First Day of Discovery and Cruising at 6000′ !

Dear Parents & Friends,

What a day here at GV.  The weather started out beautifully this morning as we held our first day of Discovery.  Campers were discovering so many new things and enjoying time well spent with our staff while learning and stretching themselves.  Miss Mary Gwynn, who founded the camp in 1935, said: “do something difficult every day!”  We do stretch ourselves and it’s always fun to do with new friends to share these experiences with.  In our photos, you will notice campers climbing on our wall, turning hot metal into objects of usefulness (is that a word?), horseback riding, swimming, mountain biking, creating all kinds of crafts, milking and feeding cows, visiting the baby piglets, picking veggies, and tonight even doing a little mountain dancing in the Lodge.

I spent most of my morning driving Mountainside Backpackers and Riverside Backpackers up to the top of the world near Black Balsam where they both began their treks in opposite directions.  Riverside was heading south on the Art Loeb Trail and Mountainside was heading east on the Mountains to Sea Trail.  They both climbed up toward Black Balsam where I caught up with Riverside for some GVTV video and a few stills.  If you’ve never been to that part of our world, it’s a must see.  It was 10 degrees cooler but since you’re over 6000 feet the sun is very intense and warm.  You have to wear a lot of sunscreen as the air is a little thinner.  Here at camp, we’re at 2,200 feet so that’s a 3,800-foot difference.  It was a beautiful morning and a great beginning to the afternoon as I came off the mountain around one o’clock.

All of Mountainside and Riverside headed out for adventures today and each covering many points of the compass.  Bikers went to Dupont State Forest to ride the rock and rolling single track.  Climbers headed over to Rumbling Bald for their first day and we hope they didn’t hear any rumbling from the sky.  Earth Skills claimed their Wolf Den basecamp not too far from Dupont Forest.  The paddlers went to the mighty Green River just near Saluda to harness their river’s energy to their benefit.

Coming back to camp after lunch I walked in on a birthday celebration in progress and yes we certainly celebrate birthdays here with cake and song and good friends around the table.  As the afternoon progressed we were interrupted by some thunder here and there.  We have our Thorguard which alerts us to any lightening in our area and we did have a brief period today when Thor did go off.  Everyone took shelter and in a little while it cleared with three loud blasts and everyone resumed normal activities.  Thor measures lightening 12 miles out from camp and sends a 15-second blast that everyone hears.  It was a great investment and takes the human guesswork right out of the equation.

Dinner tonight was some of the best chicken I’ve had all summer and side dishes included fresh salad, beans, and carrots as well as fresh corn on the cob and freshly baked bread all from our own kitchen and our garden.  Slather some butter on that bread and you’ve got yourself a tasty meal.  You can’t buy food like that.   Traditionally after supper games went as planned with Thunderball, Basketball, hula hoops, Tajar Spotting, Friendship Bracelets, Wiffle Ball, Soccer, and host of other games and things to do.

Hillside campers who weren’t camping out tonight joined me and Debbie in the Lodge for a little Mountain Dancing.  We started off with a bit of Hokey Pokey and then onto Bluebird and two Russian Folkdances called Minushka and Sasha.  We finished with a dance called “Going to Kentucky”.  All were lively and I’m sure helped to send those Hillsider’s off to dreamland in a hurry.  It’s a cool night here and the kind where you need a little cover to take the chill out and snuggle down in your camp bed.  Sweet dreams and looking forward to another active day at Gwynn Valley.  Stay tuned!