Paddling and A Great Day At Camp!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Another great day of camp and I must say that I wasn’t privy to it today because I was out with the Mountainside paddlers.  We had a great day on the Tuckaseegee River around Dillsboro, NC.  The Tuck is a long river that starts not too far from camp and winds its way toward the west and eventually into Fontana Lake.  We ran a section that’s in a gorge between Dillsboro and Barkers Creek.  I’ve run the Tuck probably a hundred times over the past 30 years and it’s a great river for teaching.  We arrived this morning to a high water level and just under our limit for paddling.  I looked at the level several times on my phone before I made the call.  The campers did a great job.  The first part of the river is usually an easy warm up for what is ahead over the next few miles.  With all the extra water the usual eddies were washed out and we quickly found ourselves around the bend under the railroad trestle facing the first rapid called First Hole.  This is where all that lake work and eddy turns come into play.  We had everyone eddy up at the bridge and then gave hand signals to each boat to come ahead.  Everyone made it fine and even hit the big eddy at the bottom.  Eddy hopping is essential because it allows you to scout and see what’s coming up before it’s too late.  This went on all day and we had the most fun at what I call Pyramid Rock (you want to avoid it).  Just below are two eddies one on river left with a beach and the other on river right behind a large rock.  It’s a great place to do S turns and ferry and peel out.  One boat went over there but there’s a large pool to self rescue in so no/low consequences.  After that we stopped at jump rock which hangs out about 15 above the river surface and is plenty deep for you guessed it – jumping off of.  Everyone went several times and it’s a good way to cool off before Double Drop, a class 3 rapid with many features.  All in all it was a great day for these kids.  I wish we had them another few days to take it to the next level.

After returning tonight I grabbed some dinner and then went to a couple of campout sites to get some video.   At Pioneer 1 and 2 were Island Ford and Peter Pan.  They were having dinner and getting ready for smores.  From Main Camp I could hear the after supper bell ringing and made a beeline for the Lodge where we called some Mountain Dancing and then settled in for RB to read from the Tajar Tales.  Tomorrow is the Tajar’s Birthday so I’m sure there will be some folly.

From The camp pics it looks as though Web of Life was finding some gems today like a baby snapping turtle.  That is a rare find.  We have several adults that live in the lake but it’s unusual to find a baby.  It’s a great find and only the tip of the iceberg here at camp.  Our little slice of the Web is full of fun exploration and creeks to stomp in.

Just another note from today’s trip:  as a father  of four I know how easy our children can be immersed in the pop culture that surrounds them.  I was questioning when the kids ask the counselor to put some music on from her ipod.  College students listen to a variety of music and some of that is not always appropriate.  What she put on was the theme music from Disney’s Mulan.  I was pleased that they came to that end because everyone seemed to know the music and sang along.  The simple joys when you least expect it.  Stay tuned!