We’re already into the third week of Main Camp, which means our out-of-camp trips have progressed to more advanced levels, some heading out for 4-5 days. Today during Morning Watch, many boys filed into the benches while wearing backpacking packs or carrying Camelbak backpacks, ready to head out for a fun trip. Patton V. was one of the boys with a big pack on, excited for his paddling trip to begin. “I’m going on the Tuck/Nanty trip!”, he told me excitedly, short for the Tuckasegee and Nantahala Rivers. He had been on the Lower Green river earlier this week, and was eager to keep moving up in the progressions.
“I’m most excited about Nantahala Falls,” he shared, explaining how he would have to navigate his boat through the rapids to line up right for the falls. “There’s an edy that we have to catch before the falls. That’s when a rock blocks the river current so you can park your boat in the still section,” he explained. If the boys catch the edy on the Nantahala and the edy on the Tuckasegee too, as well as complete the rapid upright following the required line, then they will earn a Yaklet. The Yaklet is a bracelet that boys earn after progressing through rivers and skills in a canoe, proving that they have a handle on paddling enough to move up to a kayak. Once you have a Yaklet, you can choose to keep paddling a canoe, or take a kayak on your paddling trips as your boat of choice. Patton couldn’t wait for the chance to finally reach that goal.
Ambrose, one of our backpacking counselors, was getting ready for the Table Rock day hike that he was heading out on after breakfast. Though day hikes are a fun way to get out of camp and see some of the beautiful area that we’re in, our backpackers can’t seem to get enough of hiking, and love getting to spend more than just an afternoon in the woods. Ambrose was telling me about how they were also looking forward to their 3-day trip on the Appalachian Trail beginning tomorrow. They planned to start at a point on the AT, one of the most famous trails in the country, and enjoy 30 miles of it over three days. They were even bringing along their mascot, a small fallen beech tree branch with a sharpie marker face. The branch mascot’s name is “Woody Carver,” and since Woody had never left his Western North Carolina home, they planned to take him with them on the trip and show him 30 miles of beautiful wilderness trail.
Patton J. would be joining them for the impressive distance, and actually wished it was even longer than 30 miles. “I just really like being out in this area,” he said. Patton was also on this evening’s Dupont mountain bike trip, which headed out after lunch and returned in the evening in time for Evening Program. We started in the Fawn Lake parking lot, riding several miles of flowy Dupont singletrack before enjoying a picnic dinner together. Collier L., a camper local to this area, knew every trail like the back of his hand and was offering tips to the other boys as we rode through technical spots or started up long climbs. He even kindly corrected me when I started to make a wrong turn at a trail intersection.
Our Dupont ride began with a fast descent down Reasonover, crossing the creek at the bottom and climbing for a while to get our legs warmed up. After the climb, we rocketed down another great downhill, splashing through a short creek crossing at the bottom. Everyone got soaked and had fun, and the boys even asked if they could go back across the creek and ride through again. Once we had all splashed through a few times and cooled off from the climb, we headed to Airstrip trail, a fun descent off of an old plane landing strip with a beautiful view. While riding, I talked to David who was working on his Ranger level. “I just have to do two days of trail maintenance and then I’ll have it!” he told me.
After a fun evening on the trails, we headed back to camp in time for Tribal Evening Program. This gave the boys a chance to compete for points for their Green or Gold teams, since today was a Green and Gold day! Tomorrow we’ll have another full day packed with new day trips and multi-day trips, plus we’ll welcome back some campers returning from their multi-day trip adventures.
More Highlights From This Tuesday
*CJ led us in a thought for the day at Morning Watch, discussing Servant’s Heart. He defined Servant’s Heart as “someone actively seeking ways to serve their community and others.” He challenged everyone to find a way to serve someone today, no matter how big or small the action.
*We celebrated Campbell M.‘s and Hampton T.’s birthdays today!
*Harrison F. and Henry E. earned Ranger in Lacrosse
*Lawton J. achieved Ranger in Arts and Crafts
*Miles F. & Booker M. achieved Ranger in Basketball
*Quinn K. achieved Warrior in Basketball
*James V. & Will B. achieved Warrior in Soccer
*John G. & John S. achieved Ranger in the HEAT
*Breakfast: sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits with roasted potatoes, oatmeal, fruit, and yogurt
*Lunch: cheese quesadilla, chips and salsa, guacamole, sour cream, seasoned black beans, cinnamon apples, and s’more pockets for dessert
*Dinner: chicken fried rice with roasted broccoli, a full salad bar, and homemade banana pudding for dessert