Royalty Abounds in the Heavenly World!

Camper reads book during rest hour
Rest Hour is the Perfect Time to Read a Good Book!

I “get” the fascination with this spring’s royal wedding. Though I would deny this to my mountain bike buddies, or the crowd I count on to watch the Super Bowl with, I logged a few hours of coverage myself. We all need a good party to distract us once in a while. Life’s a celebration after all. So it makes sense that our terrific CITs would choose this as the theme for Surprise Day. The wedding was all the buzz. Counselors were watching it between exams…campers with their moms (and dads). We awoke to a transformation to Great Britain. Our friends from the Paw Paw Patch became queen and court, replete with the complete entourage. Laurie went the extra mile and ordered 350 scones from the Bracken Mountain Bakery to complete our English breakfast of (of course) English muffins, sausages, cereal, and freshly cut fruit.

I took a group of 25 or so of our rising 7th graders up in the Black Balsam Range of Pisgah National Forest. Up there, it feels like you are on top of the world, and I guess we are as far as the east coast goes. Our hike today took us up above 6000 feet, a little shy of the tallest east coast peak at 6684. It was probably the clearest day I have ever scene up there…”severe clear” as we call it in the aviation world…nothing but blues skies, and crisp mountain air. The bluets, mountain laurel, Catawba rhododendrons, and flame azalea were all displaying a riot of color themselves. I’ve turned into my dad as I couldn’t help but point out the striations in the exposed granite and speak of plate tectonics, the quartzite and granite formations…we talked about the Great Depression and the men who built the Blue Ridge Parkway and lived in the CCC camps. I pointed out South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee and all the peaks I knew in those directions. Extra oreos were the reward for those who humored me with a listening ear…(more than you might imagine). Rising 7th graders are such a great age. Still awkward, willing to be goofy, so appreciative of the opportunity to get out and see new things. We had a blast. And the staff…wow! Your girls are in good hands.

In a parallel world, Ben and Lindsey were leading a group of Trips hiking girls on a big adventure up the east fork of the Pigeon River. They bushwacked some, working on dead reckoning skills, and started a fire to cook lunch. We converged at Dolly’s for a congratulatory scoop of her finest before returning to camp.

The dinner menu was also arranged by the wedding committee and included baked turkey and dressing, warm yeast rolls, mashed potatoes, and salad…with wedding cake for dessert. In a very creative evening program, each cabin received an identical straw hat, and craft materials, and were to create a masterpiece fit for a royal wedding or a “fascinator.” There were some extremely creative entries, including some that had no resemblance to the original. Each hill also dressed attendees to the royal couple, and interviews and parades with the entrants, complete with the appropriate accents, proved quite hilarious. The reception to the wedding was the best part, with a dance party for all of the participants.

Tomorrow begins our encampment at Kuykendall. Each hill will take a short drive to enjoy an overnight with grilled burgers and dogs, lots of field games and creek stomping, s’more making over an open campfire, and a good night’s sleep under the stars (if weather permits), or under tents and tarps if there is a drizzle. We’re having a big time in the Heavenly!