Painted Fun

Girl climbing alpine tower
Girl climbing high ropes course at summer camp

Out in the woods behind our gym, a 50ft tall, high ropes climbing tower, our “Alpine Tower,” sees daily action. Campers can sign up to climb it (or the climbing wall in the gym if it’s rainy) as one of their 4 activity periods. It provides the perfect introduction to rock climbing because it introduces girls to the same equipment (helmets, harnesses, locking carabiners, and kernmantle ropes) and techniques like belay commands, knots, footwork and balancing principles. The tower is triangular with three sides each with different obstacles and climbing challenges, so three girls can climb on it simultaneously. Also, each side presents dozens of different routes to the top making it easy to find a find challenge each time you climb.  The are swinging logs, cargo nets, overhanging walls, dangling ropes, parallel posts, and of course all different sized handholds, all requiring a different move to reach the top platform. Once they make it up, the girls enjoy a tree-top view before being gently lowered down on their belay rope.

Teens sitting in waterfall

Transylvania County, where we are located, dubs itself the “Land of Waterfalls” because there are hundreds nearby created by the many creeks and streams tumbling off the mountains over enormous rocks. Over the centuries, many of these waterfalls have created beautiful pools of water below that provide a fantastic experience for a brave swimmer. It takes a little courage to swim at the bottom of a waterfall. The churning foam looks intriguing, reminiscent of a hot tub, but the crashing sound and slapping force of the falling water conveys a special power that must be approached carefully.  The water pushes you around. Also, it’s no secret that the water around here is brisk… or let’s call it “refreshingly nippy,” and nothing like a hot tub. The exhilaration of the water temperature and the intensity of it pounding all around you, is a huge thrill. The Hi-Ups (our 10th grade campers) experienced this today when they spent the afternoon at one of our favorite swimming holes. Did they scream? Oh, yes. Was it awesome fun? Definitely.

Camp color run

Our evening program tonight was a special all-camp event that was surely a unique experience for the girls. It began with a “color run.” For those interested (it was fine to opt out), they put on an old t-shirt and ran through a gauntlet of counselors armed with brightly colored, powdered paint (non-toxic of course). After a little spray of water at the start, the paint stuck to the girls giving them an colorful, tie-dyed look. This led them down to the gym of a color paint dance party put on by our favorite local DJ Marcus. We passed around glow sticks and used even more colorful glow paint and face paint to magnify the colorful dance lighting Marcus included in his show. This was all so much fun! The girls laughed and played for 2 solid hours, pausing for photos, showing off silly dance moves, and signing along to their favorite pop songs.  With no boys around and everyone, counselors and campers, so fully engaged, they felt even more at ease and willing to be painted. Be sure to check out the photo gallery of this event to see how much we all enjoyed it.

girls colorful dancing
Children dancing with face paint

The Land of Waterfalls

Rockbrook Campers enjoy a waterfall hike
Rockbrook waterfall hike, 1940’s

Did you know that Rockbrook’s home Transylvania County is also known as “The Land of the Waterfalls?” Transylvania County contains over 250 waterfalls thus earning it’s nickname.  Whitewater Falls is one of the highest waterfalls on the east coast and is only a few miles from Rockbrook.  We even have two waterfalls on Rockbrook’s property- Stick Biscuit Falls and Rockbrook Falls.

Click here for a local waterfall map.  Have fun on your adventure!

Rockbrook campers enjoy a visit to Rockbrook falls
Rockbrook Falls, Brevard NC

So Much Fun at Camp

playing a game of tennis at summer camp

When writing these blog posts, and mentioning special events for the most part, it’s easy to forget all of the “regular” activities that are going on at camp.  Everyone selects four different activities for their daily schedule, so throughout the day you can find all kinds of arts and crafts, horseback riding, sports, and outdoor adventure going on.  Kathleen our main photographer spends part of her day wandering around camp taking pictures of these activities, but it’s impossible for her to capture it all.  She might spend time at the tennis courts, for example, but she’ll be missing the action at the Alpine Tower and the riding down at the barn.

Teen camp girls at waterfall

Jeff took the Hi-Ups, our oldest campers (10th graders), on a fun outing Thursday afternoon. Dressed in bathing suits and with towels in hand, we made our way to High Falls in the Dupont State Forest. It was one of those perfect summer days. The unstable, moist air of the last few days had cleared to leave wonderful blue skies, sunshine and a few white clouds. High Falls is a spectacular waterfall formed as the Little River drops about 150 feet over exposed granite. Depending on the water level, there are different sections varying in strength from a gentle sloping flow to a raging drop. We found it just right today to swim in the pool at the bottom of one section. There’s also a part forming a “sliding rock” of sorts. It was a little bumpy going down, but very fun nonetheless. On the way home, there was just enough time to swing by Dolly’s. Yum.

Camp counselor dressed as draco malfoy

For dinner, we held another special meal, Restaurant Night, but to mix things up a bit, we turned it into “Harry Potter and the Night of the Restaurant.”  A group of the counselors decorated the dining hall like the great hall of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter novels, and everyone was invited to dress up as a character from the books or in simply “magical” attire.  The tables were rearranged and the counselors served the campers… roast beef, peas, potatoes and toffee bars for desert. We saw Draco Malfoy, several Harry Potters (complete with lightning bolt scar) and even Sarah dressed up as Bellatrix Lestrange to do the announcements after the meal. Music, food, costumes and skits: all just a regular part of the fun at camp.

Rockbrook and the NC Cherokee

Cherokee Lost Settlement near Rockbrook Camp

If you’ve been to Rockbrook you know how it’s located in an amazing place— tucked between two prominent rock faces, surrounded by forest on three sides and bordering the valley formed by the French Broad river on the fourth. Add to that the two freshwater creeks, two waterfalls, and the two caves, you begin to understand how unique it really is.

But did you know that Rockbrook was also the site of a Cherokee settlement? That’s right; a Native American town called Kana’sta was located right near camp. This photo is a marker telling a bit about it.  The plaque says:

Site of CONESTEE, Legendary Lost Settlement of the Ancient Cherokee Nation. Visited by British Troops in 1725. Disappeared 1777. Erected by Cherokee Historical Ass’n, Transylvania Historical Ass’n, Unaka Chapter, Daughters of American Colonists.

There is also a Cherokee story telling of the Kana’sta settlement leaving its town to go and live with another Cherokee group.  Two visitors arrive one day and offer to let the Kana’sta people come and live in their town “where we are always happy.”  It is a story of why the Kana’sta “disappeared.”

It’s so interesting to think about the rich history of this part of North Carolina.  Long before European settlers arrived, a group of Cherokee recognized its special character and made it their home. Today, hundreds of years later, it is home to all of us at Rockbrook.  Pretty cool.

Camp From the Past!

Youth Camp Photo Collage

Here’s a great early photo collage of Rockbrook girls from the 1926 camp catalog. Kells Hogan brought it over to us after finding it among his mother’s artifacts. She attended camp in her youth.  We love how the photos show the real spirit of adventure the girls had back then.  It looks like there was plenty of dressing up going on too!

Recognize those waterfalls?