August 5, 2017 by Don Gentle
It really is the only true Saturday of the session. Next Saturday we will see all of you back here to listen to all the wonderful events of the session. My Saturday morning started early. I have been part of a tradition of camp directors that assist with Saturday morning breakfast, namely pancakes. Those before me have all taken the charge and the torch has been passed on to me. I made my way up to the kitchen bright and early. It was a cool 60 degrees again with a really cool fog coming off the lake.
We are actually quite fortunate to have two trained chefs on the kitchen staff this year. Nathan Noland is heading up the kitchen for his first year. He has worked in the kitchen in the past and has now taken the lead. Nate trained here in Asheville and went on to intern at Eseeola Lodge in Linville, North Carolina. We have enjoyed some excellent dishes this summer so far. Our second person, a long time friend and past High Rocks kitchen manager, Bill Gryder has stepped in to help us out in the afternoons and weekends. Bill has worked all around the area, including many years at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville.
Now let’s get back to the story. As I was saying. I have taken the torch (or spatula) and continued the pancake duty…sort of… This morning walked in as Bill was finishing up the made from scratch buttermilk pancake mix, just as he was adding the four gallons of buttermilk into the mix. I assisted a bit, but I soon realized my hand was better used to cook up the 30 sheet pans of thick-sliced bacon. So while Bill flipped about 500 pancakes, I just cycled the bacon. Not a bad job if you love bacon :)… We made way more cakes than we needed, but I would rather have too many than not enough. Pancakes, bacon, hash browns, cereal, and fresh fruit. It certainly was a great way to start the day!
Rock Climbing at High Rocks is one of our most popular activities. Like all of our activities, climbing follows a very purposeful progression. The boys all learn how to put on their harness and helmet. They learn the knots, safety calls, and rules. Finally, they get right to the climbing on our 50-foot tower. Our tower has six different sides, each with different features and difficulty. The focus of the program is to get them out on real rock. We have numerous locations locally right in Pisgah National Forest. We also make use of several other climbing locations within the state and local areas. During their lessons at the tower, they learn all sort of techniques and maneuvers to help them get up the tower or rock. They will also learn how to rappel down a rope from the top and learn how to ascend the rope. The oldest age group of boys in the longer sessions even learn how to belay. We also have an 800 square foot bouldering cave where boys learn very difficult moves at lower levels. It is a good way to build strength and learn new techniques. Lead by qualified staff, the program offers all sorts of challenges and adventures for multiple years. Today the boys enjoyed a fun game of “caving climb.” Just for fun, we turn out the lights in the bouldering cave and let the guys climb with their headlamps. It makes for some fun pictures too.
Over at hiking, the boys enjoyed “car camping day.” Picture your typical drive-in campground complete with lawn games, a campfire, hot dogs roasting on a stick, and the “hillbilly hot tub.” The “hot tub” pictures are excellent and should help explain what I am talking about. All the boys enjoyed the themed event.
This afternoon’s choice period included the usual disc golf, free swim, paddle boards, canoeing, fishing, giant and standard four-square, ping pong, fuse-ball, gaga ball, tennis, AND Barley washing. A group of boys met me on the front lawn of the camp house to help wash my dog, Barley. He was a good pup and did very well with all the boys. Best of all, he doesn’t smell like a dirty wet towel anymore.
Our evening was even more spectacular! The wonderful high pressure made for a cool and dry evening on the lawn for dinner. We enjoyed our own personally made deli sandwiches, chips, cookies, and a coke. It was like a big picnic with friends. The boys were sippin’ sodas as they laughed and enjoyed the cool breeze. Of course, some guys couldn’t sit still so they made up games with the plates and empty soda cans. Quite hilarious! After dinner, we cleaned up our mess and headed into our evening programs.
This evening’s age-group activities:
- Hillside, Connestee, and Lakeside: Games in the Gym
- Foxhollow and Holiday: Games on the Cabin Field
- Chalet and Flattop: Waterslide and Rope Swing
- Outpost, Sprucepine: Games on the Soccer Field
- Halfway and Lookout: Games on the Activity Field
My all time favorite part of today was when I was heading back to the camp house after snack. I heard a group singing across the lake. As I got closer, I could see them on the fishing dock as they were signing the national anthem. The whole of the Outpost cabin was having a toothbrush party on the fishing dock.
It sure has been a great first week! I can’t wait to tell you more tomorrow!
All the best,