If you’ve been following our weather the last few days, you might be asking, “What happens when it rains at Rockbrook?” Well, what it feels like becomes more mysterious and enchanting, as the forest comes alive. With everything shiny and wet, the creeks louder and more powerful, all the greens around us deepen. The mist in the air adds touches of grey to each treetop and distant view of the mountains off the Junior line hill. It’s really beautiful.
What we do at camp depends a bit upon how much it’s raining. After all, a steady downpour is different than a light rain or drizzle. It also matters if there is lightning, which of course becomes a safety concern. The temperature can be important… warmer is better. And there can be real limitations for certain activities, like rock climbing, for example, that requires dry rock for enough friction to climb.
You might be surprised, though, how much camp life continues right through the sort of rain we had today. It was plenty warm, with patchy, light, only occasionally heavy, rain and no lightning at all. This meant we could still take advantage of the Rockbrook lake, swimming, kayaking and canoeing. Chrissy organized a fun relay race where the girls swam with tubes, passing (and wearing) a t-shirt back and forth. The canoes and kayaks also played games on the far side of the lake, paddling to reach a series of hula hoops strategically placed about. The WHOA class (Wilderness, Hiking, Outdoor Adventure) tromped around camp learning to navigate by compass. The zip line was humming all morning, and the tetherball courts kept swinging too.
Indoors, we were just as busy. The climbing staff moved their activity to our climbing wall. Located in one corner of the gym, it offers a great variety of climbing challenges including an overhanging section, a corner hand crack, and another “hand jam” crack to try. Also in the gym, there was a mean game of dodgeball, made extra fun by giving each squishy ball different “powers.” The gymnastics girls worked on the high bar and balance beams, and just a little further down in the woods at the riflery range, which has a covered shooting platform, the girls were shooting- slightly damp targets being no problem at all. The Hillside Lodge again became a yoga studio, with its purple mats neatly arranged, just as the Lakeview Lodge and its wall of mirrors served as the perfect space for girls to dance. Of course all of the arts and crafts activities carried on as usual too, with beaded bracelets, sewn tapestries, woven belts and baskets, clay mugs, and elaborate multi-media drawings receiving their finishing touches.
After rest hour today the girls were thrilled to learn about the “Biltmore Train” coming to camp. This is another long tradition at Rockbrook that’s essentially an all-you-can-eat ice cream affair. It’s name recalls the Biltmore Dairy’s ice cream truck and its regular camp visits. The Biltmore Dairy has long been closed (replaced with something having a little more draw for the tourists visiting the Biltmore House- a winery), but we still celebrate the occasion with just as much ice cream, stacks of cones, and excited campers going back for scoop after scoop. Too decadent, but absolutely exciting for the girls.
The afternoon today was filled with “Cabin Day” activities. These are offerings, ordinarily scheduled for Wednesday afternoons, when whole cabin groups stick together. The counselors usually surprise their cabins with something fun and different, like today when one group decorated their flip flops and raced them, floating, down the creek. Another tied colorful thread as hair wraps. Others decorated t-shirts and one painted a wooden plaque with the their names to hang in their cabin. The CA campers, who have lifeguards as their counselors, played around at the lake together. The entire Middler line, 89 people in all, took a trip into the National Forest for a picnic and ride down sliding rock. The weather cooperated perfectly, clearing up just as we arrived at our destination in the forest. Despite the air still being only in the 70s, most of us took a ride down the classic, all-natural water slide. And to really push things over the top, we all pulled in at Dolly’s Dairy Bar for another ice cream cone. The camp combination flavors, like “Rockbrook Chocolate Illusion,” are such a huge hit, we want everybody to have a chance to try one. Ice cream two times in one day for these Middlers: now that’s summer!