Dear Parents & Friends,
It’s been an incredibly beautiful day in the mountains. I was not at camp all day but coming back around dinner time tonight it was just perfect weather for being a camper at Gwynn Valley. I spent the day with one of our Mountainside groups paddling on the Tuckaseegee River. More on that later.
It’s the perfect night for a campout here at camp. For all of you new to GV, we have about 11 different campout shelters scattered around the camp. They are three-sided huts with a floor and up off the ground a foot or two. Each site has a fire ring and each shelter can fit a whole cabin. Some are next to creeks and others are just around the corner from camp and ”downtown GV”. All are quite primitive, and you can’t really tell that you’re nearby and for all intents and purposes, one could be on a million acres in Pisgah National Forest. They are the perfect place to spend your first night out and many of our campers have never camped out before. The groups always take dinner with them and cook over an open fire. With not a raindrop in sight today – it was perfect for outdoor cookery. Island Ford, Peter Pan, Raccoon Ridge, Possum Manor, Chestnut Hollow, Aching Legs, and 7th Heaven are all out tonight.
Brookside is Mountain Dancing in the Lodge tonight; which Hillside did two nights ago. The Brookside cabins can take on a few more sophisticated dances than the Hillside group so it’s a different night for them.
Tomorrow is another day of Discoveries here with campers working on skills in the morning and choosing different activities in the afternoon. Those who love certain activities can usually go back in the afternoon to experience those again. With the good weather today, waterfront activities were quite popular. Creek Hikes are fun in the afternoon when it’s hot. We have multiple creek sections to hike in (literally hiking in the creek) and some are deep enough to swim in along with several small waterfalls you can get under. For the more advanced creek hikers, you can walk up the creek from Mountainside to Connesstee Falls which is spectacular. The farm continues to thrive in so many ways and our corn and vegetable crops are roaring. Sweet corn and glazed carrots, potatoes, beef brisket, freshly baked bread and homemade cheesecake were for dinner tonight. I was hungry returning from the river, and it was a wonderful meal. My table had clean plates with no leftovers in the bowls.
As we skip through this last week of camp, take note that about 65 of our campers are in a three-week session in our Mountainside and Riverside programs. All of them are out adventuring this week and will return tomorrow night. Mountainside bikers are in Dupont State Forest; hikers are up in Pisgah hiking around Shining Rock and areas nearby; Earth Skills is based near Dupont on a private piece of land and living the primitive life; Paddlers are on the Tuck one more day; and Climbers are in Linville Gorge taking on the rock and magnificent views there. Our oldest group, Riverside, is hiking the Art Loeb trail from 6,200 feet down to the Davidson River Campground and will have taken thousands of steps in their 25-mile hike.
Life is good whether you’re here in Main Camp enjoying all the activities or out in the wilds of Pisgah and beyond. Many of our campers are new to Gwynn Valley and new to the many activities that are being offered. Whether you’re crafty making something with your hands or wily as you stalk the creek creatures, or try to ring the bell at the top of the climbing wall, or bounce along our single track trails mountain biking, or learn about and feed the many baby animals at the farm, there is always something fun and something to challenge you at camp. Look no further than our small community crisscrossed by wonderful mountain streams with worlds of interesting things right underfoot. It’s the kind of place where friendships begin and many blossom into bonds lasting a lifetime. Most of all, it’s the simple joys of childhood.
PS – Just a note about paddling today with Mountainside – It’s one of my favorite activities at camp. We took lots of photos and video and hopefully, you’ll see it over the months ahead. Stay Tuned!