Let’s take a quick look at whitewater rafting, because today was a rafting day for a big group of campers and counselors. Rafting at Rockbrook is a big deal. It’s easily the most popular outdoor adventure activity we offer. The Forest Service restricts us to girls who are 5th grade and older (our Middlers and Seniors), but almost everyone eligible chooses to go. Fortunately, Rockbrook has a permit to raft the Nantahala river (the only girls camp to have one!), so we can send everyone who wants to go, use our own guides and equipment, and schedule the trips at our convenience. We’ve been running whitewater rafting trips since the 1980s.
You can tell from these photos of todays trips that the girls have a complete blast rafting. They’re screaming and laughing with delight. They’re doing silly poses for the camera, making “high fives” with their paddles, for example. They’re sweating a bit from paddling, but also chilled by the splashing and spraying of the whitewater. They’re playful, silly and enthusiastic, especially when the weather is hot and sunny like it was today.
The best part of these trips, I’d say, is the real camaraderie that happens in each boat. For the entire 2-hour trip on the water, the girls are working together, chatting and sometimes singing together, and laughing hysterically whenever someone falls in (or out!) of the boat. As the boats get bounced around in the rapids, the passengers do too. One minute things are calm and scenic, and the next, someone is sprawled in the bottom of the boat with legs flailing, or is bobbing in the 53-degree river water clambering to get back into the raft. With these bright and upbeat attitudes, it’s hilarious and exciting at the same time.
The finale of the trip is the last rapid on the river, the Nantahala Falls. This is a fast, class-III, double-drop rapid that is powerful enough to toss people out of their boats, and is always an exciting thrill. You can see that in these photos (click one to see a larger version). Making it through the falls tends to bring out cheers and celebration from each boat. “Yeah! We made it!” Like all great adventures, there’s a risk that something might go wrong (being tossed, in this case), so when it doesn’t, it’s a true feeling of success.
Rafting is another great example of how the girls at Rockbrook make whatever they are doing better because they genuinely enjoy each others company. Being positive and friendly from the start, being supportive and mutually encouraging, they’re just primed to have a fantastic time. Give them plenty of snacks, and it’s almost automatic! These Rockbrook girls are good friends having an extraordinarily great time. Pretty cool.