Monday morning around 9:30, Cabin 5 (Warrior cabin of rising 7th graders) took a drive over to Desoto Falls, a giant 100+ foot waterfall in Little River, that’s a part of the Desoto State Park system. A bit west of the falls are some great rock peaks for rapelling. Aided by our friends and guides from Higher Ground, these boys rapelled down these cliffs to the canyon floor, approximately an 80 foot drop. Of course it’s optional, but I think most boys have tried it. Boys at this age are actively looking for ways to take risk. It’s a normal feeling as the rest of life will present various risks or challenges for them to face. One of our jobs as adults is to steer them towards managed, well thought out risk taking and away from some of the more adolescent, dangerous risks that are out there. Camp is a great place to gain confidence in appropriate risk taking. Following this cabin, each Warrior cabin has had or will have a half day shot at the rapelling trip this week.
Similarly, Higher Ground is leading groups of Braves and Chiefs (rising 8th-10th) on all day, out of camp rock climbing treks this week. These boys must first be in a Climbing activity at Alpine to qualify. This prerequisite provides the safety knowledge and skills necessary for a successful day on the rocks. They climb about 45 minutes away at a place called Sand Rock Village.
Last night we celebrated Taco Tuesday with an outdoor picnic taco buffet. The weather is simply magnificent. A rain front moved through overnight Monday night, cooled the temps and took all the humidity with it. Light breezes and sunshine have lifted spirits yesterday and today. And forecast for the next few days. What a gift for late July!
And speaking of lifting spirits, today is Mountain Day at Alpine. This is a celebration that grown men still think about and wish for and it happens only twice a year, once in each full term.
One of our former maintenance men serves our community on the North Lookout Mountain Volunteer Fire Dept (and he’s also now our Mentone Police Chief, a good relationship to have!). Gene was able to bring one of the fire trucks again this term. Carter, Bully, head staff, and I hopped on board. Riding through camp with sirens blaring, we eagerly woke up each cabin area.
Campers streamed out of cabins decked out in costume. I think this morning may have been one of the best Mountain Days for costumes I can remember. It’s not every day you walk to breakfast next to an alien, a gladiator, and a giant dinosaur. I saw a boy riding a monkey, a large 9 year old “baby” complete with bib and bonnet, a Jedi knight, and quite a few superheros.
Country band Alabama is the music of choice for Mountain Day (the hometown boys hail from just down the mountain in Fort Payne, AL and still reside in the area). Dixieland Delight and Mountain Music swirled through the air as we enjoyed pancakes with chocolate chips and blueberries for breakfast. Spontaneous singing and dancing and even a conga line broke out while we ate.
After breakfast we gathered in the adjacent field to the Dining Hall for an all camp morning watch. Roderick Russ reminded us that God is the bread of life and living water that is eternal, ultimately satisfying and saving over all things on earth. He then instructed campers to change into their tribe shirts, Mohawk blue and Cherokee red, for our next Mountain Day tradition.
Our Team Sports staff brought us a full morning of Olympic competition, tribe vs. tribe. Field events, tug of war, and some relays kept us busy all morning. The event began with a playing of our national anthem as horseback head Richard Thornton, riding Blackjack, galloped in holding the American flag. Dance and motivational music punctuated the entire event, leading to spontaneous dancing in between field games. The cool morning certainly helped provide stamina for the relays.
For lunch, Mrs. Gail’s Mountain Day special: BBQ chicken awaited us. She slow cooks it all night. By the time it reached our tables it was falling off the bone. Served with green beans, mashed potatoes, salad, and strawberry shortcake, we feasted.
As I write this our older boys are playing Alabama Gold Rush. It’s a hybrid between capture the flag, tag, and an egg hunt played by Scouts, Warriors, Braves, and Chiefs, throughout most of camp. The boys love it!
Hunters cheered with delight when announced that they would have the entire waterfront on Little River this afternoon to themselves. Our Trappers are enjoying an afternoon “swim meet” with mostly silly and fun games at the pool.
The best part of the whole day (and maybe the term) will come at sundown. The Alpine County Fair. With snowcones, freshly popped popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream I probably need not say much more. But there’s so much more.
Currency at the fair is dried pinto beans for games and a limited number of tickets for food items. Loaded with an envelope full of beans, boys are turned loose in the gym and field to play fair type games to their heart’s content.
Booths line each side of the gym. Take the Plunge (tossing rings into plungers), the Cake Walk, and Wheel of Fortune are a few of the favorites. And outside the gym there’s a chance to dunk your favorite head counselor in water with a baseball toss.
The evening will be topped off with a fireworks show on the Team Sports Field.
Tomorrow will begin the last full rotation of regular activities, working our way through the schedule over the next few days.
Hopefully, you received an email yesterday with some details about Closing Day. We wanted to get those out to you early in case you need to make travel plans still. I’ll repost here in a few days.
Thanks for reading, Glenn