Our day began with a 6:00 am wake up call-pretty early for a rest day! A quick breakfast then we began the two hour drive through every small town in southern West Virginia by loading up the vans and heading to Oak Hill that is, New River , Ace Lake Adventure.
The Ace Adventure Park Lake was a welcome break with zip lines, slides, bounce floats, wall floats, a plethora of climbing jumping swimming and splashing. Kids could be kids and adults could be kids-all good fun.
The afternoon was a chance to experience Wild and Wonderful West Virginia rafting trip down the lower New River. We divided into two rafts, and very fortunately, our attentive, bright Mission Team LISTENED to the safety instructions. Thoughts of turning back were overcome with the excitement of the water.
The New River is a vigorous world class whitewater rafting experience, full to bursting with Class II to V rapids-adrenaline rushing, terrifying waves of magnificent power. These rafts require everyone to paddle, as a team, to negotiate the rapids with the instruction of the guide. One raft group managed to make the eight mile journey IN the raft, Matthew, Emily P, Charlotte, Sam, Chandler, Teddy, Eliza and Maddie. Fun, exciting, a workout of an adventure. The other group did not make it down the river in raft, but was flipped out on the ZZ Class V rapid – Jack, Jack, Carly, Susan, Alex, Abigail, Roman and Harrison. The guide stayed in the boat.
For a few scary moments, the in the raft group were observers as the river rescue plan kicked into high gear, whistles piercing the air, guides searching and collecting and counting as heads began popping up out of the water-thank goodness for life vests! There is only one way off the river, in the boat all the way to the take out location. Our brave paddlers, sprained, scraped, rattled and bold, made it through the last mile, in the boat, teamwork at it best!
Nature is our theme this week and we all learned that a river is a powerful creature, never to be underestimated. Every survival lesson taught was used by this group-smart, calm, logical, cool under pressure, young men and women. Be proud of this entire group-facing the strength of the water and respecting its place in our lives.
West Virginia does have medical care and those forms you parents completed were put to good use. We walked away with a few minor injuries, a sprained knee(crutches), splinted finger, cleaned up scratches and a renewed sense of togetherness. Two hours of dark and twisty roads brought us back to the church with a welcome of cakes and sweets brought by the Gilbert Presbyterian Church ladies. A true act of kindness and generosity from a most welcoming and thankful group of people.
Many texts, emails parent calls and story telling later we finally settled in for the night.
Ask us when we return as it is a mountain tale to tell. We are thankful to God for delivering us all back mostly uninjured and mobile. We still have work to do!