Dear Parents and Friends,
It is amazing how you can plan, but it seems there’s always something that changes your plans. The weather has been that factor all summer as we’ve experienced lots of rain. Today’s prediction was rain by 2:00 this afternoon. It rained a good bit throughout the night while we were sleeping and we even cancelled a climbing trip because of the rain that never came today. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining!) Paddlers did get to go out today and visited the upper French Broad where the North, Middle and East Fork all come together to make the French Broad. It is one of the few rivers in our area that flows north into the Tennessee, Ohio and then into the Mississippi. Let’s see, that water we were on today should make it to New Orleans ……. One of these days I’m going to figure that out. We were talking about that on the way to the river today. The Main Camp kayakers got their first taste of moving water today. With record rainfall everything is moving pretty quickly. We had several boats go over learning to lean the proper way when crossing current but as taught, everyone did a good job of wet exiting which is essential. We don’t bother teaching rolling unless the paddler is very advanced. Eventually everyone has to wet exit, so it’s a skill that we all need to learn. The group did some ferrying and peel-outs in some pretty fast current and transitioning from the calm lake water was quite different.
This morning I stopped by Shady Grove to check out the progress the “felters” were making as they rolled their felt with their feet and compressed the fibers together and blended the colors. It’s an interesting process. Just down the road at Yanderside, the artists were making marbled scarves which were very nice. I watch as they formed the colors in a long wooden vat and then laid the material in the vat to absorb the colors. Yet another interesting process! Today was the end of Discovery Week, so there was a flurry of activity in all areas of camp. The Mill was fishing, cooking grinding and just having fun. I sampled a Johnny Cake or two while there and they were delicious. I didn’t add extra butter or jam but I’ll bet that made it even better. The camper grinding corn had several different grinders at their disposal. Old timey hand cranked were the most popular, but my favorite is the stone you turn with your hands and frankly you would have to see it.
Archery had a full compliment of folks this morning as well. I was passing by and also watching Mountainside at the Archery Range throwing tomahawks, yes tomahawks. It’s something one of our staff brought to camp several years ago and it’s very popular. We have two sizes and it’s not that easy to stick them in a slice of a tree that act as targets. This tree is long dead and has been cut and placed on a post that is movable. It’s a lot of fun and it might be the only chance a young person might ever have the chance to handle such a thing, much less throw it at a target. Main Camp got in on some tomahawk throwing this afternoon. Something else showed up in our pics that you might have seen is “tea in the tree”. Our arborist climbers sampled tea as they were climbing trees today. Don’t ask me how they got it up there. I just heard about it and didn’t witness it live.
GV Rescue went to a 20 yard long section of our own Carson Creek today to practice their rescues in moving water by throwing ropes to “victims”. This is a good skill to learn if you’re ever faced with a situation where one has to rescue a person who is in distress in water. I think they enjoyed just playing in the swift moving current. Everyone had PFD’s on and it was quite enjoyable. Mountainside girls were nearby working on some initiatives and one in particular while I was there is called the A Frame. It’s a giant A made of treated wood and is held up by 10 ropes about 20 ft. long. The idea is to the A up on its two legs and make it walk. You can ask a Mountainsider how that’s possible. Everyone loves stunts and games and our Tension Traverse over the lake is no exception. It’s very difficult but doable. Not many campers make it all the way across but many try it. My theory is not everything can be accomplished at camp and it’s ok to fail as long as we try again. We had several kayakers turn over more than once today and that shows grit and resilience for the future. These are great things that camp can teach. Camp is the simple joys of childhood first and foremost but with so many other things thrown in. Stay tuned!