Stopping by the Rockbrook equestrian center is a treat these days. All day long, it’s humming with activity, with horses being tacked up, girls in the stable club brushing and washing different ponies, and of course others taking mounted riding lessons in the rings. Sitting on the porch of the equestrian office, you get a good view of this. The girls arrive there first after making the trip down from camp and through the tunnel under the highway, and it’s there that they will put on riding boots and pick a helmet if they need one. For the lessons, this is also where they find out which horse they’ll be riding that day. Audrey sometimes will switch horses based on how a camper did in her last lesson, or if there’s a special request to ride a particular horse. At this point in the session, it’s taking less time to get ready for the lessons because the campers know what they need to do and how to help, for example by leading the horses to the ring. Also, we’re seeing excellent riding from these girls. Lots are posting perfectly, cantering confidently, and jumping joyfully. And it’s spectacular to watch.
Our longtime archery instructor Chelsea (this is her 3rd summer in that role) is reporting something similar. She’s seeing plenty of girls really take to the sport, improving their shot and hitting plenty of bullseyes. We’ve all noticed that almost everyday Chelsea is announcing during dinner the names of campers “inducted” into the “Bullseye Club” for archery (there’s a similar club for riflery too, as you might expect). Archery is one of those sports that really grows on the campers. They try it, and they’re hooked, probably because with just a little practice, they can see themselves improving. When one arrow is a great shot and the next is not, it makes you want to try again. In no time, they are true archers.
Today Clyde and Maddie took a group of Middlers out of camp for a rock climbing trip on Cedar Rock. This crag is located on the southern edge of the Pisgah Forest and requires a long, almost 2-mile, hike from the parking pull-off area just to reach the base of the rock. Consequently, the group packed a lunch with them (along with all the climbing gear— ropes, harnesses, helmets, shoes, carabiners, etc.) so they could spend all day out there. This was a great idea because they could all climb multiple pitches. They set up a climbing route called “Oh, Mr. Friction,” which is a nice medium difficulty crack, and the “Orangutan Flake,” a much more difficult face route. They even set a third rope up on a short climb that’s not named. This photo gives you a sense of the challenge these routes provide. The girls really had to be strong, concentrate and balance up some tough stuff. And these girls are really good! They have excellent climbing instincts and fine strength/weight ratios. Most of the time they handled every challenging part of these routes. Oh, and by the way, every girl who climbed wore a helmet and was “on belay,” meaning she was being held up by a rope with a tensile strength exceeding 3000 pounds. The girls climb high, but they are super safe doing it. With all that climbing and all that hiking, it was a very big, and tiring, day out. Be sure to check out the photo gallery to see more photos of this trip. They’re great!