Most meals at Rockbrook are served “Family Style” in our dining hall, with each cabin of girls sitting together at a table with their counselors and sharing platters of food. Throughout the day, everyone scatters across the camp to attend their individually chosen activities, so meals are a chance to reunite and talk about the events of the day. Tonight, however, we shifted gears entirely and rearranged the 26 individual tables in the dining hall to make 12 large tables, one for each month of the year, because tonight was “Birthday Night.” This is a special surprise dinner party where we celebrate everyone’s birthday on the same night by having all the counselors and campers sit according to the month of their birth. Tonight we made it a Mardi Gras themed dinner, so we decorated the dining hall with streamers, balloons, and posters, handed out shiny beads and masks, and encouraged everyone to dress in their best purple, gold and green. There were so many great costumes! Some girls wore crazy wigs, or hats, lots of sunglasses, multi-colored tights, even fuzzy leg warmers. Rick prepared New Orleans style food for us too: Po’ Boy sandwiches (with lettuce, tomato and his homemade Remoulade sauce), grits with Andouille sausage, mixed berries, and Miss Vickie’s potato chips. But of course, the highlight of the night was the cakes, the 12 different birthday cakes Katie baked, each decorated by the Hi-Up campers to match a particular month. Depending on your birth month, your piece of cake was larger or smaller because the cake was divided by the number of people in that month (June had the highest number, and September the smallest number of people, by the way). With Mardi Gras music playing, the girls had a grand time yelling “Happy Birthday” to each other (and to other celebrities), taking short dance breaks, and of course singing along to the music.
If you spotted our Alpine Climbing Tower in the woods driving up our north driveway (riding the shuttle bus on opening day), you know it’s an impressive structure. It’s almost 60 feet tall, is triangular shaped because of its pyramid design, and offers dozens of climbing challenges. Even more impressive is the climbing ability the girls have been showing on the tower lately. They are swarming all over the thing, hanging upside down, conquering every element (like the “Swinging Logs,” the “Missing Link” cargo net, and “Corporate Ladder,” for example), and even climbing up sections blindfolded! Karen, our lead photographer, took this photo (and others) today by climbing the tower herself and shooting from above. It’s hard to tell from this shot, but this camper is about 45 feet off the ground! I love the look of concentration in her eye. It shows a level of focused confidence that all excellent rock climbers rely upon. Awesome stuff.
Can you tell what’s happening in this photo? Blue yarn and white string, feet in some water, and a fork? It’s not a musical instrument (though I suppose it could be!). It’s a lap loom with a weaving project taking shape as the weaver sits with her feet in a creek. The fork is used to weave and tighten the weft as it traces back and forth taking shape along the warp. The creek beside the Curosty cabin, where weaving is taught at Rockbrook, carries water to fill our lake, and is generally a sunny spot in camp. That makes it very enticing as a perfect place to weave, chat with friends, and enjoy the cool water rushing by across your feet. Something this simple and wholesome, it’s relaxing, social and creative at the same time. Such a summertime treat.
Here we have the view from the top of John Rock looking east toward Looking Glass Rock. It’s one of our favorite spots to experience the amazing green-carpeted mountains of the Pisgah National Forest. A group of girls, led by Emily and Christina, backpacked and camped in the forest Monday night (tents, backpacks, water bottles, camping stoves to cook dinner and breakfast, etc.), and on the way back hiked to John Rock for this view. Their hike brought them through Cat Gap, which touches the Art Loeb trail, and looped back to the Pisgah Fish Hatchery… for a total of about 6 miles. I heard they had an overnight rain shower, but as you can see it was sunny and fair in the morning for the hike out, capping off an excellent trip.