Last week, a new trip camp was held at Mount Luther called “High Adventure QUEST.” One of the counselors on that trip, Courtney Dunn, wrote a recap of their adventures. Here it is:
Adventure was all around for those who made the journey to the Susquehanna River last week. Campers and counselors alike eagerly jumped into kayaks on Tuesday and paddled over to the island which would be our home for the next two days. Upon first stepping out of the kayaks and onto shore, it was apparent that mud and sand were going to be a permanent part of our stay. Feet and footwear, no matter what color they were when we got into the kayaks, were quickly brown and caked. For some, this was simply a refreshing start to our adventure. Others, well, they ran to the water to wash off as quickly as possible.
We weaved our way onto the island until we found our campsite and where campers quickly made themselves comfortable on lounge chairs near the water’s edge. The view of the mountains was instantly breathtaking. It was as if we had found a place completely our own, distancing ourselves from the rest of the world for a short period of time. The only sight that compared to this was that of an outhouse tucked back in the foliage! What a relief!
Once everyone had made it to shore and our food was delivered by Chris, the owner of the island, we prepared ourselves for our first trip down the Susquehanna. We leapt into our kayaks and pushed off shore. We followed our guide on a leisurely trip down river. Campers grouped together to take pictures and tell stories; even more so to splash one another with the cool water. It may not have been the most silent trip, but the laughter was just as refreshing.
We kayaked for an hour before reaching our landing site. We stepped out of our kayaks, now filled with mud from our own feet, and pulled them onto the bank. While we waited for our rides, we made our way to a nearby playground where the campers instantly ran onto the jungle gyms and swing sets. Sharing our Camp Mount Luther kindness, a group of campers met a young girl climbing on the jungle gym. They introduced themselves and invited her into the group. They were so kind to her that she decided to show them her best cheer from cheer practice, and we all applauded her for her talent. I couldn’t help but notice her mother on a nearby bench. The smile on her face was enough to know that these campers had really impressed her with their kindness.
The vans arrived and we left the playground to return to our campsite. Once again we kayaked to shore, helping one another as best we could to get ashore without slipping in the mud. We settled in for our first evening on the island, setting up tents and preparing supper…oh wait. The counselors set up the tents and made supper. The campers were too comfortable in their lounge chairs! Once we dined on hamburgers prepared to perfection by Pastor Dan May, we decided that the water was simply too tempting. We put on our bathing suits and waded in for a refreshing river shower. By the time we were finished, it was getting dark outside. To perfectly finish the night, we sat around the fire for a silent worship…and s’mores!
The next day we woke up early to eat breakfast and prepare for a new day. We kayaked back across the river where we then headed off towards Bloomsburg University for some Quest adventures! Our first challenge when we arrived was the rock wall. Standing fifty feet high, this wall was pretty intimidating. Many of us had little experience on rock walls. We would be working as a team to help one another climb. Five people would be at the bottom attached to the rope that would belay the climber. The climber had to trust in those below to keep them from falling. It was an extreme bonding moment for the entire group. As the morning went on, many of us surprised ourselves in our accomplishments. Multiple campers made it to the top of the wall, ringing the bell at the top with a sense of success. Even Pastor Dan May took his turn on the wall as campers cheered him on. As a counselor, it was a moment of pride watching the group bond and cheer one another on. Without the encouragement from one another, many of us would not have made it as far as we had.
After a delicious lunch prepared by Chris, we made our way to the ropes courses. Our first task was to conquer the zip line. Once again, every one of us had a designated position so that we all had to rely on one another to complete the zip line. Screams of pure excitement were in the air as each of us flew across the line. We were all pumped up to try another challenge by the time each of us had conquered the zip line. We were lead to another obstacle called the Flying Squirrel. Similar to the rock wall, one person was hooked to one end of a rope while a group of others was attached to the opposite side. On the count of three, the group would run backwards as fast as they could, sending the individual on the other end up into the air. It was a lot of fun, especially for the campers that got to send their counselors flying! To top it off, we ended our day in Bloomsburg with some nice cold ice cream.
The next day, we were back on the river. It was a day of extreme heat, but the water was cool and refreshing. We paddled our way down the Susquehanna occasionally stopping to float. Although we did not see the bald eagle nest that Chris had told us about, we still had our fair share of wild birds. We passed a heron, some geese with their young ones, and two ducks. It was relaxing final trip for our last day on the island.
We made our final landing, dined on some PB & J sandwiches, then hopped back into our vans. It was time to head back to camp. Although we were upset to leave the island, we still had a short time at camp to find more adventure. Besides, we had so much to take back to camp with us- memories and sand fleas!