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NC School of Science and Mathematics
2004 Student Intensive
The Search for Fish Dam Road
Notes from the Field
Daniel Wines & Lucie Guo, Students
Thursday, April 1
A guy’s and gal’s perspective of the Camping Trip
Thursday, April 1, 2004
By Daniel Wines
It was a warm, cloudy April 1st afternoon when 15 of the manliest (and womanliest) people gathered to go camping in the Eno State Park, by a remnant of Fish Dam Road. At around 4pm, we left NCSSM on the magic bus, and came very near to a terrible, terrible tragedy. Joe almost forgot the meat. Thankfully, Joe remembered his folly, and we went to Joe’s house to pick up the missing treasure.
Around 4.30pm, we arrived at the gates to Eno State Park, and found them barred and locked to us. After a bit of initial frustration, Joe called in the rangers to come and let us into the park. They did so, and we arrived at the camping site near 5pm. We quickly cleared the sticks out of where we wanted to put our tents, and set up our camp. While we explored the surrounding area, the girls discovered a vine that was quite excellent for swinging, and climbing. A little into the evening, a certain girl flatly refused the possibility of going to the bathroom in the woods, and a number of serious – minded discussions on the importance of emptying one’s bladder before bed ensued. Though her fellow roadies were unable to persuade her, the ever patient teacher that is nature eventually had her way with the defiant woman. Later in the evening, when dark had fallen, we made a fire, cooked s’mores, and told ghost stories. At around 11, most of the group went over to the quarry (I was sleeping), and had a good look at the attraction.
We awoke early to a dry April 2nd (well, me and Joe woke early), despite forecasts for rain the previous evening. Joe and I cooked breakfast, and everyone woke up quite quickly. Apparently I was the only one who didn’t think we had a cold, dreary night. I think it has something to do with the fact that I was wrapped in a full length body bag; even after shedding all clothing, except my socks, I was overheated. We had sausage, eggs, and granola; with an OJ chaser. We took down the camp by 8.45am, and Dot and the rest of the roadies arrived at 9am. We got down together in the nearby section of Fish Dam, contemplated its spirit with Joe, and continued our trek along the road.
By Lucie Guo
We loaded up the bus and the van and departed from the school around 4 pm, and once we arrived at the Eno River State Park, we waited patiently while the gates were being opened. Once we were in, we cleared the twigs out of an opening of land near a deep gouge that was Fish Dam Road and set up camp there. All the girls worked together to set up a six-man (six-woman) tent, and once it was up, we stood back to admire our work. When we started exploring the area around the campsite, we found a vine that came out of one tree and wrapped around another. Amused, we began swinging on it and figuring out ways to play jump rope with it; we made it our own. We began exploring the remnants of Fish Dam Road near the campsite and started to gather firewood for the campfire. Earlier, Joe had informed us that we had left the black platform for the campfire back at the school. Everyone was disheartened because we thought that we would not be able to have a campfire that night. However, just before it became dark, Joe drove back to the school to retrieve it. David Glenn stayed with us while Joe was gone.
As night gradually fell upon the campsite, we gathered to enjoy the supper that Joe cooked for us. We made salads out of lettuce, tomatoes, red cabbage, and Ranch dressing. We had other aliments such as spaghetti with meat and vegetarian sauce, frozen orange juice, bread, and cookies. Everyone seemed famished and ate heartily. Later, we used the firewood that we gathered to start the campfire. We first put in balls of newspaper and small twigs to get the fire started and then bigger pieces of wood. As the campfire burned, everyone gathered around to cook s’mores. This was the first time for some people! Everyone was ecstatic as they took their bites of hot, viscous marshmallows sandwiched in delicious Graham crackers and Hershey’s milk chocolate. I intentionally tried to get my marshmallows black and charred since then they had an extra crispy surface! We later enjoyed some hot chocolate back at the shelter and then came back to the campfire to listen to Joe’s ghost stories.
Joe first taught us the Fish Dam Road theme song – “Fish Dam Road is the biggest thrill of all”, and all of us joined in unison. Then he told us about his favorite TV show as a child – Deputy Dog – and played its theme song on the harmonica, first in single notes and then with chords and accompaniment. Then he began to tell us ghost stories – real, terrifying occurrences that took place in the School of Science and Math. We listened to the stories of a girl whose eyes were blinded by roasted marshmallows, a nurse who vanished in the underground tunnel from Watts Hall to Hill House back at NCSSM, a girls’ volleyball team that never made it back from a game, and an employee of the hospital that still may be haunting the ground breezeway to this very day.
After our minds were filled with Joe’s frightening tales, we decided to take a midnight stroll to the quarry. The path was almost pitch-black, but we brought flashlights along. The water in the quarry looked white amidst the darkness surrounding it. There, Joe told us about stories that had to do with the quarry: one was about a young man who fell in the water. Since the quarry was so deep and its waters so cold at the bottom, when his body was found, it was perfectly preserved – he had looked as if he were merely sleeping. There was also a myth about how the quarry filled up with water in the first place: some years ago, bulldozers and other machinery that were building the highways nearby had hit a place in the ground that released torrents of water; but because it filled up with water so quickly, not all of the machinery were able to get out, thus some still might be at the bottom today. No creek or river flowed into the quarry, nor did it have any outlets. However, as we discovered the next morning, its water was surprisingly clear.
The augmenting coldness of the night soon beckoned us inside the tents. Even though I had on several layers of sweaters and was wrapped in a down sleeping bag, the coldness still felt piercing. Not long after I laid down, light rain began to fall, and its pit-pat, pit-pat sounds could be heard as the raindrops tapped the sides of the tent. Nevertheless, I was soon sound asleep.
I woke up to a nippy daybreak; I could hear people outside commenting on how beautiful the morning was. I soon went outside, and the fresh air felt cool and exhilarating. After having eaten some deliciously cooked hot breakfast, we packed up the camp and met the rest of the group.