Good Lines and Great Times at First Alumni Paddling Weekend
October 22, 2019 by Will Johnson
If you missed our first-ever Alumni Paddling Weekend September 20-22 this year, then you missed out! 12 veterans of the paddling program came together several weeks ago to enjoy ample sunshine, classic NC whitewater, and camp friends both new and old. If you’re wondering what you missed, here’s what happened:
Folks started trickling in on Friday afternoon to spend a little time on the lake. What started as an informal clinic ended as a floating social – with former campers and staff from the 1960s to the present pulling more tall tales than j-strokes on the water. Après-lake activities included happy hour and a gourmet dinner whipped up by camp chef Nate Noland.
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny and came with pancakes and bacon on the side. Don Gentle, Woody Noland, and Will Johnson (all former leaders of the paddling program) removed their administrator’s hats and returned to their trip-leading roots. For other former heads of the program, abdicating the responsibilities of packing lunch and loading the trailer was a welcome change.
After a delightful trip down the Tuckasegee, we returned to High Rocks by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway and settled in for another excellent meal by the Chef. After dinner came Campfire, and clear, starry skies set the backdrop for our camp songs and a story by Dan Noland.
Since everyone made the Tuck look so easy the day before, we decided to up the ante and head over to Section IX of the French Broad on Sunday. There, the team met the numerous class II-III rapids with style (and just a couple of swims). At the takeout, the only thing anyone was left wanting was another day of paddling together.
Looking back, we’re particularly grateful for the excellent weather, skilled staff, and exceptional group that made this weekend so special. Looking forward, we hope that more folks will join us next time! Until then, enjoy a few snapshots from the weekend. See you on the river!