River Rats Return – We Teach, We Build, We Support and Acknowledge

Dear Parents & Friends,

I’ve been on the river all day with Riverside and just got back to camp about 7:00 tonight.  I understand our site is presenting some complications with logging on and looking at pictures.  Our office staff worked on this throughout the day and will continue to work with our web folks and the company we use to host our photos.  I apologize for any inconvenience and hope to see this corrected by tomorrow.  Sometimes at camp we have little control over just two things; one is weather and one is the internet and the myriad of complications it can produce.  Some of this may be weather related as we had a thunderstorm about 5 days ago that knocked out some our internet connections and phone lines coming into camp.  We’ve been limping along the past several days.   Most of the time there’s not a easily reachable person you can directly deal with about these types of problems but we’re doing our best to make things right again.

So… back to today.  It was an epic day with Riverside on the Nantahala.  Lots of rain today and lots of water in our boats from the river and also the sky.  It’s a classic river with not much flat water and lots of big eddies, standing waves, and swirling water that makes for tricky navigation.  It’s also a very cold river and comes off one of the deepest lakes in the southeast.  Year round temperature is about 49 degrees.  You all will be pleased to know that the only folks that went over in that frigid water were the staff.  Yes and one of those would be this staff member.  I ran the first rapid which is called Delbar’s Rock and pulled up in the eddy to video everyone coming down.  It was raining and misty on the water and all boats came through with little fan fare.  So I put my camera away and jumped back into my boat reached up to turn off my helmet GoPro camera and over I went right in the middle of the current with no paddle in hand.  I quickly swam my boat to shore, shook off my pride and headed down to meet the crew.  Maybe I should stick to paddling instead of videography.

It rained pretty much the whole afternoon and we paddled and eddied out in rapids called Delbar’s Rock, Quarry, Root Canal, Whirlpool, The Ledges, S Turn, Surfers, and many more.  Everyone was getting pretty cold as the temperature on the river was about 10 degrees cooler than is was 5 feet up on the bank.  On a day like today a solid ceiling of fog lays on the water surface.  The Nanty is one of the best teaching rivers in the east and has a variety of rapids with lots of eddies and play spots.  Other rivers we’ve been running have dropped about 35 to 75 feet to the takeout but the Nanty drops over 250 feet in its run to the end, which means it moves quickly.  We had a great time and the RS crew did a fabulous job in navigating those frigid waters.  They are looking forward to showers, a warm bed, and a couple of days in camp to kick back before their next adventure on Sunday.

Our Main camp Kayakers went out of camp today and paddled section 0 of French Broad.  There were some seasoned vets and some novices but Hunter, their instructor said everyone did a great job.  This is a great time to be a paddler at camp since we have all this rainfall.  We’ve been too dry the first few weeks of camp.  Even though it’s been raining a good bit, activities go right on.  The only activities that are affected are biking (we slow down with wet trails) and our climbing program.  Tree and wall climbing has gone on during the rain, as has arborist climbing which was happening during after supper activities tonight.  It also gets a little slippery, sloppy on the athletic field.  Soccer has to slow down a bit but Thunderball goes full tilt.  You’ll have to have your child explain Thunderball to you.  It’s a game that came over from Israel and is popular with camps in the north.  One has to keep things fresh and we’re always working on making strides in our program.  Our ropes course is new this year and we’re all enjoying the aspects of its challenges.  Coaching and mentoring are part of that equation also and that’s where staff make all the difference in our camp world.  It was certainly in evidence today on the river and is a part of every activity here at camp.  Children are so smart and learn in so many different ways.  I’ve always been a copier and can look at something and learn while others have to have the words and action together and some just need the words.  What we all need is confidence and support throughout the learning process and camp is a great venue to try it, maybe fail, try it again and keep working on it until you feel it’s good.  We teach and we build on that teaching, we support and we acknowledge the progress that happens every day here at GV.  Stay tuned!