There’s news from the climbing staff down at the Alpine Tower, our 50-foot tall climbing tower located in the woods behind the gym. If you rode our bus shuttle on opening day you may have caught a glimpse of it. It’s an impressive structure made from 20-inch diameter treated telephone poles, 14,000 lb aircraft cable, 1/2-inch galvanized bolts, Crosby clamps and 1-inch think nylon ropes… all fastened into a pyramid shape creating 3 sides where girls can climb. There are different routes up each side, some with rope ladders, climbing walls, swinging logs, and all sorts of handholds bolted to the poles. With dozens of ways to climb the tower, some straight forward and others being a tricky challenge, it can satisfy all kinds of climbers. The news is that a few “crazy climbing girls” have climbed to the top using all three sides of the tower and have begun attempting them again while blindfolded. Yes, blindfolded! It might sound impossible to climb without seeing, but these girls can do it, carefully feeling for good holds, making slow progress and trusting their climbing instincts to stand and balance on each foot. It’s amazing to watch!
There are amazing things to watch in the dance studio as well. Located in the Lakeview Lodge, with its stone walls, 4-foot fireplace, and hardwood floor, one end of the studio has a wall of mirrors perfect for rehearsing group choreography. They may not start out completely in sync, but it’s fun for the girls to practice their moves, giggling as they figure things out. The instructors tell me the girls are preparing two different dances that will be part of the musical to be performed at the end of the session. That will be fun to see!
In addition to the in-camp activities, our out-of-camp adventure trips have been heading out in multiple directions all week. The recent fantastic weather has made the conditions for hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and canoeing just perfect. Here are some of the trips… The kayakers have been to the Green River, the French Broad River, and the Tuckaseegee River so far this week and they are planning to paddle Big Laurel Creek tomorrow. There have been day hikes to the Dupont State Forest to marvel at some of the waterfalls, for example, the Hi-Ups hiking to High Falls to take a swim at the pool of water below. Rock climbers have set up multiple routes on Looking Glass Rock out in Pisgah, spending all day out.
One special outing thrilled a whole cabin of Middlers last night. It was an overnight canoeing trip on a section of the French Broad. They packed tents, food and cooking gear, as well as everyone’s personal belongings (clothes, sleeping bag, etc.) in 8 canoes for the trip. They paddled along the gently moving water, the river bank curving left and right, for about 2 hours to reach a grassy campsite where they pitched their tents, cooked dinner and enjoyed making s’mores around the campfire before heading to bed. The next morning under bright sunny skies (Yay!), after pancakes for breakfast, the crew repacked their boats and paddled a shorter section of the river to the takeout spot. It was an excellent trip.
Meanwhile, the girls back at camp had a chance to bust out (actually re-create by swapping elements) costumes again. For our “Twilight,” that block of free time between dinner and our “Evening Program,” the counselors organized a game that crossed a scavenger hunt with Halloween trick or treating. Wearing their costumes, the campers hunted all over camp for places to find someone handing out treats (stickers, glow sticks, small toys and candies). Groups of wacky, colorful girls had a grand time pausing for photos while they scurried about searching for the next goodie to add to their bags. It was a brief, fun special event sandwiched into another full day at camp.