PAD 40 Palmer Rapids White Water Rafting Excursion – Reflections
Spencer Knowles – June 2015
Spencer Knowles – June 2015
The grade 12 trip to Palmer Rapids was most likely my favourite trip and event throughout my years at Outdoor Ed at CW. This year was especially awesome because we were able to pack more comfort items because we got dropped off right at our campsite. I was especially happy to bring a comfortable pillow and an extra-comfortable sleeping bag on this trip. Packing at home and in the Outdoor Ed room went very smoothly and I cannot recall any problems that came along with it. Once we arrived at our campsite ewe set up camp very quickly and got into our wetsuits to get as much time as we could in the water. The rented canoes were very comfortable and the knee pads and knee straps were very secure. At the start, it seemed that everyone was hesitant to fall into the water even though it seems that everyone knew that it was inevitable. I started in the bow and me and my partner, Cameron, started off by doing “S” turns and ferrying across the rapid and falling in the water in the process. However once in the water, I felt a sort of adrenalin rush and I soon began to love capsizing, by accident, of course! After scouting and canoeing down the first rapid over the massive waves, we were then allowed to swim down the rapid which was amazing! I could have done it all day, but we had to go back up to camp and have dinner.
Similar to the packing, there were also no conflicts related to cooking (except one pack of expired ground beef). Our first meal of shish kabobs and chili was delicious and was easy to cook because everyone helped out. Similarly, the dishes were also not a pain because at least half the group took on the task of getting them done quickly and efficiently. After dinner, we relaxed around camp, hung up our wet gear to dry and eventually crawled into bed.
The next morning we woke up early to go paddling once again. However, at that point, I started to realize the massive amounts of insect bites that I and almost everyone else had started to accumulate. The bugs seemed to be the only problem on the entire trip which is great because that is not even a significant inconvenience.
We had a great breakfast and were soon back on the water. However, once on the water we were told to change positions from the previous day, meaning that I had to go to the stern. I was a little nervous at first, but all the strokes and movements soon came back to me and I think I ended up being more confident in the stern than in the bow. We paddled in the first rapid for a while longer then went down to the second rapid. After scouting the second rapid, we learned that it was a little calmer than the first rapid, but had many hazards and was considerably longer. We were still extremely excited to paddle it and wanted to get going right away. We paddled down the rapids successfully the first time, but fell once or twice on our other attempts to go down the rapids. At one point, we ended up in the middle of the lake at the end of the rapid in a completely submerged canoe. It was hilarious trying to paddle back because we kept flipping because it was so hard to balance. We ended up popping the canoe out of the water and I climbed in on one side while Cameron climbed in the other side. We managed to get into the canoe with little to no water remaining in it and we were quite happy with our small victory. We portaged the canoe back to the top of the rapid which was actually a little harder than normal because the rented canoes had no shoulder pads. Then we paddled back to shore and ended up swimming down the first rapid and having a lot of fun on some paddle boards. After a day of fun on the water, we headed up for dinner. However, before dinner, we were warned that there was a possibility of rain, so we set up tarps and made sure that our tent was rainproof. Dinner was quite simple because we decided not to have spaghetti because it seemed that no one was that hungry, however, we still had a satisfying Caesar salad and garlic bread. Once again, dishes were quickly taken care of before we sat down around the campfire to relax. (This was a big improvement from our previous skiing trip when we relaxed first and the dishes were neglected.) We then had a fun game of Liar’s Dice around the campfire before heading to bed.
The next morning we woke up to our final day of the trip. At this point, I think that we were all getting tired and we were covered in bug bites. We had a great breakfast of pancakes and bacon before heading down to the water once again. This time, however, our gear was quite cold because it had not been given the chance to fully dry because of the small amount of rain overnight. When we got on the water, we pretty much started going down the rapids right away because we had practiced our skills for the first two days and at that point, we were pretty comfortable with what we knew. The final day was an awesome mix of paddling, swimming and of course, tipping. We had to leave the water and put away the rented canoes and gear earlier in the day because it was almost time to leave. We took down camp efficiently and were ready when the bus came to pick us up.
This trip had no flaws and was pure fun with many friends and a great adventure. Not only would I do this trip again, I hope to plan something like this over the summer. I am very happy that I can end my experience of Outdoor Ed at CW with such an amazing trip that leaves me with memories that I won’t soon forget. Thank you, Mr. Brouwer for this amazing class and experience! (I would be very willing to be a chaperone on any future trips!)