Paddling & Biking Video


Parents & Friends,

This is video taken two days ago on the French Broad and also at Dupont State Park.  Our Main Camp campers were involved in trips that day and we had a group of canoers and kayakers go out that day as well as a group of mountain bikers that afternoon.  Everyone had a great time and hope you enjoy the short clip.   Sorry about the lack of camera focus.  It’s hard to teach and coach while filming.

We had 8 canoers and 5 kayakers go with us on Wed. to the French Broad several miles away in the community Pisgah Forest.  Everyone did great.  This is a good beginner section of the river but it starts off with a bang which can intimidate people.  Several of kayakers did go over but self rescued and got back on that horse.  None of the canoers turned over but came close.  We stayed at the first rapid working on ferrying, which is moving the boat from one side of the river to the other while facing upstream.  It’s all about boat angle and keeping that angle correct in relationship with the current.  The faster the current the less the angle you need.  The slower the current the more angle you need to cross from one side to the other.  We also taught river swimming even though some of them got experience before we reached that point of the trip.  In a safety talk you always discuss swim position if you either wet exit a kayak or turn over in your canoe.  This section has a great place with a big sandy beach to teach river swimming.  It also the confluence of the Davidson River and the French Broad.  The Davidson is fast, clean and cold flowing right out of Pisgah National Forest while the FB meanders throughout the valley in slow fashion on its way to Asheville.  We spent several hours working on ferrying, some peelouts and eddy turns at various point downstream.

In the evening I went on a Main Camp mountain biking trip to Dupont State Forest and left just after dinner with the group.  This area also happens to be where the Mountainside Bikers are.  We saw their campsite, gave them a yell, and kept riding.  One of my favorite trails in Dupont is Ridge Line which forms a loop with Jim Branch trail.  You ride up Jim Branch and at the half way point you come out at a place called Gion Farm.  There is a great little trials area there with some obstacles to ride like a see-saw, several skinnies (logs flat on top to ride on) and other fun things for kids and big kids and this is a short clip in the video.  The ride down Ridge Line is like a 2 mile long roller coaster with lots of dips, turns, and banks on a single track trail.  It’s a blast and the campers loved it.  We made it back to camp just at dark, grabbed a couple of left over cookies from the kitchen and sent them off to bed.  We did miss the Aussie theme campfire tonight but riding Ridge Line in the cool of evening was too good to pass up.




B Session


Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s been a great day at camp and we just finished campfire with Brookside.   We’ve finished up our Discovery week today.  Tomorrow is “special day” and we’ll keep you posted on that.  Tomorrow is also a free day from program when our activity heads take time off.  Tonight at campfire we did a switch a roo with our campfire on Thurs. when half the camp went to the pool after supper and the other half danced and heard stories.  The dances and stories were appropriate to the age each evening.  Tonight we danced the Paddy Cake Polka, a Virginia Reel, and the Gay Gordon.  We then settled back for a couple of Tajar Tales and the story of Jumping Mouse.  I really believe that “children of all ages” love to be read to.  I was quite surprised to see how attentive Brookside was to the stories we read.  It was a nice way to end the evening.

Great food today at camp starting with breakfast all the way through dinner.  Breakfast was eggs and sausage, fruit, cereal, biscuits and of course all the trimmings.  Lunch was mac and cheese with fresh green beans from the farm, cabbage from the farm, and fruit.  Dinner was meat loaf, salad, roasted potatoes, and brownies.  A very child friendly day at the table.

Next week we’ll go to full “sign ups” all week long and campers will be able to do a variety of activities each day.  The farm is in full production with lots of fresh vegetables that are being picked each day.  From farm to table is just the norm around here.  I ask you what grocer can make that claim and guarantee such a fresh product.  If you’ve ever read Barbara Kingssolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I think she would like Gwynn Valley’s farm and mill program.  I eat most any kind of food and I realize how healthy our diet is during the summer when camp is going on.  There are always fresh vegetables on the table with almost no pesticides or herbicides.  Our beef is all free range and even though we don’t eat our chickens or pigs they have a pretty good life with all the attention they receive.  We don’t produce enough eggs in the summer to consume those but you can bet we do in the off season.  My kids love to collect eggs at the hen house.  The Farm is a special place and Dale our site manager has done an outstanding job there through the years.  Cindy at the Mill, has taken that program area to a whole different level and does an incredible job each summer.  Besides creating the program at the Mill, she has literally taken the campers back in time with all the accoutrements from that 1890’s era.  Cindy is a teacher in Spartanburg, SC during the school year.  It’s staff like these that make Gwynn Valley.

Mountainside and Riverside will soon be departing for their adventures.  The children on MS chose their adventures tonight and staff will meet tomorrow morning to hash out all the choices and go over the groups.  Riverside leaves tomorrow morning for their Backpacking adventure.  They are heading up into Pisgah and will be on the Art Loeb Trail headed toward the Parkway gradually climbing as they go upward to and end of just over 6000 feet in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area.  If you’ve never been up to this area, there is an easy hike you can do even with small children that located just off the Parkway.  You walk up a portion of the Mountains to Sea / Art Loeb Trail and on a clear day can view a good bit of southern Pisgah National Forest and see as far east and north as Mt. Mitchell, highest point in the east.  There are so many wonderful places just nearby.

Don’t hesitate to call us if you’re up this way during the off season.  We’d love to recommend a hike or bike trail for your family.  Stay tuned for more on their adventures tomorrow!