Sunshine peeked out from the clouds today for the first time in several days! It’s been a glorious day. Sunny, high’s in the mid 70’s, and a slight breeze. Like many of you who live around the Southeast we’ve had several days of heavy rain. We have a saying in our camp song, “even when it rains we play”. And play we did. We only missed one activity period all week due to weather. Much of the rain on Monday and Tuesday came at night or early morning. Wednesday it rained off and on all day. But no lightning or thunder. Richard, our program director, says he doesn’t remember a day when campers or counselors have had more fun. They played in the rain on the team sports field, built dams in wet weather streams, and got muddy. Nothing a warm shower wouldn’t solve at the end of the day. Wednesday night was a brief night program and each age group held a meeting with their head counselor to discuss the next day’s plans. Thursday would be an early wake up, with 7 buses rolling in for Trip Day!
Hunters and Trappers headed off to Chattanooga for a day indoors. First stop was the Spare Time bowling alley and arcade. Groups split up into lanes and bowled several games, bumpers in place to help make the rolls more friendly. Each camper then got a bit of cash to play some arcade games. After a sack lunch prepared by our kitchen they were off to the Tennessee Aquarium. The Aquarium is probably Chattanooga’s top attraction and completely revitalized downtown Chattanooga when it was built over 30 years ago. There are salt water and fresh water exhibits with hundreds of species of river and sea creatures. When they returned to camp a Papa John’s pizza dinner awaited them, much to everyone’s delight.
The Scouts spent the day in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee as they enjoyed their day at Dollywood, seeking all sorts of fast thrills. Campers returned proudly exclaiming that they’d ridden rides like the Tennessee Tornado and the Wild Eagle! Another fan favorite from our crowd, was the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, the Lighting Rod (top speed: 73mph!!) I’m told that the park was unusually slim in numbers yesterday with little to no wait times on rides because of the weather. Burgers and fries and milkshakes were enjoyed in the park at the end of the day.
It was off to white water raft for our older age groups. The Warriors headed to the Nantahala River for their rafting trip. After enjoying a sack lunch, they were briefed with safety instructions and off they went. The Nantahala is near Murphy, NC and is a perfect beginner rapids course. The river is cool and refreshing and Nantahala Falls, at the end, provides a big thrill. On their way home they enjoyed a piping hot pizza dinner from a local pizza company in Murphy, NC. For most boys, whooshing down the river rapids was the highlight of the day. Others couldn’t stop talking about how delicious the pizza was.
For the Braves and first year Chiefs, it was down the Ocoee River. They enjoyed floating down the river, surfing the rapids, and riding the waves. The Ocoee is a dam controlled river of the TVA with more adventurous runs. After their rafting run, they headed to The McCallie School in Chattanooga for some swimming and Mr. T’s pizza (a local favorite in Chattanooga).
I’m happy to report that our Chief 2’s arrived home safe and sound last night about 8PM CDT. Spirits were high despite all gear being soaked. It rained on them on the trail. A lot! Bonding through the trial was on full display when they returned. They were so proud of themselves. Boys and counselors alike were excited to read 4 days worth of mail and get a good, warm shower. This morning we strung makeshift clotheslines all over the cabin area to dry out their gear. It’s quite a sight! Before arriving home their bus stopped off at a local pizza eatery in Murphy, NC for all the pizza they could devour. Can you imagine how much pizza they must have eaten? Prior to pizza, their trail trip ended near the Nantahala River and the Nantahala Outdoor Center outpost. Inflatable kayaks were the preferred mode of transporation as they rafted the day away in the cool, mountain waters of the Nantahala.
Mrs. Gail treated us well and greeted us with warm piles of pancakes, served with sausage this morning. A welcome return to camp for all the trips. Richard treated us to a later Reveille this morning, 7:30, with morning watch in each cabin area after pancakes. Tonight some age groups are playing various games like Extreme 4 square or Spotlight while others are making S’mores around a campfire. The chief 2’s are enjoying a much deserved, laid back, trivia night on the Ridge.
Thanks for reading and good night for now, Glenn