Monday, June 18, 2012

First Descents Kayaking: Pics

Photos courtesy of Postal, a fellow First Descents camper and now life-long friend of mine.

View of the Great Smoky Mountains from the Watershed Cabins
Day 1 - I'm just beginning to channel the Shark Bait in me.
The Commons at the Watershed Cabins,
which contained a firepit where we met each night
to discuss the day and to translate our river experience
 into observations about our "normal" lives

Lake Fontana, where we practiced the wet exit and learned basic skills

Mack and I (Shark Bait).
At this point, both of us loved being upside down,
 in the water, in our kayaks.
Shark Bait, Postal, and Hatschi, with the funny awards
we received at the campfire after our first kayaking day

Blue Bell, Mack, Flip-Flop, Shark Bait, and Hatschi
The Little Tennessee River, Class I Rapids
(Basically, fairly flat, slow water. Perfect for beginners)

Greystoke, our instructor whose nickname
originated from the British Tarzan movie.

Tuckasegee River, which contained some Class II rapids
I'm in the orange kayak and blue helmet.

Whitewater rafting in the Natahala River - a preview of
our most challenging course, which we would tackle on the last day.

Brave Chicken, Flip-Flop, Brown Claw (our guide), Mack, and I

Zil (an FD volunteer), Shark Bait, Hatschi,
and Pleeza (a camp counselor).
The group laughed at my marshmallow roasting stick,
until they saw just how practical it was.

Camp fire and marshmallows for s'mores. What a Night.

The wildflowers that Percy picked for Hatschi

The living room of Cabin 5 (a.k.a. Fort Knox because we always
kept it locked down). Ativan, Brave Chicken, Junior High,
Postal, and Flip-Flop were my cabin-mates.

The swing seat at The Commons at the Watershed Cabins

Watching the Belmont Stakes on YouTube after the fact.
The connection was poor, so the action would pause every
10 seconds, creating intense suspense.
Pleeza and Bluebell both picked Union Rags.

Pleeza giving us last instructions before Nataha Falls -
a Class III rapid

A portion of the rapids before Natahala Falls.
How did my run at it go?
That's a story for another day.