Magical (Sessions 3 & 5, July 13)

By Sandy Schenck

Our day at the GRP has ended on a magical note!  3-weekers had a fabulous time on GLP’s, and Mini-campers had a great time out and about the Preserve today, too—and the day ended with spectacle, both natural and man-made.

After a yummy breakfast of biscuits, sausage, jelly, fresh fruit, yogurt, and cereal bar (a dispenser with 4 different kinds of cereal), Mini-campers loaded up on our colorfully painted buses and we took them to the starting points for today’s hikes.  One group hiked up to Uncle’s Falls, where not only did they polar bear, they also visited the Salamander Cave—a really cool cave that campers can slide into, where a bunch of salamanders live.  They saw the biggest salamander they had ever seen!  And they also tasted sourwood tree leaves.  Another group trekked to the Indian Cave; after they explored its depths, they also went over to Long Rock and looked at the view and the petroglyphs carved into the rocks.  Another group made their way to the Balds and enjoyed the gorgeous view from there.

This afternoon, Mini-campers tried out some new activities.  Campers taking Karate were stretching and moving in the Gazebo.  Campers taking Theater were also stretching and moving, but in different ways; they played some improvisation games, like “Party,” where everyone assumes an identity and interacts with the other guests.  Other campers took aim in BB Skeet.  Canoers learned basic strokes and then paddled around the lake; after a while, we played a game of canoe-noodle tag.  In field games, they played Capture the Flag and then some soccer.

For dinner and evening program tonight, Mini-campers enjoyed a hot dog cookout in the West Field; we played some games in the field, roasted hot dogs, made s’mores, and played some more games in the field.  While we had some rain, it conveniently started while we were cooking out and eating, under shelters, and dropped off by the time we were finishing up; so, soon after we returned to the field for more games, we were treated with a beautiful rainbow—and then, a few moments later, a second rainbow appeared, too.   It was spectacular, and we all gathered in the front field to see it.   (We tried to take some pictures of it; you’ll see those and other pictures here.)

Lots of 3-weekers saw the rainbow, too, and it was a fitting finale (or almost-finale) to their fun day.  They, too, were spread out around the Preserve today, participating in Group Learning Projects.  One group hiked up Maybin Mountain; they summited after bushwhacking for a good chunk of the way.  They also met one of the Maybins!  Some campers chose to spend the day tubing down the French Broad, while another group went mountain-biking in Dupont State Forest.  Others stayed in camp; our creative writers shared some of their favorite stories and did some writing exercises, while our fly-fishers spent the morning at Base Camp and then headed down to the Hemlock Field to try their luck in the Green River.

After dinner, 3-weekers enjoyed an ice cream social, and then they split off into cabin groups for cabin night.  Many of them saw the rainbow, and then, finally, we put on a fireworks display for all to enjoy—it’s not often that we get a Grand Slam!  (You’ll see some pictures of both sessions here.)

Mini-campers have a final day of mentor hikes and activities tomorrow, and 3-weekers will be participating in service projects.  We’ll keep you posted!