We started the day by wishing our Trips girls adieu as the embarked on their three-day adventures as a finale to their skill-building sessions in climbing, kayaking and hiking. The climbers are at the Obed over in westernmost Tennessee at a storied slab of rock that attracts the best from all over the southeast. We have a source for a private campground that allows the girls to be a little removed from other enthusiasts. The kayakers were on the Chatooga river today, will be on the Nantahala tomorrow and section 9 of the French Broad on Wednesday. The Chattoga is the prettiest wild and scenic river around with headwaters in Cashiers, NC. It is remote and some of it is very challenging water. The girls will do section III, which is challenging enough! The Nantahala is one of the best teaching rivers around. Parallel to the road for most of its length, it draws its volume from the bottom of a lake, and is often misty in the hottest weather as the cold water meets the hot air. On a cooler day, there is great incentive to stay upright in the boat. Section 9 of the French Broad is water that has its headwaters near our own Hannah Ford Farm. After gathering volume throughout its length, it passes through Asheville and the site of the newly announced Fat Tire (New Belgium Brewery) East coast operations, and heads Northwest towards Tennessee. This is where our crew will pick it up. The trips are a great confidence booster for these older girls who have been building skills for some years. Our hikers are doing an overnight in the Shining Rock Wilderness. Called Shining Rock due to a very large outcropping of white quartzite, this is one of the most popular areas of our rugged mountains. The views are amazing, and the night should be beautiful.
Speaking of the farm, it has proved so popular with the girls that we loaded the entire camp up in two shifts…all 265 plus staff…in our blue and red finest…and headed to the farm for a giant game of Capture the Flag. Long an Illahee tradition, this is our first time out in a huge field. We have some nuances to our version of the game. There is a flag for each of the three hills…Hillbrook, Heigh Ho, and Pineview. Each of the red and blue teams (determined by odd and even cabins) has a posse of “taggers” in yellow pinneys. A circle around the flag is safe except when there is a jailbreak siren, when everyone has to run or get tagged and go back to jail. Sound complicated? It’s loads of fun and lots of running. The light was beautiful, and if I can get the website to work, you will be able to see the pictures.
This has been the most beautiful week of weather I can remember. It looks like it will continue through the end of the session too, although maybe a little warmer. It’s going to be a nice day tomorrow for all of our 8th graders who will head over to the Nantahala to raft the river with the good folks at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. I’m sure they will catch a glimpse of their kayaking buddies there. They’ll picnic on the ground of the N.O.C., raft the mighty Nanty and be back around dinner time. At camp, girls will start to finish up projects as we have our last Tree Day classes (Pine Days meet tomorrow)…hard to believe! We’ll enjoy some final shows in dance and drama. The day will start off with counselor Bible study at our house with yummy cinnamon rolls and Starbucks, a polar bear swim wit Tarzan and Streak for any girls brave enough, and a full slate of awesome activities. It’s going to be a big day, and I need some beauty rest!