Animals Abound at the GRP (Tuesday, June 15)

By Sandy Schenck

We had a beautiful morning for mentor hikes, and campers and staff saw lots of interesting sights.  This morning was  a great morning for animals at the Green River Preserve, actually.  After breakfast, everyone set out.

One group headed up to Uncle’s Falls; the hike up is beautiful, and once you arrive at the Falls, campers can wade in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall and explore a cave next to the waterfall—we call it Salamander Cave because there are so many salamanders that hang out in there.  Today, they also found a snake skeleton!  Quite an exciting find.  Many campers also took the Polar Bear plunge—standing under the falls for as long as it takes to yell “Polar Bear!  Polar Bear!  Polar Bear!”  The cold water felt good, since the morning was hot.  Another group hiked from the Upper Bald to the Lower Bald; along the way, they saw a grasshopper that was camouflaging itself in lichen, and they discovered evidence that had bear had been through the area—some fresh bear scat.  They also snacked on some wild blueberries.  Another group bushwhacked their way up to the Spire—a rocky point with a spectacular view of the Green Valley—spying a couple of box turtles along the way.  One group hiked over to Fawn Lake, which is located in Dupont State Forest (right next to the Green River Preserve).  They saw several red eft salamanders on their hike—little salamanders that are sort of a deep coral red color—very cute!  They, too, had a refreshing dip in the water when they got to Fawn Lake.  Another group didn’t make it very far before they found an animal—they were passing through the camp’s parking lot, and saw a box turtle trying to make her nest in between a couple of parked vehicles, scraping at the dirt and gravel.  They got a shovel and tried to help her, but that dirt is packed pretty tight, so they moved her to the field, and she wandered off in search of softer terrain.  On their actual hike, they admired a snake and a gigantic snail.

One of our directors, Beth, also had an animal sighting—when she was driving down the road, a big black bear crossed the road in front of her vehicle!  Hmmmm, maybe it’s the rain that is bringing the animals out?  At any rate, after lunch—chicken fingers, homemade potato chips, salad, and quiche and curried tofu for our vegetarians—we again had some inclement weather.  It’s nice, at rest hour, to sleep to rain.  After rest hour, our second day of activities began.

Our dancing group experimented with self-expression—staff had different-colored ribbons, such as red and blue, and when campers had red ribbons, they danced in a way that expressed the emotions suggested by red; when they had blue ribbons, they danced coooolllly.  In hand pottery, campers were displaying their creativity—one camper was making the cutest owl, and another was making a wizard.   During a break in the inclement weather, outdoor skills was able to get out and practice  their stalking skills, and a couple of archers hit the “dream” shot—it’s a lot further back and harder to hit.  In drumming, they formed a drum circle and also practiced some vocal percussion (aka beat-boxing).  Cool things going on, in spite of the rain!  (You can see pictures from today, too!)

After dinner—pork tenderloin, peas, roasted potatoes, cornbread, and vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce for dessert (the food here is really good!)—we met in the Lodge for an all-camp game—Clue! at The Green River Preserve.  Campers had a great time trying to figure out if it was Evan at the Pioneer Cabin with a hula hoop, or Eliza at the Craft Lodge with a chicken.  It turned out to be Carson in the Infirmary with a climbing rope!

One more day of mentor hikes and activities, and then we head out on camp-out!  Big excitement coming up!