Trip Report: The Great Mississippi Disc Golf Migration

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It’s another example of camp alumni and families helping us offer great programs this summer. Mr. Johnny Little, older brother of Barbara Little, Green Cove’s Main Camp Program Director, made the incredibly generous gift of 12 Disc Golf posts and baskets that we can install in the new Mondo Shores Disc Golf Club course, premiering this summer! These are super solid posts that cost 400 - 600 dollars each, and the gift of them to camp was a big savings for us.

Only thing between the posts and Mondamin was three days and a 1500 mile round trip through four states, all the way to Poplarville, Mississippi, where the the 12 baskets were stored on the Littles’ beautiful 55 acre retreat, with a house facing a meadow ringed by huge hardwood trees. So, on Friday the 26th, I got in a big Enterprise 15’ rental box van and spent three days on the road, buffeted by strong cross winds that never seemed to stop blowing, making driving the thing a sort of CrossFit exercise for the arms. We take our workouts where we can get them.

The trip was made doable and even pleasant by my stay on Friday and Saturday night in Tupelo, MS, at the beautiful home of Scott and Annette Reed, longtime camp alumni and tireless advocates of all things Mondamin. They hosted me with great food and conversation and I even got two evenings of guided guitar practice from Scott to practice up for my campfire circle debut this summer. Doesn’t get any better than that. The Reeds added even more to my haul, donating a colorful new set of slalom gates to be hung from our reconstructed tower, and a wood and canvas canoe that Jeff Schlosser and his wood shop camper assistants can renew with a new canvas coat.

So I completed the trip Sunday evening, after a trip across a big swath of the southeastern US, grateful for a number of things: The generosity of the Little family, donating the baskets, all turning out to help me load them, then taking me out to lunch at The Sticky Sauce BBQ Hut - a must stop destination if your travels take you near Poplarville (and you never know…) here is the link to their Facebook page. The beauty of the American landscape as I drove past farms and fields, under big skies and racing fleets of flat bottomed cloud galleons: I kept singing from Paul Simon’s classic “Graceland” Album: “The Mississippi Delta is shining like a National Guitar…” The quickly renewed grace of camp friendships in my evenings with Scott and Annette Read, marveling at how long I’ve known these people and how enriched my life is because of them. Also had the privilege of hearing them sing a duet in a song about their daughters that Scott wrote. After all those hours on the road, coming back to a quiet evening on Lake Summit under angled sunlight, going out on the glassy lake with King Brown, taking a rest from his voluntary labors of repair, and enjoying the evening calm, and the feeling of home.

In the parlance any Mondamin lad would know from years of trip reports at the Campfire Circle: “All in all it was a very enjoyable trip, and I’d recommend it to anyone.”

Except maybe use a more aerodynamic vehicle…. Onward, Gordon

About Gordon Grant

I came to Mondamin as a 14 year old camper in 1969, and have followed what I learned here in adventure and academic education for 54 years: at Mondamin and Green Cove, Nantahala Outdoor Center, NC Outward Bound, Asheville City Public Schools, and UNC Chapel Hill. I still practice deep play in whitewater, rock climbing, and hiking, and am still working on my kayak roll…

I have worked closely with the Bell family in these years, from the founders of the camps, Chief and Calla Bell, through their son and daughter Frank, Jr. and Nancy Bell, and their grandchildren Andrew, Calla, and David. Each generation has taught me something.

My wife, Susan, is my partner of 40+ years; we have shared outdoor adventures around the world. Susan has headed canoeing at Green Cove. Our daughters, Rachel and Glenna, were Green Cove campers, and our granddaughter, Virginia Rugh, will be at August camp this summer. We intend that our grandson Grant will be at Mondamin in 2028. I am working with David Bell and the Mondamin staff to assure that he, and many other boys, will be having adventures on their personal frontiers at camp for years to come.

Gordon Grant