It was the day after Christmas, and, instead of heading to the mall for the sales, or to the refrigerator for the leftovers, we struck out to Camp Orr for the waterfall!
We had experienced a steady rain all morning, but, as noon rolled around, it began to dissipate. Driving north on Highway 7, the sky was overcast, the perfect photo taking weather!
It was also perfect creepy story telling weather.
Camp Orr is a Boy Scout camp that’s been around for more than fifty years. Many scouts, including Kurt, spent time there hiking, camping, and sitting around the fire listening to the Legend of Smokey Joe.
There are several versions of the story, but Kurt’s recollection begins something like this: It was a rainy week at Camp Orr, so rainy and stormy that all outdoor activities had been cancelled. The poor scouts who had looked forward all summer to a week of swimming, hiking and learning about surviving in the woods were locked away inside the lodge, limited to sedentary activities such as board games, puzzles and coloring. To put it mildly, these unfortunate boys were going crazy; they had energy to burn, and coloring trees was definitely not the same as climbing them.
The last day of camp, the clouds lifted and the sun came out. The area was nothing but a big muddy mess. The boys begged the camp counselor, Joe, to let them go outside. Feeling a bit weary with cabin fever himself, he relented. When he opened the door, they ran out towards the mud like bees to honey.
Naturally, being boys, a mud fight ensued. For what seemed like an eternity, mud was flung back and forth, between imaginary battle lines. Laughter was echoing in the trees, until someone mistook a rock for a ball of mud. This mistake tragically hit Joe in the head, and he fell to the ground.
Stopping in their tracks, the scouts ran to him. “Let’s take him inside and go get a doctor.”
Working together, they managed to get this towering man back into the shelter. A group left to find help while one lone scout stayed behind. Apparently in a state of shock, Joe rose quickly, took one look at the boy, and ran out the door. He was never seen again.
The legend continues that Camp Orr is haunted to this day, and that boys who venture in areas that are off limits get chased by “Smoky Joe”.
Sabrina and I were a little spooked by the tale, to say the least. Nevertheless, we decided that the benefit outweighed any ghoulish risk, and we followed Kurt down the short trail to the twin falls.
There were no supernatural encounters, but what we did find, was that the twin falls was actually a triple falls! What a fantastic gift from nature!
Even though the day was cloudy and gloomy, the scenery, the shared story and memories, and the amiable company made it absolutely wonderful!