The pictures are not the best...I have already placed these pictures in my scrapbook years ago and I didn't want to take my scrapbook album apart to scan these pages so I took the lazy way out and just re-photographed the pictures in my album...hence the reason they are blurry.
I recently began thinking about this trip I took with my daughters back when they were in 8th grade. I think it was in 2000. This was to be a leadership building trip full of challenges and self-esteem building activities. I went along as a chaperone. It turned out to be quite a "challenging" trip for me as well. Everything the kids had to do - the chaperones had to do. We were not exempt from anything!
Our first stop was Cloudland Canyon State Park for a strenuous 5 mile hike. It was a beautiful hike but there were parts where we had to rely on one another to help us climb up and down steep enbankments. Everyone was exhausted by the time we were done.
The 2nd day we went to Raccoon Mountain for a Wild Cave expedition. We were told to wear clothes that we could throw away after we came out of the cave because we would be so dirty we would NOT want to keep these clothes! We got our gear on...helmet with light, kneepads, and gloves and began our journey down into the caves. We walked, crawled on our knees, slithered on our bellies, and pulled ourselves through holes and up ropes through the caves for four hours. By the time we got out, our bodies were bruised, battered and exhausted but it was an awesome, amazing feeling of accomplishment at having completed this together.
Yes, "they" were right....as soon as we came out of the caves, we grabbed our bag of clean clothes off the bus and headed for the bathrooms and got cleaned up. We tossed these muddy filthy clothes in the trash (shoes included)!
After we left Raccoon Mountain, we drove to Ocoee, TN and stayed in Horn's Creek Cabins for the remainder of the week. This was a beautiful retreat set-up complete with horseback riding and ropes course. We participated in both of these activities the next day. The only thing I did on the High Ropes Course was the zip line....had to climb up a 40 foot ladder to the top of a tower and was strapped into the zip line and then was supposed to jump off this tower to go flying through the woods 200 feet down the mountain on this "thin" zip line. Yeah, easier said than done! Looks easy until I was actually standing UP at the top of this 40 foot tower looking down!! Then I tried backing out. The instructor informed me the only way down was either the zip line or climbing backwards back down that ladder....which wasn't very comforting....so the zip line won.
He tells me "Just Squat and drop" as in - I don't really have to jump...just squat and push off the side. By this time all the kids below are saying "Come on, you can do it, come on!"
So I FINALLY do it and I close my eyes and SCREAM the entire ride down....then I slam into this large trampoline thing hanging from the trees and it sends me back up the zip line!! WHAT?!
Here I am going back and forth until I slow down enough for the instructor at the bottom to grab me. My daughter comes running up to me..."Mom, wasn't that great!!!????" My legs are like jelly..."umm, yeah, great!"
She starts heading to the next high rope obstacle..."C'mon mom!"
"Hmmmm, I think I'll watch this one." I decided one was enough for me that day!
Our last day in TN we went whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River. I had never been before so this was something I was really looking forward to. I was in a raft with the other teachers/chaperones. We had such a great time!
On the way home the kids were rewarded with a trip to Six Flags over GA. The chaperones/teachers were all so exhausted from the week long trip of "adventure" that all we did was sit and talk in different restaurants and areas throughout the park the entire day. Kids were making fun of us all day because we didn't ride rides or anything. We told them we had had enough adventure for one week!