In The Stretch
July 26, 2016 by Dan Noland
The last week of camp is always a bit bittersweet. Not that things have slowed down! Well before breakfast, a group of climbers left for a three-day trip Hidden Valley. I’d explain where that wonderful sandstone band cliff is, but it’s hidden. These advanced climbers won’t be back until supper on Thursday, and we pack up the next afternoon. The youngest guys took their mountain bikes out for an entire morning at Guion Farm, in DuPont. This evening the second group of Upper Seniors went on their special evening golf event. Much trash talking will follow them back to camp, I’m certain. The last age group went out on chill night, and the Connestee boys are on their cabin overnight.
A two-day hike came back this afternoon from a place that a day hike also explored today: the Black Balsam/Tennent Mountain/Shining Rock Wilderness area. It may well be the most beautiful place on Earth! Not many places in the East get above the tree line, but hiking up to Black Balsam quickly leaves the stunted spruce and fir behind. The ridge is narrow enough to allow for open views in every direction and high enough (often over 6000’) for the most distant ridges to disappear softly at the edge of sight.
There’s always a cool, clear wind. Always birdsong galore. In the valleys, cold streams flow clearly over boulders and pebbles. If you have never been there, it’s only a short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to You probably know that it has been a hot summer here, if not as hot as where you are. Today we had a respite. As we ate lunch, clouds gathered. As we went to rest hour, they darkened. Then, after an impressive crash or two, the rain came. Then it got harder…and harder…and harder. The temperature dropped by twenty degrees in a few minutes. It kept falling long enough that we had to postpone the end-of- rest hour bell– for an hour. Much welcome extra sleeping went on then, many groggy heads emerged a bit before four, and everyone went back rested and happy to having fun.
As a reminder, you can still purchase a photo drive of all the pictures taken this session for $35.00. You can pre-order it if you have not already, just email Mirenda at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will have it ready for closing day.
We only have three camp days left, but we’re going to pack as much of that fun in as we possibly can. The katydids are in full song now, the air has mellowed some: We’ll sleep well!