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Friday, June 29, 2012

Day Six: Balcony Falls to Otter Creek

After waking up to a mystical morning with the sun about to rise, the group prepared for their biggest, roughest,"baddest” rapid that they would encounter, Balcony Falls. 
Upper James Expedition team enjoying the
jewel of the Upper James before tackling the rapids.
Balcony Falls was the first and only class three rapid that the group went through. Gabe stated that the rapid was the second biggest rapid on the James; this statement made everyone aware of what they were to face. The group then packed all the heavy items in one canoe and as an organized team navigated the canoe over to a big rock overlooking the falls. Then the group was ready to tackle the rapid. 
Scouting out the danger ahead....
Some people were nervous, some were excited, and many were both. As most of the group stood on the rocks, Adam and Gabe paddled the first canoe, which carried Drew on The Throne. It was quite a sight. Spirits were lifted by the humorous event. Then the rest of the group went on to maneuver the tough rapid. Everyone made it through without flipping over. It was a celebration. 
Drew, takin' care of business.
After a hard push towards land, the group rode to the Otter Creek campsite.  It was here that the group began to truly reflect on their trip. We individually brainstormed reflections on guided topics, such as leadership and the people we've met on the James. For example, one thought was, “In the beginning of the trip I thought to myself oh no we are going to die! but now I think lets go! because I am confident!” On a more serious note, another reflection was, “This trip would not work or be fun at all  if people didn’t work together. Team work brings people together and creates a bond between people."  The adults then gave students time to themselves to think and reflect. Following this, students took on roles without adults to set up camp without help including blogging, cooking and tent building.
Rachael in her warpaint reflects upon the day's victories...

                                By: Ashley and Drew 

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