Believe it or not, East Valley Ranch campers learned to drive during camp. They learned the basics of driving….a horse. Casper is our very patient and well-trained driving pony. Each girl had the chance to steer and guide him around the arena. We use long lines to allow the girls to walk behind the horse, just as they would if the horse were pulling a piece of farming equipment. It is a nice challenge and offers them a chance to try something new!
Rafting, biking, caving and to the lake and beyond! Our group has spent another day in the water – this time on the big 16 foot rafts and tackled another section of the river. They also biked for part of a day which campers enjoyed especially because of all the down hill they got to do! They also had an opportunty to check-out an old town along the route, see some waterfalls and bike over some bridges. Caving also went well – everyone made it through with flying colors! Some tighter sections challenged campers, and they all walked away covered in mud head to toe (who doesn’t love mud – makes everything fun!)!! Today was their rest day so the group decided to sleep in and make pancakes in the morning. After that they headed over to the lake to swim and play volleyball. Dinner out at Pizza Hut was great, followed by a campfire this evening.
Everyone is looking forward to climbing tomorrow and the rafting overnight Tuesday and Wednesday!
And they’re off!! Our mini-trips have departed and half of our campers are out hiking the Catskill hills while the other half is trying their luck climbing up rocks. Everyone will be home on Wednesday evening and blog entries and pictures will resume then!
Yesterday was the horses day off which means it is their one day of rest for the session when they do not get ridden. Instead they have a day of pampering, where all the girls come down to the barn and wash, bath and show groom their horses. There was a prize for best effort, best creativity and best overall turnout!
Last night’s evening program was capture the flag – a game that tests their skills for working together and also their tactical abilities.
As today is Sunday, the girls were allowed to sleep in late and relax after the busy week they have had. After breakfast, they headed to the barn where they groomed their horses in preparation for bareback riding! While some of the girls were riding, the other girls were vaulting on Jefferson and Boomer – our two huge draft horses over here in the East Valley. Vaulting is basically gymnastics on horseback!
This afternoon the girls will be making a huuuuuge mural for East Valley Ranch that will be put up somewhere at EVR to remember the great summer that we have had.
TOnight we will be having a BARN DANCE!!! The girls will get to dress up as cowgirls and dance the night away in the barn- the staff will teach them a couple of dances that we know .
WE LOVE EVR!!!!!
Today Adventure woke up bright and early, packed up their overnight gear and headed up to breakfast. From there, the group started with a firebuilding class – which went really well according to our campers! They were very successful in finding dry tinder and kindling and starting campfires in the woods. After that they took a stroll up the creek to a place called Devil’s Hole. They lounged out on the flat rocks above the watering hole before using some mud exfoliation techniques to cleanse their skin (and because mud is FUN).
After lunch everyone started packing up for their mini-trips tomorrow. Our backpacking group learned such skills as how to fit and pack a pack properly, how to use the dragonfly stoves and how to pack their food so animals don’t get into it. Our climbers practiced useful knots they will need to know on Monday and went over some of the key equipment used.
This evening everyone is gearing up for the Hird (our older half of resident camp – ages 12-15) dance in the dining hall!
Our Adventure Village group is back on camp tonight instead of sleeping over at Merrell’s Pavillion. Due to some severe thunderstorms hitting our area this afternoon/evening our group headed back to camp a night early. Although disappointed they weren’t able to go to Merrell’s tonight, they had an absolute blast over at the farm. They had a chance to feed the new baby goats (just three weeks old!), pet the llama, hold the rabbit and chase the chickens. On top of all that, they played a game called “Popcorn King” in which teams compete to make the most popcorn in a set time period. They have certain tasks they need to complete and must “buy” items in order to make their popcorn. They earn this money by doing a variety of activities from dancing to singing to answering trivia questions.
Tonight they will be doing a camp-in at the Castle where they will participate in a challenge night before laying down sleeping bags for the evening.
Pictures from the Farm hike will be up late tonight or first thing tomorrow morning – stay tuned!!
Camouflage is a game the girls learn while hiking that teaches them how to blend in with their environment. It is an exciting and silly challenge that they all enjoy!
When working with horses it is critical to have a good understanding of horse behavior. Being able to read a horse’s mood helps you to know when things are going really well, and when you need to be careful. A horses ears are the easiest way to tell what they are thinking, as their ears are little radars and face the direction of the horses attention. The girls learn the ear signals for a happy horse, unhappy horse, nervous horse, and angry horse. The best way to see behaviors first hand is to watch the horses when they are turned out in the pasture together. Horses use the same signals to communicate with each other as they do when communicating with people. This is a picture from observing horses in the field where girls watch and have to describe a horses mood based on how they behave. It is also a fun and interactive way for girls to learn about how horses behave in the wild!
It’s not unusual to see deer and other small animals around camp. However, this summer we’ve had two deer that seem to show up everywhere! We know they’re the same pair because one is a young male who’s just starting to grow his antlers. It’s also unusual because they are very comfortable having people come within about 5 feet of them. This morning, they were spotted on the edge of Big Tree Field eating and playing.
Today the village started their day with pancakes and sausages for breakfast and a period of “The Council.” The Council is an Adventure Village original program that involves running around camp in a group and making good-natured havoc. They do such things as finding a director and running around that director in circles singing a silly song. They then run off without giving any explanation to the person.
After that, they jumped on our new-old zipline. Before we built our Y-Tower and the new zipline, we used to have one back in the woods. Our Teambuilding director resurrected that old zipline just a few weeks ago and opened it up for our campers this summer.
After lunch – our crew was going to start hiking to the farm, but ran back inside when we had a short thunderstorm. When the sun came back out about 30 minutes late our group hiked off property, up and over the mountain to the Frost Valley Farm (about 3 miles all together). They’ll be spending the night at the farm tonight, doing an activity in the morning and then hiking to another location called Merrell’s Pavillion for a second night out.