“Any meal is a good meal on a good river,” said Edward Abbey, the great environmental essayist. For my friend Annalee and I, that was peanut butter and apple slices on tortillas, dried fruit, and yogurt covered pretzels. It might not seem like much, but was just right for lunch as we paddled from Blue Bend on Anthony Creek back to Camp Alleghany for Girls this past Sunday. Below is part trip report, part camp blog.
Rain and cold weather at the end of the week changed our plans of an overnight canoe trip down the Greenbrier River to Camp. Instead, we camped at Alleghany on Saturday and planned a day trip in kayaks.
While the river was too high for The Barge to cross, we paddled our small boats across the swift water, with gear and my dog, Philae*, in tow. Philae was not excited about being stuck in the kayak with me as we crossed, but was thrilled to run around camp and see her (and my) new summer home!
With rain comes high water, as ‘Ghany Girls know all too well. Anthony Creek, a major tributary of the Greenbrier, was at a great level for some mild whitewater. As it drops into the Greenbrier 9-10 miles above camp, it was an easy shuttle for a great trip. We put in at Blue Bend Recreation Area, a popular spot for counselors on time off, and the 16s day off.
The water was an incredible blue-green, flowing through rhododendron covered mountain sides as we descended towards the river. Lots of Class II water made for a great float. There were waves, boulders, ledges — and so many smiles and laughs.
The creek was narrow, swift, and steep in places. The river, normally flat and slow during the summer months, was full of water and pushed us along quickly. The shoreline gave evidence of last year’s flood in washouts and landslides, but it added to the character of the river and the trip.
As we paddled under cover of the mountains, around bends, and through some big waves, I marveled that this would be my home for the summer.
After getting in to camp and running the shuttle to collect our car, Annalee and I unloaded our bikes for a short ride up the Greenbrier River Trail. A six mile round trip past some beautiful falls and riverside beauty had us hungry for supper. We enjoyed a delicious meal in town at The Asylum, then a paddle back across the river, and we were ready for a night beneath the moon and stars.
Camp has so much to offer anyone lucky enough to get out here. From the wonders of the natural world to the amazing community built around it. I feel lucky to have found Camp Alleghany. Every ‘Ghany Girl and ‘Ghany Guy I’ve come across has been warm and welcoming. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to become a part of it. I eagerly anticipate being able to give some of those same opportunities to all the wonderful young women who will join us this summer.
In fact if you’re thinking about camp for your daughter, you might want to download Assistant Director Elizabeth Shreckhise’s free e-book, 3 Reasons to Begin Your Child’s Sleepaway Summer Camp Journey Early. It’s a great guide to sleepaway summer camp that can help you learn more about the benefits of summer camp for kids today and give you insight into what time at camp would be like.
Hope to see you here at camp this summer, and I can’t wait to get back on the river!
— Casey Tucker, Program Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls
*Philae comes from the Greek word Philos for friend or beloved. -ae is a corrupted ending to make it feminine, as philos is a masculine word. I studied ancient Greek in college, and that was the nerd in me naming my dog.