There were several special off-camp adventure trips available for the girls today. Beyond our regular short hikes, ziplining, and rock climbing here at camp throughout the week, these were chances to get out and see more of the amazing natural beauty of this area.
A nice group of Middlers and Seniors signed up to go backpacking and camping in the Pisgah Forest. With their gear and provisions stowed in their packs, the crew began by hiking for a little less than an hour to a secluded camping site nearby John Rock. This rock is a fantastic destination. At an elevation of about 3200 feet, it provides a stunning view of the larger Looking Glass Rock across the valley formed by the Davidson River. When the girls emerged from the forest to reveal that view, jaws literally dropped and gasps of “oh wow!” proved how incredible it was. Cooking s’mores over their campfire, sleeping in a cozy tent, and enjoying that view together made everyone happy they signed up for the trip.
The next morning, several of those same backpacking girls wanted to join a rock climbing trip heading to Pilot Rock, another slab in Pisgah. So without returning to camp, these high adventurers joined the group heading out for a day of climbing. Two routes, one called “Chopped” and the other “400 Foot Rope,” kept everyone busy, and at the top thrilled by another amazing view of the surrounding mountain peaks.
Meanwhile, a full van of whitewater kayakers left camp for the day on the Tuckasegee river in Swain County. Including our three instructors, this was a group of 15 boats, making an impressive, colorful sight as these Rockbrook girls navigated their way through each rapid.
And then out at Lake Julia in the Dupont State Forest, another group of girls joined a session of paddle boarding. They enjoyed the warm sunny weather to explore the calm secluded lake, and even to do a bit of yoga balancing on the boards. Another gorgeous location for a day of adventure.
In addition to the wow factor, the intensity of these outdoor experiences, there’s a subtle lesson they teach. It’s that the natural world is a wonderful place, quite literally full of wonder. By getting outside and immersing ourselves in a natural environment, like we do everyday at Rockbrook, we inevitably have unfamiliar yet fascinating experiences and encounter amazing things. Around here we almost come to expect that fascination— the pounding roar of a waterfall, the sharp call of a whippoorwill, the jolt of swimming in a chilly lake, the flash of a skunk waddling across our path at night, for example. Over time, as the days unfold at camp, we learn that if we open ourselves to new experiences (and this is made easier in a caring, supportive camp community), the world will provide rewarding moments of beauty, amazement, and wonder. Instead of feeling suspicion or hesitation, Rockbrook girls grow more curious and inspired to explore new things, fully expecting to be delighted in the process. Camp life fosters this habit, and later we hope, can serve as a resource enriching your girls experience long into the future.
At camp, there’s also the habit of joy, of unbridled hilarity, that we all relish. What illustrates this better than a shaving cream fight? Tonight’s twilight event proved it as more than 100 bottles of shaving cream were squirted, slathered and re-smeared all over the girls (those who chose to participate). Dressed in their swimsuits, the girls wasted no time emptying those cans, racing about slapping the slippery white foam all over each other. They would run to get away from a pursuing friend, slowing down just enough to be caught and splattered, laughing hysterically the entire time. We pulled out a sheet of plastic for a slip-n-slide too, which works beautifully when you are covered with shaving cream, by the way. No soap needed! It was another camp moment when the simplest thing elicited incredible happiness. The girls were having such full-out fun, they were beside themselves, falling down almost unable to get up, laughing so completely they were speechless.
It was an excellent day of adventure and silly fun, and of wonder and joy.