Today was the first of our rafting trips for the session, our big adventure out on the Nantahala river. We asked all of the middlers and seniors if they would like to go and came up with a huge list of excited girls. One option was to go over on Monday night and camp at our outpost. Rockbrook owns a 40-acre outpost camp located just past the Upper Nantahala Gorge in Macon County that is set up with simple cabins, a bath house, dining hall and campfire ring. It adjoins the National forest (about 2 miles from the Appalachian trail) and is only about 15 minutes away from the rafting launch site. We took 3 buses to the outpost to enjoy a nice dinner, time around the campfire with s’mores and songs, and a good night’s sleep out in the forest. The next morning we met our guides (Clyde, Sid, Billy, Sam, Andria and Leland) and launched the rafts for a perfect sunny trip down the river, complete with plenty of splashing and screams bubbling up on the rapids. A second group of campers met us for a picnic lunch before heading up to start their rafting trip in the afternoon. We had great weather on this trip as well, happily avoiding the thunderstorm that passed by to the north of us. These whitewater trips are loads of fun and for many girls a highlight of their outdoor experience at camp.
By the way, Leland and Andria have written several books on whitewater boating, one on North Carolina rivers and another on some of the best whitewater in North America. Check them out over at Brushy Mountain Publishing. Good stuff.
Meanwhile back at camp, we were rock climbing, really climbing. Our lead climbers, Maddie, Abby and Mallory organized several groups of Juniors and Middlers for a trip up to Castle Rock. Some of the girls who signed up were brand new to climbing, so for them, just fitting the equipment— climbing shoes, harnesses, and helmets — was a part of the fun. But of course the real treat comes from making progress up the rock, from getting past a tough part, and often, from reaching the top and turning around to see the view. Even the littlest girls are great climbers. They’re so strong and agile, and generally fearless, they just zip right up the rock with very little hesitation.
Dinner tonight was a surprise event for the girls. It started with costumes, as is usually the case at Rockbrook. This time we all turned ourselves into a giant game of Clue. Like the classic board game, versions of Mrs. White, Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock, and Mr. Green could be seen eating dinner together. Afterwords, the girls broke into their cabin groups to play a camp-wide game of Clue where, like the board game’s mystery that’s solved by following clues discovered in different rooms, the groups ran around camp to find different clues. Each station, the group had to perform a task of some sort before receiving their next clue. Quick name all the RBC activities, or make up a song about trees, or stand in a human pyramid, and so forth. The clues led every cabin group to each of the different stations and finally to the solution— where Sofie was hiding. By the end, there were prizes for everyone, but it was Junior cabin 4 who ran the fastest and performed their tasks the quickest to win overall.