Thursday, July 21, 2016

Horseback Riding and The Camp-Out

Hello future readers!

Last night before we went to bed, Vivienne and I packed our bags for the overnight camp-out today. When we leave for day camp this morning, we won't come back 'til tomorrow afternoon! Since Camp Falling Waters is in such a woodsy area, we don't even have to go anywhere for the camp-out, We can just stay right there! I'm so excited! When we got to day camp, we stashed our stuff in the gym, and I looked at the schedule.

After the Flag ceremony, we walked to the stable to get our horses. Since Laura told us yesterday we'd be going horseback riding, we were ready.

Vivienne let me borrow her western jeans and her red cowboy boots. Aren't they groovy?

Kevin came over to Vivienne's house after dinner and apologized for the spider on my back, and said I could borrow his cowboy hat for the ride today. I accepted his apology and the hat, but that doesn't mean I'm not gonna get him back somehow! Hee!

Vivienne, Betta and I took a group photo. I just love Vivienne's sombrero!

There were 3 horses at the stable, Morgan, Jefferson and Berkeley. I remember Morgan from the sleigh ride the last time I was here.

I think he remembered me too!

Aren't they beautiful? Since there are only 3 horses, we had to take turns. Laura help me mount Morgan and asked me if I had ever been horseback riding before. I told her about riding Cherokee in summer camp and the pumpkin farm, and told her I'd be fine.

Vivienne wanted to ride on Berkeley, and Betta wanted to ride Jefferson.

Vivienne wanted to brush the leaves out of Berkeley's mane before she took her out.

 The horses walked real slow and easy, so that the other kids could hike along beside us until it was their turn. Laura said we'd be going down the Fairy Trail, and to keep our eyes open for fairies, elves, and maybe even a troll or a gnome! Kevin was grumbling the whole way, because he said boys don't go for all that fairy stuff. That it was for girls! I reminded him that C.J. wasn't grumbling, and he said "What does he know? He's just a little kid." Oh brother. So as soon as I spotted a fairy house, I showed it to Kevin.

"They're OK, I guess", Kevin said to me. Even though he didn't say it, I could tell he thought the fairy houses were kinda cool. By this time, my tush started getting sore, so I let Evelyn have Morgan.

A little farther down the trail, Lydia got on Jefferson and Marcie rode Berkeley.

"Hey look!", said Marcie. "I see a gnome up there!" I had to laugh! It almost looked like it made a nest up in a tree!

Finally it was the boys turn to ride. C.J. mounted Jefferson and Kevin got on.....Berkeley? A girl horse? I must have been seeing things! Vivienne decided to tease him a little.

"Hey Kevin, you do know that's a GIRL horse with PINK reins, right?"
Then in a loud, deep voice, Kevin answered, "Silence, knave! I am the White Knight! And this is my trusty steed, Blanco. We're dragon slayers. And everybody knows that dragons and knights are better than fairies and gnomes!"
Lydia rolled her eyes. "Oh man, you've gotta be kid--"
"Look everybody!", C.J. yelled, interrupting Lydia. "I found some elves!"

Aww...they were so cute! They almost looked like little babies! Kevin said he'd better slay the dragon before the elves got barbecued! He pulled a branch off a dead tree and started swinging it around like a sword. Laura made him stop before he poked someone's eye out. It was time to head back up the trail to the day camp for lunch. When  we got back to the stable, Laura took a group photo of all of us and the horses!

 After lunch, some of the kids decided to stop into the Trading Post. It's actually a little camp store next to the mess hall where you can buy things like candy, gum, toothpaste for camping out, and little toys. I didn't forget my toothpaste, (I was sharing with Vivienne), but I wanted to go in there and see what it was like.

It was pretty neat. I went over to the section that had everything for a quarter. Outta site! Mrs. Walton had given  me and Vivienne a quarter each this morning before we left the house. There were a lot of fun things like games and crayons, and playing cards and trolls, and lollipops.

I finally decided to get a troll, since I didn't see any on the Fairy Trail. He would go great with the Halloween troll I have at home. Vivienne bought one too.

We could hear Laura calling us from outside, I paid for my troll and followed Vivienne out the door to the Mess Hall. Laura told us it was time to pick berries for our cooking challenge! Oh boy! She took us over to the tree line at the edge of the campgrounds where the blackberries grow.  She told us to make sure we only pick the dark ones 'cos the red ones weren't ripe yet.

She told us to only grab the berries, not the stems they grow from 'cos the thorns are sharp. She also warned us about the poison ivy that grew near the berries. "Leaves of 3, let it be."

Picking blackberries is fun! We all got purple fingers! C.J. kept sneaking and eating the berries he picked, until Betta caught him.
"C.J.! Quit eating the berries! We're not gonna have enough for our cooking challenge!"

When the bucket was full, it was time to set up camp. Laura set up the chairs, table and fire pit, and we had to set up our own tents. 

Here is the tent I shared with Vivienne.

Here's the boys' tent.

Evelyn, Marcie, Lydia and Betta set up their tents further back away from the fire. We ran up to the gym to get our gear.

Now that we were all set up, Laura told us it was time for the cooking challenge.
"I thought it was a contest", I said to her.
"No, it's more of a group campfire cooking project We're going to make a dump cake", Laura explained.
"What's that?", Marcie asked.
"Well, we're going to make a cake using only 3 ingredients, and no oven."
"You're kidding. How?", asked Lydia.
"What are the ingredients?", I wanted to know.

"We're using yellow cake mix, a small bottle of 7-UP, and the blackberries you just picked. As for the contest, I guess we'll just see who has the purplest tongue!" We all laughed.
"What is it going to bake in?" Betta asked. 
"A big cast iron pot", Laura told her. "Julie, you and Marcie take the berries into the mess hall and wash them. Kevin, you and C.J. gather some firewood."
When Marcie and I got back, Kevin was helping Laura start the fire. Then Laura told me to pour the blackberries into the bottom of the pot, then Vivienne added the cake mix. And finally Betta poured in the soda. And that was it!
"Don't we even have to mix it?" asked C.J.
"Nope, we just have to put the lid on. Once we get it on the fire, we'll put rocks on the lid to hold in the heat."

"Wow, that's all there is to it?" asked Kevin.
"That's it. In 35 minutes we'll have blackberry dump cake for dessert."
"But what about dinner?" asked Lydia. "I'm starved."
"Well Vivienne and Betta, you can go to the Mess Hall and get the cold cuts, bread and bug juice, and  we can eat!"
So we all had sandwiches and bug juice (Hawaiian Punch), and the dump cake for dessert! The cake didn't come out looking like a real cake. It was more like a mountain of cake that we had to scoop out and serve. But man was it good! I can't wait to tell my mom about this super way to make cake! When we were finished we had a sing-along. We sang "The Green Grass Grew All Around", "Father Abraham" and a really goofy version of "If You're Happy and You Know It". 

It was starting to get dark and a little chilly, so we all got our jackets, (except Kevin, he was getting hot tending the fire) so Laura could tell us a ghost story!

"OK, the beginning of this story dates back to the Civil War. There was a soldier who was wounded very badly in the Battle Of Falling Waters. He was shot in the stomach, and he, along with a bunch of other soldiers were taken to Hammond House. It served as a hospital for soldiers in those days. Nothing could be done for this poor man so the soldier lay in his hospital bed for days before he finally died. He was buried in an unmarked grave, which is why no one knows his name. Even though his body was dead and buried, his ghost wandered through the rooms and corridors of Hammond House, because he believed that he was still alive. He was angry because he thought the doctors and nurses had just ignored him and let him die. He believed that if he could just get someone to help him, he could be saved. At night, his ghost would wander the roads of Falling Waters. But every time his ghost ventured out into the night, a chilling, unearthly green fog filled the air. Fog so thick you could almost slice it with a knife. It was said that people riding their horses at night on those roads would crash into trees, or their horses would stumble over rocks and become lame, because they couldn't see where they were going. Now the story moves forward in time to about 10 years ago. A car salesman and his wife from Maryland owned a cabin in Hedgesville here in West Virginia. They would often take their vacations at this cabin. They loved the drive out here. They'd take the long, scenic route toward the Great North Mountain, and cross Back Creek. They would always leave early in the morning and spend a relaxing day driving and enjoying the countryside. But there was one time about 10 years ago in late October when they couldn't leave in the daytime. There had been a bad traffic accident, and the traffic moving north had been stopped for miles. The man and his wife decided it would be best to leave at night after the accident was cleared up. Driving on the highway had been easy, but as soon as they hit Route 901, it became foggy. They moved real slow and careful so they wouldn't get into an accident themselves. Then all of a sudden, the fog became very thick and bitterly cold. The man turned up the heat in their car, but they could still feel the cold. The fog seemed to turn a shimmery green color. The windows of the car were fogging up, and the man couldn't see to drive, so he pulled over and stopped, hoping the fog would pass. The man rubbed a hole in the fogged up windshield and saw a figure come out of the fog about 2 feet from the car. He was a short man, no taller than 5 feet. He had long red hair, a grey uniform and had a sword at his side. He was clutching his stomach with both hands. His hands were bloody. He staggered towards the car, and when he reached it, he leaned forward placing his bloody hands on the hood. Agony filled his eyes as he fell to the ground. The salesman jumped out of his car, and noticed the bloody hand prints on the hood. He knelt down beside the injured man, and just as he reached out to touch him, he vanished! He stood up to get back in his car and saw that the bloody hand prints were gone too. When he got in the car, the engine started all by itself. The fog lifted and the couple drove to Hedgesville as fast as they could go, and never made the trip at night again. That soldier became known as "The Bloody Soldier". So if you're ever out at night near Hammond House, beware! If you look out of your window and see a green shimmering fog, lock your doors and windows and don't let "The Bloody Soldier" get you!"

Wow was that ever a scary story! C.J. was clutching Evelyn's hand. 
"That's not a true story, is it, Laura?" he asked in a shaky voice.
"Well, some people think it is, but we all know there are no such things as ghosts, don't we?"
Everyone said yes, but I think C.J. wasn't so sure. 

Laura told us that we were going on a field trip tomorrow, so it was time to hit the sack. We all went to the rest rooms by the gym and brushed our teeth. Vivienne and I read our magazines, and played with our trolls for awhile. before lights out, and the boys read their comics. 

Pretty soon, I heard soft snoring coming from Vivienne. so I went to sleep too. I can't wait for the field trip tomorrow! *Yawn*

Good night future readers!
Your friend,
Julie Newman


  1. Looks like you had an fun filled day. The ghost story was pretty scary.

    Have lots of fun on the field trip today.


    1. The camp-out was super groovy! But what's a camp-out without a good ghost story?

  2. Wow what a fun day!! But that story at the end was too scary for me. I would not have slept a wink! I love the tents you slept in, so pretty! We went horse-back riding recently in Mammoth.It was a 2 hour ride and we were all saddle-sore!

    1. I don't think the Bloody Soldier is as scary as Three Finger Willy! And you saw that I had to give my horse to Evelyn, because my tush was starting to hurt too!

  3. It's not a good camp out without a ghost story! Looks like an awesome day all around.

    1. Yep, I got to do 2 things I really like, ride horses, and camp out! It was dynamite!

  4. Hi Julie,
    I love how Lydia and Jefferson have the same color of hair. That ghost story sure was scary, but I agree, "Three Finger Willy" has the scary market cornered!

    1. *giggle* Hey yeah! They are both blondes! That's pretty funny! I definitely think Three Finger Willy is scarier, because if he finds you he wants to hurt you. The Bloody Soldier is just looking for help.

  5. Seems like you had a really fun day at camp. I remember telling and hearing scary stories at camp. I liked them, but I hid under the covers so nothing could get me. Now I don't like to be scared. That cake sounds great! I make a similar cake that you cook in the oven with five ingredients,one stick butter melted on the bottom of a casserole dish. Then you mix one cup self rising flour with one cup milk and one cup sugar,dump that on top the melted butter(do not mix). Then dump any can of fruit (or a cup of fresh blackberries) on top of that, do not mix. Bake it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes to one hour. It is called Dump it cobbler.