Dear Parents & Friends,
Session E is off to a great start with another great day here at GV. Today was a special day for Mountainside and Riverside as they left on their adventures. All groups were out of camp by about 10 this morning, all heading off into different and diverse directions. The MS climbers are spending the next few days in Linville Gorge which is a beautiful part of our state just north of Morganton. It’s one of the deepest gorges in the east and has some spectacular climbs and vistas. Bikers headed over to Dupont State Forest outfitted with over a hundred miles of single track trails for those who ride the knobbies. Hikers were dropped off just near Black Balsam which is over 6000 feet and will slowly wind their way back into our backyard of Pisgah crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway and peaks like Pilot Mtn. and coves like Farlow Gap. Their ultimate destination will be the Ranger Station just near the entrance to Pisgah. Paddlers will be fighting our long summer drought of not having much water this year but relying on the Tuck, Nantahala and maybe the Green in their time just above the waterline. I shouldn’t complain about rain but we do need some but it will be too little as our adventure seeks the frothy white stuff. We’re scheduled to get a little rain on Thurs. at this point and I think it would be a welcome relief. Riverside headed out to hike on the east side of Pisgah today leaving from Turkey Pen Gap and following the historical route of the South Mills River and which meanders from the Pink Beds area and then up toward the Parkway culminating at Mtn. Pisgah. This area is known for such places as Cantrell Creek Lodge and Otter Hole.
Back in Main Camp we had our “B” Discovery Day and it couldn’t have been better. The Mill was cranking out corn meal and grits for our Kitchen to use as well as making small batches of ice cream for the upcoming Tajar Ball on Friday. All this is done with water power which comes from Carson Creek running through the middle of camp. The Mill was built in 1890 and while it doesn’t utilize the original wheel or mill stones, the remnants from the old building are there and have been revamped through the years. I have an old piece of chestnut that came from under the Mill and is now a part of our mantle piece at home. Our small cove has always been active from Native American times to now. The Green where children gather each day for games and activities, was once a terraced corn field. Some aspects of camp escape time and progress and it’s fun and interesting to introduce these old time ways to campers.
Camp does capture the old and we also embrace the new with such sophisticated crafts like shabori scarves which campers were making today. Twisting the cloth around a pvc pipe and coloring the cloth using dye, they create intricate patterns on the material that will be unveiled when the scarves are washed and dried. Campers were making wind chimes in pottery today and some trying their hands at throwing on the wheel. Climbers and bikers were testing themselves with balance and coordination today climbing the tower and navigating the skills areas and single track on camp property. On these hot days it’s always fun to be part of the waterfront whether it’s pool, lake, creek hiking or tubing. Standup paddle boarders were getting their sea legs today and they learned about steering and control of the board with one paddle. Kayakers have the advantage of two blades instead of one and you know what they say, “twice the blade and half the man”. Creek hikers paid visits to Connestee Falls today via the creek route and the trail route. Near the top of our property there’s a great place to swim and soak up the stream as it cascades over the falls and into Gwynn Valley land. Many campers through the years have made this a destination and its cool and clear water has been a great swimming hole that is perfect for a cabin group or mixed group of campers. The hike up gets you warmed up for a nice dip and the walk back through our forest is all downhill and an easy return from a great experience. It’s about a 30 to 40 minute hike depending on the age of the campers.
Many of our cabins went on campouts tonight to various points on the property. Our sites are mostly three sided wooden shelters that are up off the ground and either surrounded by forest and some on the banks of streams. There’s a campfire circle at each one and all dinners are cooked over that fire ring. As I write, about 70 plus children are experiencing maybe their first campout and all under a tin roof and three walls with the stars shining through the trees and the fire still smoldering after many s’mores. The rest of camp joined Debbie and me in the Lodge tonight for some Mountain Dancing and a Tajar Tale or two. We did the Hokey Pokey, Going to Kentucky, Shasha and the Paddy Cake Polka. RB our resident writer of the Tajar Tales, read a couple of stories as the day came to an end and we slowly made our way back to cabins.
Everyday is full at camp and there’s so much going on. Hopefully you’ll get to hear more when your camper arrives home. But… let’s not rush these days, they will soon go too fast. Stay tuned for more at GV!