Sunday, May 22, 2011

U.S. National Whitewater Center

My favorite teens (all but 3 of my cadette and senior girl scouts) took a quick trip up the road to the U.S. National Whitewater center on Saturday. It is a really big park with slightly extreme sports, as well as a training ground for Olympic whitewater kayak folks.

We started with the adventure course and canyon crossing. Both are essentially rope courses which the girls had experience with, but are always fun. We waited in line to get harnessed and helmeted up, and then took off to the adventure course.

I kept getting asked to put my camera away, so I only took pics when I reached a platform. No more than 2 on a line, and 3 on a platform at a time. In the above pic, T-Rex is waiting on MC to finish her crossing, while (below) Big Al waits on her platform for the next section.

Here, T-Rex and SLB are waiting to cross a rope holding on to a cargo net - and YES, I did all of these too. After we finished we skipped the small zipline (it was only 100 feet), and got in line for the canyon crossing.

Big Al was needing lunch at that point (it was almost 2) so she waited for the others to finish, but T-Rex was ready. Canyon Crossing was slightly different in that it moved between the trees and was a little higher and wasn't a solid structure like the Adventure Crossing.

T-Rex starting out on the first element. I couldn't take pics after that because she was too hard to find in the trees, but at the end she ziplined back to the starting point.

After the zip, we all ran to the car to gulp down food, and then headed back in for some water activities.

First we all kayaked. It was nice (although would have been better with seatbacks). The guys at the dock told us about a cut through creek that would be a little more interesting to the girls so we took it. We found kayak gates that we paddled through...

and shaded tree areas with plenty of obstacles to paddle around. Even though we were out for only about an hour, I'm counting this as my "May paddle" since I couldn't go to Sparkleberry swamp. Sadly, I still can't talk Big Al and T-Rex into going with me on my next one.

5 of the girls tried paddle boarding (T-Rex in the middle) with two of the girls (CC and SS) "falling" in. I wanted to do this too, but didn't want to make them wait so when they were finished we moved on to the mega jump.

On our way back up to turn in our paddles, the girls came across this sign and thought it was funny.

For the Mega Jump the girls were again put into a harness and attached to a cable. They then stepped off a 45 foot platform and floated to the ground (same apparatus used by stuntment). MUCH better for parents to watch than a bungee jump because it isn't head first, and there aren't any big jerks on the body. I watched safely from the ground, but have to find a way to turn my videos so you aren't watching them sideways.

After the Mega Jump all of the girls went rock wall climbing. They didn't think it was quite as tall as the one at Stronghold Athletic, but I think it was fairly close. I think it didn't look as tall because it was outside. Again, they put on the harnesses and spent 30 minutes climbing. I think all of the reached the top. (T-Rex on the left)

Here is Big Al on the rock wall. We all wished we had gone whitewater rafting, but we're thinking it might be a good way to bring the group together in the fall to bond for the new year. It amazes me that a majority of my girls will be returning despite going to high school next year, but they are determined to get their Gold Award and search out scholarships. They still enjoy hanging out together, and really missed the girls that weren't there today.

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