No news from our Chief 2’s which is good news. It looks like they’ve had nice weather today in Western North Carolina. They’re in the Nantahala National Forest. Tonight they’ll spend the last night on the trail. Tomorrow they’ll hike down into civilization and wind up at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The cool waters of the Nantahala River will be their reward as they paddle inflatable kayaks downstream.
Our Chief 1 campers (finishing 8th) have enjoyed several special activities the last two afternoons. We bussed one group, with counselors and lifeguards, to the Canyon Mouth Park along Little River, specifically Little River Canyon. If you are unfamiliar, the Canyon is one of the Southeast’s hidden treasures. The largest canyon east of the Mississippi, it is the culmination of Little River, the joining of east and west forks, before dumping into Weiss Lake near Gadsden, AL. The Canyon is just that - a deep crevasse, tree lined, and picturesque. Most folks first response upon glimpsing the Canyon from an overlook is that they can’t believe something this beautiful and vast exists in Alabama. The Little River Canyon Preserve is run by the National Park Service. Recently, in conjunction with Jacksonville State University, they have built a Little River Canyon Center near the rim of the Canyon.
Canyon Mouth Park is several miles below Little River Falls, off the southeast side of Lookout Mountain. Here the water is gentle with easy rapids every now and then. Each person carried a life jacket and an inner tube, plus a water bottle. Sunscreen applied, they hiked upriver from the parking lot. After a 20-25 minute hike, they put in along the bank of the river for an afternoon float back to the start.
The next stop was Mentone Brow Park, a picnic area up above “downtown Mentone” that overlooks the western brow for BBQ sandwiches, with slaw and baked beans.
The other half of the Chief 1’s did battle with clay pigeons, an afternoon of skeet shooting on their agenda. Mike Fielder, our former target sports director (and retired federal law enforcement), safely and ably led the guys through shotgun instruction. Our golf driving stations double as a perfect skeet throwing area, lending 40 acres of land with no other campers near. Today they swapped places.
Tomorrow all of camp will be headed out bright and early on trips! The Hunters will load up for a day full of fun activities in Chattanooga. The day will start exploring the thousands of gallons of tanks at the Tennessee Aquarium. Then after enjoying a juicy burger at Five Guys, they’ll spend the afternoon rock climbing at High Point Climbing & Fitness in downtown Chattanooga. We’ll finish the afternoon off by watching an IMAX movie adjacent to the Tennessee Aquarium. After their IMAX experience, they’ll scarf down some Mr. T’s pizza before heading homeward. By the way, High Point is one of the largest indoor climbing gyms in the country with a multitude of walls belayed by auto belay devices for ease of use.
The Trappers take off to Atlanta. First stop: the College Football Hall of Fame. In addition to all the interactive exhibits and jerseys it happens that SEC media days are meeting there this week. They might rub shoulders with some real live SEC celebrities! After eating a sack lunch, it will be on to tour the World of Coke. They’ll see the vault of the Coca-Cola secret formula, get a behind the scenes glimpse of the bottling process, and taste different soft drinks from around the globe. If you have a Trapper, be sure to get his thoughts on the Italian drink Beverly. From the World of Coke, they walk next door to the Georgia Aquarium. This modern aquarium boasts 10 million gallons of salt and marine water with several thousand different species of animals, including beluga whales and whale sharks! After the aquarium, the Trappers devour a delicious pizza dinner on the way home.
The Scouts spend the day in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee seeking fast thrills at Dollywood. Dollywood is a family friendly amusement park that reminds of the old Opryland when we were growing up. With over 40 rides and many other attractions, their day will fly by.
White water rafting awaits our older groups. The Warriors head to the Nantahala River for their rafting trip. The Nantahala is near Murphy, NC and is a perfect beginner rapids course. The river is cool and refreshing and Nantahala Falls, at the end, provides a big thrill. On their way home a piping hot pizza dinner at Papa’s Pizza in Murphy, NC will be on the agenda.
For the Braves and first year Chiefs, it’s down the Ocoee River. The Ocoee is a dam controlled river of the TVA with more adventurous runs. It’s always a crowd pleaser. After the rafting run, the McCallie School in Chattanooga graciously hosts us for some swimming and game playing in their state of the art athletic complex.
There will be a lot of excited boys tucking in bed tonight anticipating tomorrow’s fun!
Thanks for reading and good night for now, Glenn