It might be surprising, but did you know that the littlest girls, our Juniors who are as young as six, are often some of our best rock climbers? They certainly are predictably enthusiastic and ready to try just about anything, and this easily translates into a fearlessness spirit of adventure. When we announced an optional trip to climb Castle Rock (one of the tall rock cliffs above the camp), Mallory was surrounded by little ones clamoring for the chance. They love gearing up with helmets, harnesses and those cool, sticky-rubber shoes, and hiking the trail up to the base of the rock. What makes these little ones great climbers, besides their attitude, is their flexibility and strength relative to their weight. While they might not be able to reach a high handhold on the rock, being small is an overall advantage. This is real rock climbing, and they feel pretty “big” after doing it.
Yesterday after dinner, during that period of free time we call “Twilight,” we offered a garden workshop with Pam, Rockbrook’s awesome gardener (here she is in this photo). She organized the activity by teaching the girls about Tussie-Mussies. Sometimes called “Posies” or “Nosegays,” these are small bouquets of flowers given in the Victorian-era as gifts, following the “Language of Flowers” where different blossoms had different meanings. Giving someone a Tussie-Mussie was a way to send a coded message, back when speaking directly wasn’t always socially acceptable. With Pam’s help, the girls learned a few of the meanings (e.g., a daisy means beauty), tasting some of the herbs, and then each made their own example. What a unique experience! Then to round out the evening, evening pitched in to make a scarecrow. Using hay, they stuffed a shirt and overalls, and decorated a pot for the head. See the grass hair? It’s really neat to see the girls having this much fun doing something this simple and traditional.
Throughout the day today, we took Rockbrook Middlers and Seniors whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River. Some traveled over to our Nantahala outpost, located not far from the rafting put-in, to spend the night. We arrived in time to have a taco dinner and s’mores before hitting the hay in the platform cabins. The next morning, we met our team of raft guides, and suited up for the river, enjoying the bright sunshine and 70-degree temps. In fact, it was absolutely perfect weather, warm and sunny, perfect for inspiring splash fights between rafts, and even intentionally jumping in now and then. A raft full of excited, chatting, singing girls is a lot of fun, and when you send that raft through whitewater rapids, bumping, splashing, and sometimes spinning along, it’s about as good as it gets! We all enjoyed a picnic lunch after the first morning trip, and then met another group of Rockbrook girls to run the river again in the afternoon. Altogether, we rafted more than 60 people today, a big fun day of adventure.
Back at camp in time for dinner, which was some of Rick’s homemade lasagna with bread and salad (yum!), we heard the news that tonight’s evening program would be a “Western Auction” led by Jerry. He arrived dressed in jeans, white long-sleeve shirt, sunglasses and hat, and explained how the girls could bid on mystery prizes. They would bid not knowing if the items were some kind of treat like banana boats, or some funny chore like a morning swim in the lake (“polar bear”) or gift like tooth brushes. Jerry rattled off the auction with cabins raising their paper plate insignias to bid. Each cabin had enough “Rockbrook Bucks” to win 2 items, one of which usually ended up being something yummy. After winning a bid, a hushed, worried anticipation comes over a cabin, but when Jerry announces a “good” prize, they explode with cheers, arms stretched high. In addition to the bidding, it’s finding out what you’ve won that makes this game so much fun.