The past several days have been very wet and rainy. Every afternoon and evening it has rained. With all the guys gone on furlough there is only one man running the entire landscape department. So I have been weed eating in the evenings. It has been pretty fun.
Every time we have someone new come into the CADET office we all give a short speech introducing ourselves. Since Brystol is here I did mine yesterday (Friday). Although I think that she already knew more about me from working at ATI conferences for the past several years.
Friday night I played volleyball with about 10 of the staff guys and 8 of the staff girls, and then I went for a short run. Afterwards I sat outside and talked to my family for an hour and started packing for our canoeing trip. While packing and ironing at 10:30pm Bryce Reckner called and we talked for a little while. Then Steve Parrish came and asked I wanted to watch a movie with him so I was up till 1:45 watching a movie with him.
Saturday morning my alarm went off at 6:00. Aurrgh too early, after being up so late. Off I went to shower, finish packing, dress, and carry my stuff down to the porch on the Library. This morning it was raining really hard. I had soaked my BDU’s all the way around below my raincoat and the rain had seeped into my duffel and backpack after the short walk through the rain to the porch. What a way to start a trip, cold, wet, and tired. My traveling companions for this trip were Major Farr, Brystol Reckner, and John Friedli. We would be staying at the Reckner’s before heading off to on the canoe trip with Bryce and Tyler Reckner so Brystol was going to go home with us and stay with her family during the time we were canoeing. Saturday night we stayed up talking and looking at pictures till after midnight and I helped in the barn. It was really fun helping feed all the horses, cows, and the little calves.
Sunday I helped again in the barn and with breakfast, which was very good. Then we leisurely did dishes and got dressed. We all had brought our dress uniforms so all the Reckner guys wore their cadet dress uniforms too. After church and lunch we headed off to eastern KY to a little cabin in the middle of nowhere. There we met up with two local Cadet Family’s Capt. Snyder and his son Joshua, and Lt. Atkins and his two sons Garret and Hunter. Bryce, Tyler, John, and I stayed in the loft, Major Farr in the living room, and the other two families each had their own bedrooms. During the four hour drive we talked a lot about where we wanted to go with cadets and what we need to do for the program to continue growing. We also worked on some of the preliminary plans for the camps next year.
Monday morning our alarms wet off at 4:45am. After wisdom search we had a wonderful breakfast of pancakes and sausage. Then we drove three hours plus a time change to the far eastern part of KY to meet our outfitter. Then we drove another hour on the outfitters bus into TN for the start of our trip. The river is at a 70 year low so there were several places we had to pull our canoes across the rocks.
My canoeing buddy/partner was Garret or Hunter Atkins. Garret is 10 and Hunter is 8. They would switch off riding with me and riding with their dad. We had a great time and even stopped a few times along the way to jump off big rocks and swim. About 5pm we stopped for the night and set up camp. Dinner was macaroni and cheese. It was pretty good. After dinner we had a debrief of how the day had gone and then talked for a little while before going to bed.
Tuesday we got up about 7am, had hot oatmeal and dried fruit for breakfast. After breakfast we had a wisdom search from II Timothy 1 and then broke camp and headed on our way. We arrived at our next camping area at noon. At this site there were many rocks spread across the river so we ate out on the rocks in the middle of the river. After we set up out tents we headed out on a 6.4 mile hike. Half a mile and 500’ of positive elevation change later we were in top of an open ridge. Lightning was beginning to flash all around us and the rain was pouring down. So we moved to the tree line and huddled under a few evergreen trees which didn’t help to protect us from the rain much. After about ten minutes Tyler came back from exploring down the hill and informed us that there was a nice overhang just down the way. So we all headed down there and sat in the dry. After about thirty min. the younger boys started a fire and we had a nice worm spot to dry out. After three hours the rain was slowly letting up so Bryce jumped up and asked me to come with him and off he went down the hill. Just below where we were in a 6’ ceiling “cave/overhang” there was a much bigger 30’ ceiling with a smooth floor. However the rain had quite so we continued on our way. For dinner we had “pudgie pies” and more macaroni and cheese. Then Tyler and I sat on the rocks by the river and talked for a while.
Wednesday found us up at 7am again. This morning we had pancakes and bacon then Wisdom search and the final leg of our canoe trip. Part way down the river we found a very nice rock to swim off of so I went and jumped off with a few of the guys. It was really fun. Earlier in the morning Hunter wanted to go back up on of the smaller rapids and ride it back down again. So off we went however he decided that he was going to switch sides of the boat that he was paddling on and before I could react the currant had caught the boat and turned us sideways and flipped us. Then later on the most technical of the rapids Major Farr and John hit a rock and got stuck and flipped. Then later Bryce and Tyler tried to go back up another of the rapids and they got caught and flipped. So we all had wet gear. We arrived at the portage location just after a group of boy scouts that were also on the river. So we had lunch and then made the portage around Devils falls. After the portage we only had a about a ¼ of a mile to the take out point. We hauled our gear up top the cars and then Bryce, John, and I spread all our gear out to dry across about five or six parking spaces. Then Bryce and I walked around the outdoor history museum type area that they had there at the old mining town.
We arrived back at the Reckners about 8pm, just in time for dinner. After dinner I helped with the barn chores. Halfway through chores Capt. Reckner came out and asked if I could come weld piece back on the hitch of and old hay bailer that he is restoring. Once I finished that we headed back up to the house where they had dessert waiting. I don’t remember what we had but it sure was good. Then we looked at more pictures and talked till about 1am.
After breakfast and helping with some of the barn chores Major Farr said it was time to leave. The drive back home was filled with lots of planning, talking, and devotionals. The whole way back the weather was just beautiful, till we were about an hour out from Big Sandy. Then there was torrential rain, high winds, and a huge wall cloud.
Friday I caught up on things in the office and helped John with packing for Sacramento.
Saturday I cleaned my dorm room and some of my camping gear then went to brunch. After brunch I mowed all the grass between the all the dorms. That took till right before dinner then I fixed the tire on my bike. The Farr’s phone hadn’t been working since the last storm so Brystol and I couldn’t find out what time they were going to pick us up for church. So I rode my bike over and Mrs. Farr wanted me to come in a talk for a while. While we were talking we saw the alligator swim across the lake twice. Yes, he decided that the pond down by the water treatment plant wasn’t quite what he was looking for so he moved up to Lake Loma. Then Major Farr and Katie came back from taking one of the cats to get stitched up from where some other animal had clawed his side open. And as is the tradition in the Farr house we had Ice Cream. Yummy. After getting back I spent about an hour on the phone with my family. Boy was it good to talk with them for a while.
Sunday I went to church with Major and Mrs. Farr, Katie, and Brystol. The message was pretty good. After church we had lunch at the Farr’s and then just talked. The Farr’s took Brystol and I back to our respective houses/dorms and I power washed part of the patio and dorm.
Today it has been raining terribly hard. The lake is up more than 3 feet from last week. They have to let a lot of water out of it and pump it back into the creek because it is so full. It is going over the spillway. I spent most of the morning working in the office and then this afternoon I had to set up mikes and the computer to record the Quest Leadership training classes. Now I need to go work on my “21 Laws of Leadership” lesson for tomorrow.