptu nap on the ride home. Mountain bikers took a group of young campers to ride some of the introductory trails in Dupont and the trip was lucky enough to be accompanied by former director, Hank Birdsong. The campers loved getting a chance to know Hank and Hank loved the chance to stretch his legs and try to keep up with some of the young speedsters!
There was also a combined tennis and soccer trip that is always highly anticipated. A large number of guys hopped in a few vans a cruised to Illahee for an afternoon of co-ed soccer games, mixed doubles, and a refreshing soda to top the fun off before jetting back to camp in time for some delicious beef tips over rice with squash casserole and other fixins. Life at camp can be quite enviable and I know of one group that has had that realization brought firmly home over the week… our 5 day hikers.
The crew of exhausted, proud, stinky young men got back to camp late this afternoon. While everyone was excited to see them again, I did notice they were given wide berth until their gear had been cleaned and they had a crack at showers. Once refreshed, the guys enjoyed a bit of a hero’s welcome in the dining hall and very obviously enjoyed endless, hot food with helpful staff to handle the clean up. Stories were flying all over but some highlights were “surviving” the rainstorm on the first night, climbing 3000 feet in elevation while quoting standup comics, a memorable sunset at the top of Sam Knob, and a magical moment of stumbling onto an undiscovered field of ripe blueberries. The experience of spending five days in the wilderness with a small group of friends is powerful and noticeable in that even though tired, the hikers were immediately helping out the camp community again with dining hall clean up, working in the kitchen, and even throwing together an act for Skit Night tonight!
With our wonderful group of Mini campers finishing up tomorrow. I would like to say how much we enjoyed having their enthusiasm and curiosity in camp. They instantly found their respective places in camp and they will be missed by the staff and other campers. We certainly hope to see them all back next year and are excited for their parents to see them tomorrow morning and be regaled by all kinds of stories.
I hope you enjoy the pictures from today and we will see you all back here tomorrow evening!