Session 5 Day 2

By Sandy Schenck

Our Session 5 campers jumped into mentor hikes and activities full force today! Campers and staff headed out after breakfast for several of our favorite hiking spots around the Green River Preserve. Two groups set out for Uncle’s Falls, one of the Preserve’s gorgeous waterfalls. When they get to the Falls, campers can brave the cold water to become a “polarbear”—they stand under the waterfall for as long as it takes them to yell “polarbear” three times. They can also venture into the Salamander Cave, a cave where, well, lots of salamanders live. So today, we had quite a few polarbears and salamanders and polarmanders (or would that be salabears?!?)! They also saw a HUGE crawdad, some cool mushrooms, and some rattlesnake plantain—a plant that is flowering right about now in the Western North Carolina mountains. Another group hiked up to the Upper Bald, a “bald” rock face with a spectacular view. They did “solo sits” for a brief period of time, appreciating the beauty of the scene around them. One group set out from Base Camp and splashed up the Green River, seeking its source; it wells out from the ground in a series of springs behind Sandy and Missy’s house, right here at Base Camp. They also got to see lots of cool salamanders. Two groups paid particular attention to wild edible plants as they hiked along; blueberries are still in season, so they tasted those, and they took note of other plants like sassafras, too. One group kept encountering traces of animals, including a wild turkey feather and some bone-encrusted scat, believed to be that of a coyote! All in all, campers and staff saw lots of cool sights on their first round of mentor hikes today.

After lunch (make-your-own burrito, with chicken, refried beans, cheese, and guacamole), campers headed back to cabins for rest hour. Then, this afternoon, they started their first round of activities. Several campers were on the front field, practicing their extensions and parries in Fencing. Others were learning strokes in Canoeing. Many campers are taking Archery and BB Skeet; they were practicing their aim and shooting for the “dream shot,” a particularly challenging shot set up on each range. Campers who are taking Outdoor Cooking learned how to make corn bread over an open fire; campers who are taking Outdoor Skills made debris shelters.

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 in the 1800s 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!