International Day Celebration for Spain, Columbia, Mexico and the Netherlands!

Dear Parents & Friends,

We celebrated International Day here at camp.  Four countries were represented: Mexico, Spain, Columbia, and the Netherlands.  Food today has been out of this world with foods from all four countries.  Breakfast started us off with huevos chorizo, (scrambled eggs), Tamales wrapped in corn husks, Plantanos Fritos (Fried Plantains), and hot cocoa.

I needed to get out to work that breakfast off, so I spent time at Arborist climbing.  They tackle our two giant poplar trees right in front of the Gatehouse.  Instead of climbing the tree, you climb the rope connected to the tree.  This method is used by an arborist, so as not to harm the tree.  It’s challenging and fulfilling as you slowly inch your way up the rope.  We don’t use mechanical ascenders, but knots called the distal hitch, which grabs the rope under pressure and releases when not under pressure.  There’s a safety belay for this, so never fear.

On the water side of things today our kayakers went to the Green today to tackle the mighty rapids of Big Corky, Little Nantahala, The Ledges, and Sunday Ledge or Surfer’s Paradise.  Lake paddling transition to the river can be challenging and everyone really grew from the experience.  Several boats went over and it was good that the group spent some time working on T rescues and other self-help techniques if one has to wet exit.  Time was spent learning to ferry, peel out and enter eddy’s which is essential on any form of moving water.  The Green River is a great river to start on and has a forgiving pool at the end of challenging sections.

The Mill was preparing to make Johnny Cakes this morning and they were in the midst of that when I followed the horseback crew up the trails to get some footage of them riding in our shady forest land.  They were following one of our single track trails that run up near the top of our property on the NE side.  It was fun to see our riders using a trail that traditionally is used by the bikers.  It’s a steady climb and then an equally steady descent.  Our advanced riders got to take advantage of this and they deserve it.

I visited with the weavers on the way back.  They were working with plain strips of cloth that they thread through their weaving to give it a look that you will see at pickup on Friday.  If you meet Pamela or Tamara, ask about this technique that they started this year.  It’s simple and very creative and also beautiful.

Creek hiking went out twice today – once this morning with younger campers and once this afternoon with those who went the distance all the way to Connestee Falls.  It’s a spectacular creek hike because you’re in the creek the whole time and culminates at the Falls.  There are several swimming holes along the way to cool off in.  It was a hot morning so the pool was a welcome relief.  Every creek hike emphasizes three points of contact with the stream surface because rocks and water can be a little slippery.  I love going on creek hikes because it makes you feel like you’re in deepest Pisgah and there could be a giant hellbender just at your feet.  We’ve seen them before and know they are there.  If you’ve never seen one, they are just a giant salamander and quite ancient looking.  They live in most of our large and rocky cold water streams here in WNC.

Mountainside and Riverside will be finishing up their adventures tomorrow and coming home tomorrow afternoon.  No news is good news from them.  They will be walking out, riding their last ride, climbing their last climb, paddling their last river tomorrow and hopefully starting a fire by friction in our damp environs.  By this time tomorrow night, they will have showered and ready for our traditional Tajar Ball.  Can’t wait to have them back in camp.  They will have stories to tell.

We had a brief shower just before dinner tonight and it really cooled things off.  Dinner fare celebrated Holland and we had sausages with mashed potatoes and carrots, green peas, salad, mustard, cheese for the potatoes and a delicious dessert that I can’t remember what it was called.  It was delicious, none the less.    It’s nice to celebrate our different nationalities each week here at camp.  I always learn so much from our international staff.  Stay Tuned!