Rain Is Good!

Dear Parents and Friends,

We finally got some relief with rain just before dinner tonight.  It really rained for almost two hours and is letting up as I write.  It’s been the hottest driest spring that I’ve seen in many years.  Usually this time of year is much cooler.  Asheville which is nearby, has set record high temperatures this week.  We’re lucky because we have shade, but the rain really helped cool things off.  With that rain came thunderstorms and I’m sure your children will tell you about our Thorguard system here.  It’s a lightening detection system that we’ve had for about 4 years.  It really takes the guess work out of trying to predict the weather.  When Thor goes off (15 second major horn blast) we get indoors.  We wait until it clears and that is signaled by three five second blasts.  It’s much more accurate than me or my staff sitting in front of a computer watching radar which is about 10 minutes behind what we’re experiencing.  It’s actually saved us time in the long run and used throughout the US by the NFL, Little League of America, many golf courses, multiple colleges and universities and many camps.  We’re doing our best to keep things safe.

I spent some time at horseback riding this morning watching Kerrie and Rachel and your children atop the noble beasts of the ring.  Horses are big and I’ve never been a fan.  My wife has ridden all her life and we used to own several horses.  It’s just not my cup of tea.  I’m always amazed how just a little pressure with the knee or foot and flick of the reins can control the animal.  It takes confidence to ride and many of these children were gaining that today as they walked and trotted around the ring.  Those with less experience had a leader with them and those with more were amazing.   They were working on balance, heels down and getting your bottom off the saddle.  It was ok to hold to the reins and the horses mane as they balanced.  I never knew that horses couldn’t feel when their mane was being pulled on unlike our own hair.  At camp we’re learning every day.

All activities were running wide open with campers continuing in their Discoveries and lots to choose from in the afternoon.  Web of Life was having some fun up in the Cabin in the Sky before they took off on their hunt for elusive GV critters. One of the best places to find salamanders and crawfish is under the Lodge.  There was a group under there yesterday and today.  It’s dark and the perfect place to undercover the giant grand daddy crawdad. Children were also creek hiking in Carson Creek today and enjoyed the cool water stepping cautiously from rock to rock as the sunlight and shade provided a backdrop overhead. The creek that runs the length of camp is one of our treasures that has endless possibilities for exploration.  All of camp’s water sources feed into it from the tiniest springs to the bigger creeks and come from all directions on the property.  Hiking up the creek through the many waterfalls makes you feel as though you could be in deepest depths of Pisgah National Forest, but you’re just a few minutes from Main Camp.  Creek hiking is a staple here and everyone learns to keep three points of contact when walking upstream over the big slippery rocks.

Tonight was our second campout night and several cabins had to cancel because of the rain.  It’s one thing to send campers out in a drizzle and get a fire going.  Tonight was a downpour for a while and it would have been next to impossible to get dinner cooked.  We also had thunder and lightening and we never want to present the outdoors at its scariest moments.  Children who have never slept “outdoors” before should have a good first experience and not one that leaves them with some doubt about camping. Also the natural noises that campers encounter out in the woods are closer and more distinct than they are in the cabins.  Those of us who live here and work here are used to the cacophony of crickets, frogs, peepers, birds and more at night.  For the child that lives in an air conditioned quiet home it’s quite different.  Campers I think get used to those sounds and soon it becomes part of the background.  Rain on the cabin tin roofs is pleasant unless it’s a downpour and then it’s loud.  The weather after bedtime looks good for sleeping tonight.  No rain and cooler.  Along with the sounds will be lightening bugs and we’ve seen a few already.

The rain should really pump up the garden and vegetables will be screaming to be picked.  We had fresh broccoli tonight from the farm.  Crops are a little behind with the lack of rain.

The week is beginning to fly by and it seems that the first couple of days went by very slowly and now everything is moving faster as the session progresses.  It’s hard to slow camp down but we do manage to do so.  Mealtime provides a relaxed time for good food and conversation at the table.  Conversations can range from what super power would you like to possess to what pets you have.  I like listening to children tell their own stories and watching their eyes light up in the process.  Another example of the simple joys at GV.  Stay tuned!