This Summer, for my last summer camp, my boy scout troop made the trip out to Virginia for camp at Camp Powhatan of the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation. All but the two younger scouts did the New River Adventure program, which could have featured climbing, high and low copes courses, white water rafting and canoeing, pistols, shotguns, ATV riding, or a number of other things. Our troop started the week with canoeing. Tuesday and Wednesday were low and high copes, Thursday was pistols/ ATVs, and Friday was white water rafting. Saturday was an additional day of rafting with the younger scouts, and outside of camp.
I was paired with Noah, my best friend since we started school ten billion-something years ago. We stayed near another boat carrying Sean and Sean (one from my troop and the other not) for most of the time, and the day passed in lots of fun. The Sean canoe had quite a bit of difficulty staying afloat through rapids, or even calm waters, but both occupants still had fun and got some stories. The day’s grand story, however came when Noah and I got stuck on a rock. A BIG rock. I was in charge of steering and had gotten caught up on Seans’ most recent flip, not realizing how near to the rapids we were. I got control of the boat too late and we ended up hanging on a rock, tons of water pouring into the boat each second. We tried pushing off to no avail. I finally got out and tried from the water to move it, but got swept away after moving it only a foot or so and turning it on its side more. Noah remained in the boat as I swam to the instructors’ canoe on the near shoreline. Brahm had already gotten out and was making his way to the pinned canoe. Bobby came up from farther down shore to help as the troop waited at the nearest sand bank. The two worked together to free the canoe as Noah was rescued by a friendly fisher on a passing pontoon boat. The ordeal lasted about ten minutes but felt longer.
Tuesday: Low Copes
Kates and Hawkeye led the group composed of my group and a few others from other troops. After two or three teamwork games, Hawkeye took half the group, and Kates took the other half. I was with Kates and all the tall people except Sean were with Hawkeye. The rest of the morning went by as we took part in various other activities and I came down with numerous ailments inflicted by Kates. I was both blind and mute most of the time. After a short demonstration on climbing and belaying procedure in preparation for the next day and a quick lunch break, we made our way to the low copes challenge course. Working together, we had to balance, climb, traverse, and lift various things. Again, in an attempt to get broad participation, I became handicapped in numerous ways. Now, I lost use of not only my voice and eyes, but legs and arms. It was especially challenging to balance on a swinging log with everyone else when I could neither talk nor use my right leg. It took over an hour for us to finally manage it, at which point my handicaps were removed and we resorted to an every-man-for-himself procedure.
Wednesday: High Copes
Sian and a returning Brahm and Bobby led us in a high copes course composed of a giant’s ladder, tightrope crossing, suspended X, three foot leap, and swing crossing. I was in the first pair up with Alex, one of the others in my troop, and we flew through it, working as individuals with occasional teamwork. Other pairs used varying amounts of teamwork. My youngest brother, Thomas, was paired with Jean-Phillip from another troop and they relied heavily on teamwork to start until Thomas was left alone due to a headache. After Lunch, the last two groups went, including my second attempt, this time with Noah. As his first high ropes course, it took us about an hour to finish, but it was a very successful climb! We closed with a zipline that took the rest of the afternoon.
A much lower key day, Sian and Hawkeye took a portion of us down to the pistol range while the others went to ride ATVs. Shooting for her first time, Sian out shot nearly everyone there.
Friday: White Water Rafting
After a two hour bus ride over to West Virginia, we met our guides for the day of rafting. Sean was back with us after a day back with his troop on Thursday. Kates saw our group and immediately called us out as her charge. We finally settled on a name for our craft: Miss Fortune! Going down the New River, our raft was not the fastest, but we made our way to most improved, beginning as one of the least cohesive, ending as one of the most. From surfing, to jumping off rocks, to swimming, and masterfully navigating the rapids, the day was enjoyable. Despite our name, we remained the only raft to never lose a person, though we did lose one paddle, only to recover two later.
Saturday: More Rafting
Halfway home, we made a stop for more rafting, this time with our whole troop along with the other troop on our bus. On ratty rafts of six this time rather than the wonderful scouting rafts for ten, it was a very different experience. The rapids, despite the high ratings, were much less thrilling because they were more rocky than swift, but we still went through the day, starting with problems when our bus broke down halfway to the drop-off point. This time, our raft launched multiple people at multiple times, including myself when we went over a four foot drop we were supposed to avoid.
Today: More Fortunes!
Now, in honor of the faithful Miss Fortune (rather than the following day’s misfortune) I need fortunes. The leprechaun’s story originated from a fortune, so his new stories will continue from new fortunes. If any fortune cookies are opened to find fortunes worth sharing, please do!