Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rockmont Rocks!

Camp Rockmont is only for Trailblazers, the 4th grade and older kids that have completed the 1st through 3rd grade years of the Indian Princess program with the YMCA. In a way, this is kind of the swan song for Ella's Indian Princess journey with me; it's the culmination of the program. Of course we enjoy doing fun things together and that will continue for as long as she wants to do fun volunteer stuff.  We may or may not go back to Rockmont next year, it is an incredibly expensive trip. But the point of the program is for us to enjoy spending time together, and that goal has been achieved a million times over.

We just got back from the Revolution3 Cedar Point full iron trip late Tuesday night. Wednesday I had some stuff to do around the house, just unpacking and recovering.  We did go to the Farmers Market for a sampler meal that I'm calling the "Ironman's Revenge".  Witness:
Ironman's Revenge - the ultimate ironman recovery meal

Thursday I got everything packed and Ella and I headed to Black Mountain, just northeast of Asheville NC. We rode with my buddy Carl and his daughter. I've enjoyed getting to know the other dads in the tribe as much as Ella has enjoyed getting to know the other girls.  After getting unpacked at the camp, we grabbed dinner at a local mexican restaurant, and my parents drove up from Greenville to drop off some costumes mom had made for the kids and hang out for a bit!  The girls all had a blast hanging out as well.

Checked into the cabin!

I love taking my girl to camp!

We cut them off after a few margaritas
One of the other dads had a genius idea that worked out great on Thursday night. We hung a sheet on the wall outside of the cabin, and had a projector that you could plug an iPad into. So we all sat out on the porch and watched Secretariat. I had never seen it, and that was a great horse movie!

The cabin we got was brand new and in a primo location. And it turns out my buddy Keith from work was staying in the very next cabin with his sons tribe! Too cool.

Friday morning we got up nice and early for a good breakfast before going whitewater rafting! Yes we were about to tackle the French Broad river with some nice class II and class III rapids.  It sounds intense to take 4th graders out like that, but they had a blast and were completely safe the entire trip.

Beautiful day in the mountains!


Ready to hit the river
We had about a 50 minute bus ride out to the river company, Blue Heron Whitewater. From there it was another 20 minute bus ride to the put in location, and time to meet up with the guide and get in the water.

Photobombed by a Yeti!
At Blue Heron waiting to board
One of the other girls in our tribe and myself.  The raft in the background is the rest of our tribe.
We stopped at one point to jump off of this rock into a swim hole. Ella didn't want to jump, but I didn't want to miss out! It was about a 10' jump, but I'm 6' tall. and from 16' up, that water looks intimidating.  It was awesome.
Finally after a big stop at the swimming hole and some good rapids, we stopped for lunch.  One of the other dads had a camera there, so he sent a few pics over.

Ella with the other 2 girls in our boat


They grow up so fast


Dads - they grow up so fast!
This trip was one in a million. It was a beautiful day to be out on the river. The water was high and the rapids were hard.  It was a lot of fun for everyone involved. Friday night we went into Asheville for dinner after some quick showers back at camp. I also totally took a nap on the bus ride back while Ella played on my phone.

This may have been breakfast before we hit the river

After rafting back at the cabin

Wicked Weed's Black IPA - amazing!

Taking kids to a brewpub didn't turn out to be a good idea. Dads loved it, them not so much.

The Orange Peel is a small concert venue in downtown. Kelley and I saw G. Love and Special Sauce there when she was pregnant with Ella! So of course I had to tell her all of those crazy stories.
We ended up getting pizza at a place in Black Mountain, it was wood fired and amazing.  Then it was back to camp for a peaceful night before getting into some serious camp activities on Saturday.


Have map, will navigate camp

Archery - she did really good this year!


 We started with the dry land activities.  Archery, the climbing wall, riflery, canoeing, all of the fun camp stuff. She really enjoyed all of the activities, and got higher on the climbing wall than she's ever gone before. It was also her first time shooting a gun larger than a BB gun (but we shot some BB's too) when we got on the range with some .22's.  She handled it really well even though she was a bit afraid of the sound! The morning activities were a blast.

Getting in the harness

ready to climb

size reference - the green tape to the left is about her height

Going up!

And up! over the green tape now


Making her way up!

.... and swinging freely after falling out.  Might have scared dad a bit.

Holy crap she's still going!




And this was as high as she got.  Higher than anyone else in the tribe!



 


BB Guns



Very excited she hit a pie plate this year!

playing on a hillside - that girl loves the mountains!



Ready to shoot rifles



The girl is a pretty good shot!
After lunch we changed into the swimsuits and hit the water sports.  Not nearly as many pictures of these, but I did start by tackling the Gully Washer, the giant green slide in the lake shots above. This thing drops you about 150 ft and sent me crashing into the lake.  it was pretty awesome, certainly not something I've ever tried before.  It also shows how much Ella has grown; in the past I would have to stay right next to her the entire time. This time I handed her my stuff to carry (inc phone and shoes) and she went down to watch me slide. That means she had to navigate her own way around the camp, find the lake, carry the stuff without dropping anything, and be down there by the time I got through the line and made it down the slide.  By 5th grade maybe she'll be able to get a picture of me coming out of the slide, but still this took a lot of trust for me.  so cool.

Next we hit the Kayaks, then got to swim around in the lake some until it was time for the blob contest.  Now, a blob contest might sound like something I'd do before I lost all the weight, but check this out instead:



Now who wants to see Daddy incur some serious pain? That was one of the other dads in our tribe sending me about 15 feet in the air.  We got points for height and pain factors, but not much style. Still put us in the top 20% or so of all of the dads participating in the blob contest.  That high dive was 12' off of the water and I got bounced higher than that.  Then I panicked and wiggled like a fish some before falling on my side and practically hitting the blob again. Ouch!  That was a ton of fun.

Before I knew it, we were at the saturday night dinner and then heading home.

The whole tribe now as 4th graders

Hanging out by the lake

Child stuffing her face

She didn't want to leave! We already had the car packed up so she's hanging in an empty bunk. :(
We headed out Saturday night instead of Sunday morning because the guy we rode with had an early flight on Sunday afternoon. So we could have spent one more night not sleeping in those humid swampy cabins, eaten a sad breakfast then driven home, or gone saturday night and slept in our own beds.  I think we totally won Rockmont, we only had to spend 2 nights there, got to do the rafting and everything we wanted to do at camp, and this way I got to spend 2 days at home instead of only 1 during my vacation.

This was a very fitting finale to the Indian Princess program for Ella, even though I didn't really tell her that we don't do anything else specifically with her tribe.  We'll still do crafts and volunteer projects together. And we'll still get together with the other kids and dads in her tribe whenever we can. We had a wonderful time at Camp Rockmont and on the river and I wouldn't change a thing.