Chasing Raindrops!

Dear Parents & Friends,

My guess is most of you have been watching our weather the past couple of days.  Well, we’ve faired very well and didn’t let a little rain stop us from carrying on here at GV.  It rained, drizzled and spat off and on all day long.  Programs went on as planned including several hikes to The Rock which is always a “high” light.  The view wasn’t very good today and it was even hard to see our lake but we had fun getting there which is a challenge.  It’s uphill all the way and the last bit utilizes ropes to hold onto and pulling oneself up some steep roots and rocks.  It’s well worth the climb and especially so on a clear day.

There was a fire going in the Pavilion most all day as campers came from swimming and boating to warm themselves and chase the goosebumps away.  Tonight the Young Leaders were gathered there sampling the cobbler they each made separately with the kitchen.  I sampled some and it was delicious.

Mountainside had a training day today and at least one group ended up doing a bit of hiking instead of climbing.  The climbers met with rain almost halfway up the trail to the Glass this morning.  There was no dry rock to be found.  The hikers hiked, the paddlers went to section 0 of the French Broad, the Earth Skillers skilled on their little tract of land on the camp property and the bikers got very familiar with our trails here instead of going out of camp.

You might say that it was a good day to curl up and read a book but not here at GV.  That would not fit our philosophy that Mary Gwynn created many years ago, which was “do something difficult every day”.  That something might be different for everyone.  Camp is a place where you can really stretch your legs and failure is certainly an option.  It’s ok to struggle a bit here in our camp world.  You get lots of chances to recreate whatever it was you were doing.  Sometimes that involves recreating yourself and learning about yourself more fully and honestly.  There’s a big support system here and it’s in place to help campers step up to the next level.  Camp is a great place to build resilience and confidence.  You don’t have to make it to the top of wall but we would like to see you go higher or at least try harder than you did the time before.  Encouragement from peers and our staff enables campers to do some great things on their own.  Outcomes are important and we want those outcomes to be building blocks for the future.

So enough of that because we had so much FUN tonight at Tajar Ball.  Usually, it’s held on the Athletic Field but with the unpredictable weather, we held some events indoors and out.  There were all kinds of games there plus and an appetizing array of dessert.  Our meal was cookout style with dogs, burgers, beans, chips, cole slaw, and watermelon.  Music played and people paraded and danced and went on hayrides and tried all kinds of creative challenges.   The rain held off and we ended about 8:40 tonight and then everyone was off to the cabin.  Tomorrow will be a full day and we are expecting some more rainfall.  We will do our best to chase those raindrops away.  Send us some sunny skies and we will see you in two days.  Stay tuned!

PS Having a little trouble with internet tonight so no pics!

Bikes, Boating, & Climbing Beta!

Dear Parents & Friends,

We had a great day on the Tuck today with Riverside.  Leaving camp this morning it had started to rain a bit but there was patchy sun throughout the day except for lunch.  Our day on the Tuck was the same and it only started to rain once we got off the river.  Everyone learned a lot today and the water level on the river was perfect.  They are headed back to the same section tomorrow to beef up the skills they learned today.  We’re expecting more rain tomorrow but one does not notice it while you’re on the river surrounded by water.  I think most of the group saw a Bald Eagle today just above Railroad Rapid.  I missed the sighting because I had gone ahead to set up for some video shots as they came through the rapid.  The Eagle sighting location is also just a few steps away from where an old  Harrison Ford movie was shot called “The Fugitive”.  There’s a train collision scene where he escapes and the train still sits there today.

We had lunch on the river at the bottom of Railroad Rapid on a huge rock that sits in the middle of the river.  Just below Railroad is 1st Hole, 2nd Hole, Moonshot, Double Drop, Snicker’s Challenge, Sling Shot, Surprise Hole, and Sharkstooth.  The Tuck has a lot of action and it’s certainly not boring.  Only two boats went over today.  One at Snicker’s and pillow in the river just jumped up near the end of the day.  Wish I could go tomorrow because I’m sure everyone will hone their skills even more.  We also got to partake of Jump Rock which is about a 15-foot jump from a rock into the river.   It’s very deep and we always stop there for the experience.

Bikers in Main Camp also went out today utilizing the trails of Dupont State Forest.  They started at Fawn Lake biked a big loop around that end of the Forest.  Over 100 miles of single track is designated there.  It’s a great place to ride and also another site where several movies were filmed; “The Hunger Games” and “Last of the Mohicans”.  Everyone did well according to Zach and staff with lots of up and down to balance things out.

Main Camp Climbers walked to the base of Looking Glass today and got in several climbs before being run off by rain.  Looking Glass is a giant granite plug that has eroded away over the to expose some smooth rock with eyebrows or horizontal cracks that etch its surface.  Some are small with only room for fingers and toes and others are much larger.  It looks as though smooth lava ran down the surface to form them.  The view from the Glass is terrific and once campers climb above the trees the heavens and miles in many directions just open up.

These trips out of camp really build confidence and take on us amazing journey’s that are so different from our city lives.  We get to experience wilderness in its rawness and ever-changing beauty.  Understanding the power of the river and the ways to harness it comes slowly but creates a respect that is lifelong.  The size of the rock and its massive expanse is intimidating and warm to touch on a sunny day.  We explore its grainy, grooved features to find just the slightest edge to place our feet and grasp with our hands as we inchworm up its side.  And biking is a balance, shifting gears and our weight over the bike to carry us over rocks, roots and uneven ground that we only thought was possible by foot.  With peddles in the “attack” position, speed is not always your friend but quick judgment and scanning 15 feet out to where the track is best suited for the next revolution of the tire.

Campers come back from these trips changed and you can see it in their eyes.  It’s always good to come home, have a hot meal and be a part of getting ready for the next adventure.  Stay tuned!