It’s hard not to mention the weather in these posts. We spend so much of our time outside, it only makes sense that how hot or cold, wet or dry, it is outside would make a difference both in our plans and in what we might wear (raincoat or just a fleece today…?). You have to stay flexible too, because the weather can change minute by minute in this part of North Carolina. It can be hot, humid and sunny at noon, and then cool and breezy just an hour later. For example today we had a picnic lunch planned for our mini session seniors, and with everyone loaded in buses, we set out to our favorite spot in the Pisgah only to meet a huge rainstorm when we arrived. Not to be discouraged, and with the help of a little weather radar, we continued climbing making it eventually to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Pounding Mill Overlook.
At an elevation of 4700 feet, there we had risen above and away from the rainstorm and found ourselves just above the clouds with bright sunshine all around. It was gorgeous! We could easily look south and see Looking Glass Rock, and east to view Mount Pisgah (elev. 5721 ft). What better place to lounge on the grass and eat our picnic? In the end, this was an example of changed plans that were better. Being rained out meant finding unforeseen rewards. Stopping on the drive back for a quick cone of Dolly’s ice cream, while perhaps appearing unplanned, was a perfect polish to our afternoon trip.
Today we were able to complete this session’s whitewater rafting trips on the Nantahala river. Here too, a little flexibility really paid off. Most of the rivers around here are too high right now, and even the dam-controlled Nantahala was unsafe on Tuesday. With a little shuffling of the adventure schedule, we were able to run the trips today instead. We also decided to push the first trip to earlier in the day to boost our odds of avoiding the predicted afternoon thundershowers. I’m happy to report that everything went perfectly, and with no rain! Boats of singing (and at times screaming!) girls wearing white helmets, 72 people in two groups— our Rockbrook rafting days turn heads on the river.
One aspect of taking an adventure trip, like whitewater rafting, kayaking, or rock climbing, for example, is the decision to skip your regular in-camp activities. Girls know that by signing up for these trips, they’ll have to miss archery, horseback riding, pottery and any other their scheduled activities. This can be frustrating for campers attending short sessions, but it soon becomes clear that it’s impossible to do everything at camp, and you always have to choose among options, thereby skipping certain opportunities. It’s a good lesson in decision making. To select also means to neglect. Fortunately, at camp, whatever a girl selects is guaranteed to be a fun-filled, good choice.
Our evening program tonight brought the return of our friend Daphne from “Cold Blooded Encounters” and 16 of her cold-blooded friends to the gym for her animal show. One by one, she presented each animal walking it around the crowd of shocked and at times wide-eyed girls. She described whether each animal— snake or lizard for example —was poisonous, where it lives in the wild, what it eats, and other unique aspects of its behavior.
Some of the reptiles were familiar to the girls, like the Eastern Box Turtle and the Black Rat Snake, creatures that can be found at Rockbrook. Others, though, were more exotic like an Emperor Scorpion, a Tomato Frog, a Tarantula, a Bearded Dragon, and a huge Reticulated Python. At the end of the show, Daphne invited the girls to touch her python, disproving their belief that snakes are “slimy,” and showing that they are instead smooth, cool and muscular. It was an exciting, informative evening.