Wilderness Week

July 27th, 2012

Two weeks ago (July 15-21) I was one of four leaders on a week-long Current River canoe trip with fifteen teenagers. 

Here are a few pictures:

Group Photo

Bluffs

Canoeing

Morning Bible Lesson

Cooking Supper

A highlight was the time I spent up late talking with different guys.  One night until 2am!

When I was a kid (8?) I went on a week long father-son Current River trip led by Tom Richardson.  The strongest memories I have of that trip are sleeping on gravel bars and poking my feet on rocks all day because I forgot to bring my water socks (which mom had just bought for me the day before I left).  My whole life I’ve felt awful I forgot those brand new water socks on that particular campout (where we all got “Tip-A-Canoe” T-Shirts).  Never was there a campout on which they were more needful.

On this trip I was careful to not repeat history, and carefully packed away my “crocs.”  For those who don’t know, I’ve been wearing my trusty crocs nearly continuously for about three months now.  Even to such places as church (when I was overseas and didn’t have anything else) and while doing such jobs as construction work (like pickaxing through rock), mechanical work, and plenty of hiking.  Crocs truly are versatile, working well for nothing, but getting by for everything.  The best part is not having to wear socks anymore.

Remembering the aches put on my 8-year old back by sleeping on gravel bars, this time I packed not one, but TWO sleeping pads for my resting enjoyment.  They worked well, and I slept like a dead man, just like I do back home.  Which I’m not sure where home is anymore, as I guess I’m technically homeless. 

The funniest thing I saw on the river was a certain man (hillbilly?) doing a back flip off the top of a tall bluff (30 feet?).  This fellow was wearing bib overalls (with no shirt) and appeared to be “under the influence”, that is, at least before he jumped.  In my opinion he had enough height to do four somersaults, but instead did about 3/4 of one of them, and landed with a perfect belly-buster!  Haha, it was so funny.  Based on his swearing when he came up, I assume the impact sobered him.  At first I wondered if all his organs were ok, but guess they were, probably saved by his jean coveralls.

The scariest thing I did was swimming back in this cave-room place in the dark in a spring where the water was bitterly cold.  For the next half hour of canoeing afterwards (in 100 degree heat) I was shivering.

None of the kids got hurt, though one ate a minnow.  Some kids dared him, and he was about to do it when I walked up, and then he didn’t think I’d let him, but I told him it would probably be fine to eat the minnow, so he did, and, like I suspected, didn’t seem worse for wear afterwards. 

Spiritually, I think it was good for everyone.  We spent time studying the Bible and each of us leaders shared our testimonies and led at least one devotional time.  It was neat seeing certain ones attitudes improving as they were challenged by things they were learning.

The last couple days you could really tell the fellows were missing civilization.  I had a number of them start telling me things like, “I miss my bed, I miss my iPhone, I miss my TV, I miss the internet, I miss my Mom.”

I think being unplugged was good for them and they didn’t get much sympathy from me.

So that’s my quick report of “Wilderness Week”!

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