Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Washington DC Field Trip

Walking through the Mall

During the long drive from Montreal to Maryland WCKA decided to stop, take a short detour, and a few days off of paddling to have class and go explore our country’s capitol. The lively city was enormous and left endless opportunities for wandering and new discoveries. Many of the students and teachers had never been to DC and those who have, had never been there during a time like this. The two days there were spent during the thirteenth and fourteenth of September, the following days of 9/11. This brought huge numbers of people that were on marches and parades for those lost.

We found ourselves surrounded by some of the most political extreme people you could imagine. When crossing busy intersections the students would look up at the corners to see people holding up signs with comments like, “Obama is a Nazi”. While packed onto the metro students listened keenly to these people’s views, despite often sounding ridiculous.

Washington Memorial

View of Lincoln Memorial and Reflection pool

When the students and teachers were off the metro and on their own exploring they were able to forget about the current politics and enjoy some of the long standing national monuments. Some of the monuments visited were The Washington Monument, The Abraham Memorial, The Whitehouse, and many more. Students stood and looked out at the city while standing in the exact same place as Dr. King when he made his ‘ I Have A Dream’ speech.

Photos of the Whitehouse with teachers Capo and Ben

Natural History Museum

They also went to some of the city’s best museums. They visited the International Spy Museum, The Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and The Air and Space Museum. Surprisingly, both students and teachers found the Natural History museum to be the most interesting of the three. Hours were spent in the museum looking at things from soil in the states to gigantic hippos seen on the rivers throughout Africa. The Spy museum was also very interesting. The artifacts were some of the craziest things you would imagine. Weapons ranged from the traditional umbrella gun to bombs that would go off if a girl tried to open her lipstick.

Hudson Moe, Kleve Peaslee and Capo Rettig anticipating a tarantuala feeding demonstration

Evolution of Man exhibit

While the students and teachers all had an amazing time exploring the city, they are also all ready to go explore the rivers on the east coast. The next few river destinations will be the Youghiogheny, the Gauley, the Tygert, and The Green. Theses rivers will make up the creeking and river running portion of the quarter. The playboating that was done so far was epic and some of the biggest waves students had surfed. Both students and teachers showed rapid improvement and the majority of them are now able to throw blunts and backstabs (vertical front/back 180). The group is getting along well and are all looking forward to the rapidly approaching trip to Peru (less than a month).

Emily Allen, Susan Hollingsworth and Ohiopyle friends getting ready for a trip down the Youghiogheny

Words: Griff Griffith

Photos: Susan Hollingsworth

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ottawa River Update, Fall 2009

Eric Parker, Isaac Holden and Olin Wimberg in a group surf on Left Side Wave and Babyface

Bon Jour! Welcome to Ontario, home of large cows, poutine, and Maple forests. We arrived here in Canada on the afternoon of August 28, just in time to catch our first surfs on the at McCoy Chute where Corner Wave, Phil’s Hole and Baby face are all located. For many kids and teachers the Ottawa has been a new river on the list. It holds some of the world’s best high volume playboating and river running in the spring, but has top notch kayaking year round. One of the greatest things about the Ottawa is its fantastic temperature. It feels more like a bathtub than a river most days and provides for some good non-dry top boating.

Cody Wasuta and Hudson Moe, Chemistry Lab

To get to McCoy’s was about a 15-minute drive from our resort at Wilderness Tours. We parked below the rapid and paddled across a football sized area of flatwater to get to the waves. Half way down the main rapid, McCoy’s, is a large surging, crashing, hydraulic named Phil’s Hole. Many daring souls paddled hard to punch through. A few tried to surf it only to get a ride comparing to one that a bull rider gets in a rodeo. Lower down is Corner wave which is a medium sized wave with a large eddy that can be tricky to catch the longer and more tired you get. Corner Wave provides a great area for many kids to start learning tricks or sharpen up existing skills.

Olin Wimberg setting up on Cornerwave

Erik Johnson on Cornerwave, Ottawa River

At the run out of the McCoy’s Babyface, the last wave, forms. It is the mellowest of the waves and is great for learning how to surf and fundamentals of playboating. The team has been paddling especially well together so far with excessive screaming and yelling to cheer on each other (the locals may think we are crazy). Everyone took full advantage of our weeklong stay here and what the Ottawa has to offer. Off the water at WT we partook in many extracurricular activities such as pool, evening hot tubs, boxing and the first ever World Class Olympics. We had several events including basketball, soccer, and the boating leg is still to be held. Everyone won at least one event so far and has brought a new competitive edge to the group.

Emily and Head Coach Ben Kinsella

Staying at Wilderness tours is more of a resort than anything. We had the luxury of beds for everyone and five star meals three times a day. Breakfast includes pancakes, French toast and assorted cereals while lunch was usually burgers and brats. Finally dinner was between the favorites of juicy steaks and potato’s or spinach stuffed chicken. Reality soon will be upon us, getting into routine of cooking all our own meals for once. We are off to the huge city of MontrĂ©al where we will be surfing Lachine on the Saint Lawrence River. Stay tuned for another article.

Words: Erik Johnson
Photos: Susan Hollingsworth