Session 4 Day 2: Polar Bears and Salamanders!

By Sandy Schenck

Our Session 4 Campers went on their first mentor hikes this morning; several campers took the “polar bear” challenge at Uncle’s Falls, braving the cold water under the falls for as long as it takes to yell “polar bear” 3 times. They also ventured into the Salamander Cave, and some went through the Salamander Womb, a narrow, twisty, cave-like tunnel, that you slither through on your stomach like, well, a salamander. In addition to salamanders, another group saw a box turtle and at least ten different kinds of mushrooms! A couple of groups demonstrated “fortitude,” one of the four Woodcraft Laws that we value here at the GRP, on hikes that entailed a lot of bushwhacking straight up and down mountains. Other campers spent the morning in camp, climbing at the climbing tower and learning to make a fire at the Pioneer Cabin; they also got to play with our chickens!

After lunch and rest hour, campers also started activity rotations today. A favorite camper activity is fencing, and they were out in full force on the front field this afternoon, practicing their extensions and parrying. Other campers headed to our back field and took a taste of gardening, literally tasting cucumbers, etc., as they took a tour. They also pulled a bunch of potatoes. Other campers were up at the archery range, practicing their aim. Campers will spend today learning about proper stance and technique; tomorrow they will get a chance to shoot at the moving target and at the “dream” shot, a target that is set further back, with a small black square in the center. In outdoor cooking, campers caramelized sugar and then popped up some popcorn—presto! Caramel popcorn, all made over a campfire. We’ll see what else campers will cook up in activities tomorrow!

We ended the evening with our traditional Upper Council Fire. Sandy opened the campfire, reading Chief Seattle’s letter (the document purported to be Chief Seattle’s response to President Pierce’s inquiry about buying tribal lands). We heard more readings and sang some songs, and then we finished with a story from Bob. We’re looking forward to more exciting events tomorrow!