What could be better then canoeing down the majestic New River on a warm sunny September day gliding through the flat sections and skillfully navigating the rolling rapids. Hmmm how about a nice warm campfire after a cool overcast rainy day paddling in low water.
Ok all kidding aside. On September 16 the troop arrived at the New River campground, where we set up our camp right on the river. We had 16 scouts from all 3 patrols joined by 4 adults on this trip, not bad for the first trip of the year. After a nice crisp night in the tents and a light morning rain we hiked to our shuttle location (at the end of the camp) where we went through some basic canoeing skills before departing with the boats to our launch point up river.
Once the boats were in the water we were able to practice our paddling skills and one boat thought it might be a good idea to demonstrate how to exit a canoe after it filled with water, and how to drag it to shore and empty it out. What were they thinking and too bad (or maybe not that bad) that very few were around to see this impromptu demonstration.
The water level was a little lower then we would have liked it, slowing our progress down river but we were able to complete some of the canoeing merit badge requirements after our lunch on a sandbar. We were also treated with the sight of a bald eagle flying over the river as we paddled. It was a cold day but most of the scouts were prepared and stayed warm and dry for our trip.
I was amazed at how quickly the patrols organized and started to cook dinner as we arrived back in camp, I think perhaps the cold air and a long day on the river inspired everyone to eat early, and get the campfire going. As the evening turned in to night and the campfire got brighter it was time for our campfire program which always makes for an enjoyable evening. Austin brought his Guitar and the scouts sang, joked, told stories and talked as they huddled around the warm campfire. The adult patrol baked a cherry cobbler that they shared with everyone before breaking up for the night.
On Sunday morning as we began to break camp we were again treated to the sight of not one but 2 bald eagles perched in the tree tops across the river from out camp and flying overhead.
The weather was not perfect, the river was not full and our trip was longer than expected but the troop worked together, we were prepared, we all had a good time and another scouting memory has been etched into our minds. –Hey remember the time we canoed down that river and saw those eagles….
In order to keep up with the times, provide better communication, and allow easier feedback/comments/uploading pictures, etc. Troop 26 High Point, NC now has a fan page on Facebook. Please click on the Like at the top of the page so we can get a dedicated “Username” on Facebook, allowing us to have an easy to remember Facebook URL (i.e. www.facebook.com/ihmscouts). I’ve also created a Facebook App of our Troop Calendar for your convenience. You can Add this to your own FB page by clicking on Add to My Page’s Favorites. Also notice at the bottom of each post on our website you can now click the Facebook Like button to spread the word about all our great trips! 🙂
If anyone is interested in helping to maintain this page, or wants to develop on this new FB page, let me know. FB allows a lot of cool development on their pages, if you know how. 🙂
On Saturday, June 18th, three Scouts from the Troop 26 Venture Patrol, along with three adult leaders, met early in the morning at IHM for their first Venture Patrol outing, namely, Whitewater Rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center near Charlotte. The day started out warm and sunny, with temps expected to climb into the nineties by late afternoon. The Scouts (Alex Zito, Landon Hilliard, and Austin Garmer) and adults (Mr. Garmer, Mr. Humphrey, and Mr. Gottwalt) had prepared by bringing recommended items such as sun screen, eyeglass straps, a towel, and a change of clothes, as well as wearing the appropriate clothing like swim trunks, close-toed footwear, and a t-shirt. Since the group was obtaining AllSport Passes for the day, Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s), helmets, and paddles were supplied by the USNWC. An AllSport Pass enables one to participate in a variety of activities offered at the Center, including climbing, ropes course, rafting, whitewater kayaking, still water kayaking, adventure course, biking, and zipping (flying above the ground on a zip line).
The plan was to arrive, participate in the first scheduled whitewater rafting session at 11:00 AM, then schedule a second whitewater rafting session for the afternoon. Between sessions, the group could eat lunch and participate in some of the other activities available at the center. For some in the group, it was their first experience with whitewater rafting, so there was some anxiety as the group went through the requisite safety training session run by one of the Center’s excellent rafting guides. We were shown (graphically!) how harmful the T-handle on the end of the paddles could be if you didn’t hang onto them at all times. After the safety briefing, the group suited up with PFD’s, helmets and paddles and were assigned a raft and guide. The size of the group made it ideal to all stay together in one raft. The guide was terrific, and helped everyone feel at ease as we started with one of the less challenging routes. Each “session” consisted of three trips down the various man-made rivers, followed by a conveyor trip back up to the top. The second and third trips down during the first session featured increasingly challenging rapids and an introduction to “surfing”, where the raft gets positioned in the back-current directly behind a submerged obstruction. Totally fun! By the end of the first 45 minute session, everyone (even the guide!) had gotten dunked in the man-made river.
The group scheduled the second session for 2:00 in the afternoon, then went to grab some lunch. After lunch, the group wanted to try the Climb-2-Zip activity, which involved climbing a rope net to a platform, then taking a zip line to the ground on the other side. Little did we know that the line would take well over an hour and force us to exit the line and return to the rafting area in order to make our second scheduled rafting time. Our second rafting guide, “Sunshine”, was entertaining and fun, as the entire group enjoyed the challenging rapids of the Competition Channel, “Zoom Flume”, and “Big Drop”. After the second session, the group split in order to allow scouts to participate in whatever other activities the Center has to offer. Not much later, a storm front moved in with wind and lightening, causing many of the activities to be temporarily shut down. As the rain came pouring down around 4:30 PM, the group decided to head back to High Point. Everyone agreed it was a great trip and a rewarding experience. Thanks to everyone who helped make this trip a success. The next Venture Patrol trip will be an extended backpacking trip planned for this Fall.
Finally, a backpacking trip without rain. I have been on more than half a dozen backpacking trips and all of them have rained except this one. The weather was nice, even though in the valley it dipped to 15 degrees freezing our water. Grayson Highlands never ceases to amaze me.
We started on the trail Friday night with headlamps donned. What a great experience to be out in the wilderness at night. Some scouts decided to use the moon light to guide their way. As we arrived to camp, the famous Grayson Highland wild ponies greeted us. We setup camp and prepared for a big day. Austin, Landon and Brian decided to sleep under the stars with just their sleeping bags and mats. They loved it.
We decided to split into two groups for the rest of the trip and it worked out wonderfully. Four scouts, who have never been backpacking, stayed at base camp just off the Appalachian Trail (AT), just outside Grayson Highlands State Park. The other group hiked 8 miles to their next camp.
I was impressed with our older scouts, as they arrived to camp they filtered water, setup their sleeping arrangements, gathered firewood, started the fire with flint and steel, etc. All with no assistance from the adults. Well done guys. Austin finished his Wilderness Survival Merit Badge by making a shelter and sleeping in it. Landon learned to sleep in his new hammock and it was one of his highlights.
The younger scouts took a day hike to Mount Rogers, the highest Point in Virginia. They filtered their water near the Thomas Knob AT shelter, and learned how to use a backpacking stove, among other skills.