It’s been a week and a day since the torrential rains made a temporary lil’ swamp out of Junior and Senior Camps in the great West Virginia Flood of 2016. (To read the story of how we prepared for the rains and river rise, and took care of our Mini Campers, read our earlier blog on that from this week.)
Though rising waters had retreated within about 12 hours, by about 2pm last Friday, clearly the storm left its watermark…and mudmark! We needed to do a big time clean up, some repairs, and focus on getting back to the season, our #95thSummer as a camp.
And what can First Term, Second Term, and Family Campers expect in the wake of the flood? I hope to fill in as much of that as I can in this blog post today.
So put on your puddle jumpers and dive in with me!
Here’s mud in your eye!
The main issues that we were looking at were the fact that our main entrance road on the camp side of the river had become a creek, and that there was MUD everywhere! (The other side of the river, on Storehouse Road, is fine.)
I’d like to think that there’s some potential to be a Spa somewhere in there – luxury mud baths anyone? But muddy tennis? Muddy archery? Not so much!
Garrett actually was able to get a simple road made by Monday by using some equipment to shove rocks out of the way that had washed in. The entrance of camp will forever look different to those familiar with it.
Earlier this week we still had a LOT of work to do, but the main goal was to be able to get a truck driving on that road so food can be delivered, trunks moved through, and other access. That’s happening (yes to food and trunks!) and yet is also a work-in-progress in terms of continually improving our use of the camp-side roads.
For those long-time Alleghany people, imagine Crystal Creek now flowing behind Cowbell and down into the entrance of camp, rocks and all! Clearly Mother Nature has carved (and will continue over the years to carve) her place in the landscape of Camp Alleghany and we will adjust and move with her.
The tents had a lot of mud in them, so we power washed the platforms and canvas tents, as well as sanitized them. Then, in spite of some intermittent rains, left them to dry out.
A handful of tent floors out of our 68 tents needed to be repaired, tested, and put back in place, as well as a handful of tent poles. That’s been done. But thankfully the majority of our tents stayed upright and intact, with only a handful pulled down by the current.
The Tennis Courts had layers of mud on them – unfortunate after our L.O.L. Weekend when Alum hubby Joe Duane had so lovingly and masterfully just power washed them days prior to the flood! Ugh!
Tennis is one activity area that may not be ready to begin right away. A couple of courts are almost ready, but all six won’t be ready by Sunday. We’re getting there, and have some great people spending dedicated time on re-sprucing up the courts, so we will get there.
The Rifle Range needed some gravel and a little TLC but it should be fine as the ground absorbs the water, and the sun dries things out bit by bit. Expect the walkways up there to look a little different what with Mother Nature re-aranging some rocks and such, but otherwise it’s good to go.
Swimming and Canoeing should operate as normal, possibly without docks, but as long as the Greenbrier River is down at a normal level and the water is clear, we will get in it!
Just as every year at camp we watch the river levels on a daily and every hourly basis at times (depending on weather and upstream conditions), we’ll do the same, monitoring it hyper-regularly. Going forward with the summer, our river life and Waterfront Activities won’t be any different just because it came up so high during the flooding incident.
The river is always fluctuating, has already retreated and normalized in certain ways, and we expect it to otherwise be a normal summer of daily monitoring for height and current before authorizing that day’s water activities.
Now, there will be MUD, MUD, MUD everywhere in camp, all summer long. Everyone coming should be prepared for soggy ground. We hope it will dry up, but it’s so saturated that even with normal rainfall added to the ground, it will continue to be soggier than usual. We want everyone prepared so ‘Ghany Girls, bring those boots!
Our roads in camp (the Camp side of the river) are still rocky, gravel-y, muddy, (the Admin Team and Garret’s crew drive on these with the golf carts, etc.) and we’re still working on getting them more ready for Sunday (and will continue to work on it beyond).
For those familiar with our camp side Barge drop and entrance, Garrett rebuilt the fence along the bank and it’s further back now, so that will look different – and NO ONE is allowed on the other side of the fence! This entrance is also due to have the doorways repaired by a company similar to this Industrial Door Company that offers customized commercial door repair services.
The fence is acting as much as border as guard as the areas beyond are not fully safe at this time. Of course campers are never really near this, except in the way general vicinity (but not actually near) during Opening and Closing Day drop-offs and pick-ups. But NO daily Camp programing takes place here.
The Irony, The Irony!
One thing that’s so vexing to us this year is that Camp Alleghany had never looked better!
Between various camp enhancements (read our off-season blogs about facilities), our on-schedule realization of those projects this year, and our super successful L.O.L. Weekend, camp was literally sparkling.