Gone to Carolina

Summer Fun has officially begun! It was a 10 hour ride in a van overstuffed with 4 trunks, 6 backpacks, 6 sleeping bags, one suitcase,  assorted hanging clothes, 8 pillows and blankets, 2 boxes of groceries, 2 adults, 4 teenagers and 2 children. I thought the doors would pop off when we arrived at our heavenly destination. The sounds of bickering teens and restless young-uns gave way to ooohs and ahhs as we wove around the foothills of North Carolina. Dear Daughter, the summer counselor, met us at Camp Kahdalea with squeals and hugs. Then we packed her up for a two day hiatus with the clan.
Our cabin was called Bear's Den,
and this is the view from the loft window.....
The kids spent the evening exploring the trails
and coating themselves in red clay.

We had some time to settle in, discuss sleeping arrangements, and set a few kids outside to camp for the evening. That lasted until 3 am. After two came in for extra blankets, I called the third in for the night. There will be plenty of time for overnight outings during summer camp. Besides, after a long day's drive and a full day of sights to see in the morning, we needed some rest.

First stop in Pisgah National Forest was Looking Glass Falls....
It was a delight to run along the rocks while the falls misted our faces. Then a few of the kids got serious about exploring the landscape waterscape.

It was cold and slippery, but well worth the time.
Grandma enjoyed the view from a dry, safe distance.
But I couldn't resist the up close and personal tour.
Then we rallied the gang together to sun themselves dry on this rock,
Before piling in the car to drive over to Sliding Rock.
There is an underground mountain spring 
fueling this natural waterslide,
at a rate of 11,000 gallons a minute, 
downhill for 60 feet, over smooth rock
BREATHTAKING, literally.
Did I mention that the water temperature was in the low 50's?
Again, Grandma found the perfect spot to enjoy the fun, 
from a dry distance.
While we slid down the rock over and over again...

Until lips turned purple and we had to take a breather.
The water was frigid, but the smiles were warm and happy.

 Except for those too cool to smile.
Must be time for lunch. After a short break to refuel,
we were off to Devil's Courthouse.
Now we were assured the hike would be short and sweet.
Those are stairs at the bottom of a steep trail. Once Grandma found her spot to rest, she agreed it was worth the effort to see the falls at Devil's Courthouse.
Especially when the show began.
These crazy guys are about to take a 45 foot jump to the base of the falls. Apparently they come as a group twice a week. There is always someone attempting the leap for the first time. It apparently takes most a good 20-30 minutes to muster up the courage for that first jump. Others just don't stop to think about it. 
Oh, to be 20 again. 
No Thanks.
I'll keep my gray hairs and wisdom, if you don't mind. 
Dear Daughter admits that she made the jump the week before we arrived. She's been sworn never to repeat the jump in my presence, or in the presence of her siblings. Be still my heart. I can feel more hairs turning gray as I think about it. Time to make her watch the Youtube videos documenting the ER visits from Devil's Courthouse accidents. 

As the crowd below counts down, fool number one takes the leap.
Luckily no one needed a 911 call while we were there. We watched a few guys take the plunge, and decided that my kids would be allowed to jump from this rock instead...

But the water was ever colder than Sliding Rock, 
so some of us sat it out.
Time to round up the mermaids after they swam through the falls
And head back to Bear's Den for hot dogs and smores.

 And a mud facial.
Or whatever that was...
Rest assured, we all slept well. 
Will post opening day at Camps Kahdalea and Chosatonga tomorrow.
Meanwhile, you might be interested in this video of some guys taking the Devil's Courthouse Falls plunge.  DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend this stunt. No matter how many times a week these guys practice,there is always a chance that it will go wrong. 

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