The new Zip Line and swinging bridge at Rockbrook continues to be a big hit with the campers and staff. Throughout the session we’ve offered trips down the course, and today we finished up all the mini session girls. Groups of eight girls go together, first meeting at “Hiker’s Rock” to fit their climbing harnesses and helmets, and to attach a special dual-wheel pulley with a thick rope tether. It’s just a short hike up the trail toward Castle Rock, up and behind the main part of camp, to the swinging bridge. This is a 100-foot long bridge made of steel cable, rope and wooden planks, and it’s suspended about 60-feet in the air between two huge boulders. Like other canopy tours, the girls have to concentrate as they cross high above, carefully stepping from plank to plank, in most cases trying not to look down. Once at the zip line launch, Emily and often Jerry, connect the girls to the 450-foot long cable and with their pulley’s high-pitched hum, zip across the camp to the landing platform. The zip line is perfectly engineered to be an accelerating ride at the beginning but then to slow gently to a stop over the landing platform. It’s a simple matter of putting your feet down, and you’re done. There’s some variation according to the size and weight of the rider, but the platform can accommodate a wide range.
A big group of campers woke up early this morning to squeeze in a whitewater rafting trip over at the Nantahala. Leaving at 7am allowed us to be one of the first rafting parties on the river, long before it became crowded with 4th of July vacationers. It also was good for the CA campers on the trip (the 9th graders who are hard at work preparing for the surprise banquet held at the end of the session), because they would return to camp a little after lunch and still have an afternoon of activity periods to play with. In perfectly sunny weather, and led by our veteran rafting guides, we rafted 7 boats of Rockbrook girls down the river. It was a great day on water.
Watching another group of girls pack for their backpacking overnight trip into the forest, you’d think part of the fun is stuffing everything into the packs. What to bring and what to leave behind can be the basis of a long conversation. “Are you bringing your hairbrush?” It’s also a little challenging because there’s camping gear to consider- tents, water bottles, cooking equipment, etc. The hiking is just part of the whole experience. Once at the campsite, it’s a great time just sitting around the campfire, making s’mores, and, believe it or not, getting to sleep in the tents, chatting long into the night by flashlight. These overnight backpacking trips are also another great chance to bond with each other, pulling everyone closer in the end.
In pottery these last few days, Katie has been teaching a lesson where the girls make sculpture pots. With inspiration from the American painter Wayne Thiebaud, some have chosen to build cupcake shaped pots, others building mushrooms, or animals like an owl. These could be small cups with lids, or salt and pepper shakers, but in every case they’re glazed with heavy bright colors. Apparently they’re almost good enough to eat!
Oh, I should mention Rick’s phenomenal homemade pizza we all enjoyed for dinner. He and Alison made the dough from a massive quantity of yeast, olive oil, water and flour (I think he said 20 gallons of flour!), proofed it, and spread it on 40 sheet pans. Soft and chewy, it was a home run with the girls. So much so, they insisted on singing “The Cook’s Song” to thank Rick and his team for the meal. Here’s a recording of what it sounded like. A true standing ovation!