Dear Parents & Friends,
Today was a very celebratory day at camp and the Tajar played a major role. It was the Tajar’s birthday. If you don’t know who the Tajar is let me give you a bit of background. Of all the animals in the forest, there is none so curious as the Tajar. The Tajar lives in a very special place. He lives in an old tree somewhere near the camp. If you were to see the Tajar, you would know that he is something very special. The Tajar looks a little something like a tiger and something like a jaguar and something like a badger, but he is different from all those animals. He would rather dance in the moonlight on a warm summer night than sleep in his tree. The Tajar is a very nice fellow. He is willing to listen to a story or help carry firewood but mostly in the presence of Mr. & Mrs. Camp Director and a few others. If you see the Tajar once, you will certainly forget what he looks like. If you see the Tajar twice , you may not remember what you forgot when you saw him. And if you see the Tajar three times, you will certainly become a friend of his. No one knows how old he is since he’s been living here well before camp began. And one more thing, the Tajar loves folly and that’s what we awoke to this morning coming down to breakfast. Tea cups were hanging from trees. Kayaks were out of the lake area. There was a truck parked in the middle of the path to the dining room and much more.
One of the Tajar’s favorite activities is tree climbing and our climbing staff was doing Arborist climbing today. You’ll see some pics from that activity and it’s a blast. Can you imagine climbing on a rope to near the top of a huge tree. You feel like you have super powers. It’s not easy getting there and one really has to focus on the skills involved. Be sure and check out the Arborist trees when you arrive on Sunday. They are the two big poplar trees right across from the office.
As we wind down for the session there have been some beautiful creations coming from arts and crafts. The group that was weaving removed their final product from the looms and made bags from the weaving work they did. You can see some of these in the pictures. Be sure and check out the looms in Shady Grove if your child gives you a tour. Campers were also glazing pots as the final part of prep before the clay goes into the kiln today and tomorrow. Whistles, wall pockets and a host of other things will be going home.
On a more outdoor note our canoer’s were learning about turning over and performing a “T” rescue where you can actually empty a water filled boat using an floating upright boat. It’s a good skill to have on the lake but is never used on the river. I went on a short river trip today with our Main Camp Kayakers to section 0 of the French Broad. With all the rain we’ve been having it was moving and these folks were sufficiently challenged. We had six campers on the trip and 2 staff plus yours truly to video tape and shoot a few pics. The crew performed eddy turns, peel outs, and ferry’s. A few of them even tried an S turn which is tough. Perfect water conditions and just a sprinkle of rain from the skies.
Despite the wet weather those bikers keep on biking. They were out today and rode most of our single track here at camp. Our trails are not that easy for some of our younger campers but these guys were building on previous skills acquired earlier in the week. I think I mentioned that some went on an out of camp trip yesterday to Dupont State Forest.
Those who wanted to get wetter today went to Connesstee Falls today and swam in the waterfall. It’s a spectacular part of our property and is at the top end of our land. It takes about and hour and a half to creek hike there and only about 35 minutes to walk via the trail. The creek hike is more fun. Another long journey on camp property is the hike to the “Rock” which is near the top of the property. You can see all the way to Mt. Pisgah and up on top of the Parkway. It’s a great hike with some thrilling places that you have to hand over hand rope climb because of the steep terrain.
Tonight was Tajar Ball and usually we eat outdoors but it sprinkled and thundered a little too much for our tastes so we had some of the Ball indoors and some outdoors. It was a great evening with all kinds of games going on almost until dark. Hayrides, ice cream, popcorn, and other treats punctuated a burger and hot dog dinner complete with the trimmings including our farm grown watermelon. Everyone was dressed in costume and you couldn’t really tell who was who. There were firemen, nurses, fairies, Romans, Men in Black, Princesses, heroes and heroines, Olympic stars, and of course the Tajar was there. He always comes in costume but since we’re all dressed up know one can really recognize him. There was also a puppet show after the ball. It was funny and very creative.
For those parents who have Mountainsiders and Riversiders, they are all home safe and sound. We’ll see them around Main Camp tomorrow as they come back to eat at our dining tables. They all dodged rain drops and had great adventures while out of the nest. We only have one more full day and then our summer is over. There’s been a lot said about teaching gratitude in our society of late. We’re a very blessed nation and we have much to be thankful for. I’m feeling thankful for the fact you’ve sent your children to be in our trust for the past week(s). And I’m thankful to be able to work in this environment where I’m surrounded by laughter, the simple joys of childhood and hope for the future with these children as they grow and learn. Camp is a wonderful place to be whether you’re 6 or 60. And Gwynn Valley is that place! Stay tuned!