Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ian & Don's Most Excellent Adventure


As I alluded to on my FB status yesterday, my son and I hade quite an excursion Friday and yesterday. Here is our story and we're sticking to it! :-)

We started our adventure a bit late on Friday evening, but made it to the head of the road to the camp about 9:30 PM. The last 15 miles was all on dirt and took about 35 minutes -- what seemed like an eon -- to travel. We were following scoutmaster and his group who had a trailer. I'm actually thankful that we were the chasers, as they dodged deer and cows on the dirt trail range into the camp. When we arrived, we decided to forgo the setting up of tents...thankfully, and slept in the lodge. It was an uneventful night until I woke about 5 PM and realized that some parasitic critter had been borrowing some of my lifeblood without my permission. It was bit unsettling, but finished off the night's sleep without further event...thankfully, once again.

The next morning we awoke and had a nice breakfast of pancakes and bacon made by one of the campers. Then, shortly afterward, we began our journey in search of a place to go spelunking, aka...cave exploring. There is a cave a ways north of the camp that we came to and the seven of us decided to decend. Thankfully, one of the campers was something of an expert at such ventures, having been to this place well as the scoutmaster. It was a vertical cavern, so we had to lower ourselves down into a relatively narrow crevice using a rope. We had to drop the last four or so feet to a ledge. From there, we traversed down to a landing where we would then go well underground. There was a lot of CO2 and minimal oxygen, so we had to breathe easy -- easier said than done. It was probably about 60 feet down total...but very cool -- the temperature and the experience. The scoutmaster said the easiest part would be getting ourselves up and out the vertical side of the cavern -- he lied. :-) It was a good challenge to pull ourselves up and out of the cavern with the rope, but twas done and we all lived to tell about it. Once on top, a few of us were waiting on a couple of the others to come out and Ian, sitting on a rock, was visited nearby by a couple of giant black millipedes (8-10 inches long) with yellow legs and red antennae -- they were very stunning in appearance. Needless to say, Ian, when he saw them, bolted away and we watched them awhile from a distance.

After we arrived back and had a recovery time from the cave trek, we went down to the water and, with life preservers on, embarked in canoes and a rowboat. There is a dam at the camp that holds back Brady Creek, which is then as wide as a river for about a mile upstream. We canoed up the water way to a spot where we could briefly look into a couple of other caves. While on shore, with canoes beached, we headed out into the inviting clear water. We could walk on underwater shelves that were only 1-2 feet deep, but would come to pockets that were 3-5 feet deep. Here, we spent some heavenly time floating and enjoying the ultra-refreshing water on the 100 degree day. During this time, we saw a fire spring up briefly a few miles to the East. It burned quickly and we questioned whether we needed to get back and vacate the camp. We watched it for about 30 minutes, but it either burned itself out or was put out by someone(s). We hiked on up the creek and saw many frogs, several species of fish and a foot long bearded lizard that one of the campers wanted me to catch. I said..."you got a leash?" He said -- "no joke, they make lizard leashes." We enjoyed a chuckle, but I told him if he wanted the lizard, he was on his own.

On the way back down the mile or so stretch we had some canoe/rowboat races. We also had some canoe capsizing shenanigans. In fact, Ian and I -- Ian particularly -- had to be part of a crew that would capsize a canoe out in the water and then tip it over and climb back in. We tried to do so out in 10 feet of water, unsuccessfully, but turned the canoe upside down and had an air pocket where we could breathe. We paddled over to where we could stand and then successfully flipped it over without any water in it. Then we had to climb in...I was able to help Ian get in, but...still recovering from the cave climb, I just stayed in the nice, refreshing water. :-)

We pulled the water craft ashore and then swam over to the dam. There was a spillway on the south side of the lake/creek. We went and sat underneath the spillway and let the powerful water pressure pound massage I have ever had. If only I could bottle that power up in a jacuzzi and sell it... :-) We rescued a baby catfish, about 6 inches long, stranded in a puddle...and tossed him over the top of the dam so he could be on his way. We saw other fish climbing up the spillway -- it is truly remarkable that fish have the strength to navigate upstream in the face of such a force of water. This pretty much concluded our day of extreme fun and then we needed to be on our way. But, in a brief amount of time, dad and son had a maximum amount of adventure with the five other campers.

We packed everything up and were on our way. We got some up close and personal pictures of cows along side of the road on our 15 mile dirt road journey out of the camp, which we knew would please Emily, the cow lover. :-) We stopped for dinner at KFC (there was no Chick-fil-a)on the way home...which we knew would please the cows...then finished our journey -- a refreshingly excellent time! We look forward to the next opportunity... Blessings,



Mike & Patti said...

Sounds like the perfect weekend. Wish I could have been there. Brings back good memories of Scouting.

1 Middle Man said...

It was cool...especially the water. :-)