Dear Parents & Friends,
As you can see from the photos and video from yesterday, we barely scratched the surface of creek hiking. We were just offering a teaser to our wonderful creek that flows through the middle of GV. The photos you see today come from the rest of the creek hike but with a different group. We only had a hour for yesterday’s foray into that part of camp. It usually takes about 2 hours to creek hike to the the falls. We went about half way yesterday and actually put on the creek a little farther down than we usually do. The falls are so much fun because the pools are deep enough to really swim in. It’s an easy hike on the way back and you follow the trail all the way into camp. It passes by several camp out shelters and follows one of our mountain bike trails at the beginning. I sometimes have to pinch myself to realize that we have that kind of beauty on the property. Coming back yesterday we found a fairy land that the web of life little folks (campers) had built several days ago. We’ll try and get some pics of the village they put together.
Those who chose to stay a bit closer to camp today participated in a number of activities and with the good weather there was so much to do. Basketeers (if that’s a word) were weaving beautiful baskets with Tamara at the helm. She is one of our arts & crafts gurus here at camp and is responsible for many of the beautiful things that come home with your children. Going to the Mill is like stepping back in time. Our Mill was built and started in 1890. All the work on the mill race was hand dug which carries the water from the creek to the mill. It’s over a quarter of a mile and is just a narrow channel that carries creek water all the way to the mill. The last 30 feet is made of wood and all the Hillsiders walk under each day to come down to Main Camp. When you come to the Mill you encounter what life was like in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. We have toys at the mill that would have entertained children from that era and they are not even close to being a gameboy. Catching fish, cooking over an open fire, making ice cream from the mill power, and milling itself all seem to overpower any urge to play on a small screen. The simple joys of childhood then and now at the Mill. From the raw corn you see in the photos comes grits, corn meal and tortilla flour and chicken feed. There’s little wasted as it was many years ago.
In our morning sign-ups children who have taken kayaking have learned to know what it is like to be upside down in a kayak. Not every child is comfortable with that. Usually we figure that out pretty quickly as we ask them to learn to wet exit first without a spray skirt and then with a skirt. For some it’s a challenge. Others go on and learn to roll while they are at camp but it’s a small percentage. We hope to do a short river trip with those who feel comfortable in the boat and have shown prowess on the lake. We’re hoping to revise that program a bit next summer and maybe the whole paddling program. Those in pottery today made baby animals. They were feeling the pressure from those who go to the farm and visit with all the babies down there. Actually they’re getting pretty big. Pottery is a way to take home a baby animal. Some of the campers were trying their luck on the wheel today. It’s a skill that I’ve never been able to succeed in. It takes a lot of practice. Look for cabin photos that will be taken starting today.
Mountainside went out on their adventures yesterday and they’re into their second day of biking, paddling, backpacking, and climbing. The bikers are at Dupont State Forest where there are over a 100 miles of mountain biking trails. The climbers are in Linville Gorge and if you’ve never been there, it’s spectacular. It’s vast and reminds me of a few places out west. Paddlers were on the Green River today and will head to the Tuck tomorrow over near Dillsboro, NC. The backpackers/pioneers are up in Pisgah around Graveyard Fields near Shining Rock Wilderness area and one of my favorite areas with vistas. On a clear day you can see right down in our valley and all the way to Mt. Mitchell to the east and the Smokies to the west. Riverside is backpacking as well and is not far from camp hiking on the Mountains to Sea trail. There’s a lot going on at camp and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll do our best to keep you posted. Stay tuned!