Valentine’s Day and Back to the Rock with Heigh Ho!

An Illahee camper throws a pot on the wheel.
Working clay on the wheel in ceramics is one of many skills learned at camp.

Tonight had that summer feel to it. There were fireflies everywhere, neighbors were out visiting on their porches, yet it is still cool in the mountains. The sweetness and innocence of summer. There is something that feels very “fifties” about Dolly’s ice cream. It’s a low-slung building with ice cream cone shaped lights slung from the rafters and a bright neon shaped cone out front that beckons anyone who enters the Pisgah National Forest. Dolly is always there when Illahee girls come, which they do at least once a session, and sometimes more…usually in conjunction with a trip to Sliding Rock. She is a master of flavors, and counts among the many tubs  Music Camp Obsession, Chosatonga Cyclone, High Rocks Arctic Slide, and the original and still the best, Illahee Swirl. Of course, you can still get chocolate or vanilla too. Illahee girls love their ice cream, and they love to visit on the porch in the rocking chairs, and out in the front yard on the Bear benches. As with many of our favorite things, it’s as much about the experience as it is about the ice cream.

I’m a bus driving fool these days and I love it…camp adventures! Tonight, Dave and I took the middlers, Heigh Ho to Sliding Rock. It was warmer tonight than last evening with Pineview, and we had lots of girls sliding 3 and 4 times each. Dave, our program director, made his inaugural trip with me, and loved it. It’s just such a happy place, full of excitement. What’s not to love? The rest of camp had Valentine’s Day festivities in the Rec Lodge. Half the camp dressed as girls, the other half as boys. There were skits and songs, all with a Cupid theme, and the debut of the “Monster Tron” new movie screen that pulls down from behind the stage. We have yet to show a movie on it, but Caroline emceed with a little help from the dancing ball up on the screen…sing-a-long lyrics.

Bill fired up his grill this morning to treat everyone to stacks of steaming hot dessert plate-sized pancakes with sausage links, yogurt and fresh blueberries. Yummm! Quesadillas were served for lunch with seven-layer salad, and fresh guacamole made by Dee. The salad bar has been a big hit, including the extras she is making for the Encore table. I like to call dinner Cracker Barrel after the roadside restaurant of the same name. Baked ham, homemade mac and cheese, green beans, homemade corn bread, fried okra, and homemade strawberry shortcake for dessert. Three home runs for the kitchen crowd!

Ben, our trips kayaking head included some trips training kayakers on a trip to the lower Green River near Saluda North Carolina today. The climbers went to Rumbling Bald, and had a great day as well. Our “farm” girls had Barnaroo (Bonnaroo spoof 🙂 and tie-dyed t-shirts, played music, and enjoyed an afternoon at the farm. I missed this nature find, but Nature Steve’s crew discovered a water snake curled up on a pile of…duck eggs while searching for aquatic critters. Apparently, that is a “holy grail” find for someone who is of that inclination…he had a field day teaching the girls about that double find.

I also enjoyed getting up to ceramics today where Beth, our clay guru has the girls gettin on with it…there are some cute bird-shaped bird feeders on the drying racks, but I enjoyed watching her teach girls to throw on the wheel. Ceramics is getting rave reviews. The weather is great, the girls are all settled in. Can you believe that tomorrow marks the one-week mark of the session? I can’t. Camp days go by so fast!

Technical Note. It usually happens once a summer and I know it’s a pain, but we screwed up today’s gallery and had to recreate it…which means when everything gets back up, you will have to retag your camper pictures. (Sorry!) We won’t do it again (until next summer) :-).