Church Rafting Trip July 2017

Dates: July 10-13, 2017

People: Mark, Sarah, Kara, Ashley, Kristin, Thomas, Luke, Mike, Gillian, Jessie, Madison, Ron, Myarra


  • 7-10 (Travel Day)
  • 7-11 (Rafting Day)
  • 7-12 (Activity Day)
  • 7-13 (Travel Day)


Our trip began with a meeting time of 8am at Grace. We didn't have any hard set deadlines for arrival at Adventures on the Gorge so we didn't see a powerful need to go crazy early. With only some minor delays we had the whole group present and packed and hit the road about 8:45am. In my car I had myself, Kara, Ashley, Kristin, Luke and Thomas. Sarah's car had herself, Mike, Gillian, Jessie, Ron, Madison, and Myarra. Our car went pretty quietly. We hit a big storm around Findlay and had lightning striking not too far out. Visibility went down so low in the heavy rain at one point that we were down to about 35mph and considering having to stop for a minute. We spent much of the early drive following the camper trailer driven by the Schmidt's from our Boy Scout Troop. We mostly tried to stay in caravan.

I was also plagued this morning with an unexpectedly sore neck. I had gone out about 6:30am and run a few miles and felt fine. Somehow by the time we arrived at church a little before 8am, the left side of my neck had a sore muscle in it. This would leave me in pain the whole drive there as I tried to find a comfortable, supportive position. This would surprisingly last, in part, the whole trip.

Our first stop was a quick gas stop on the north side of Columbus. I put some in our rental van. It wasn't long after that that we hit our lunch stop in Canal Winchester. I had scouted that out ahead of time as having a variety of fast food options close together and also large parking areas for the camper trailer to be able to park. Our two vehicles went to the Wendy's, although Sarah walked across the street and hit the Popeye's. The Scouts two vehicles hit the Taco Bell. We were there at lunch from about 12 to 1.

We hit the road again and our vehicle didn't have any further stops. Sarah's vehicle stopped at a gas station in Athens for snacks, we were ahead and kept rolling. Our vehicle and the Scouts vehicles all arrived at Adventures on the Gorge around 4:45pm. We had taken the Hwy612 route in. The scouts came in on one of the heavily switchbacked roads which made things slow with the trailer, but they still managed. Sarah's vehicle arrived 5:20pm and we got checked in. Ahead of time they had told Sarah there was ample room at two of the campsites for the trailer and they had hookups. Upon arrival the clerk told us this was not the case. They started to look at other locations to put the scouts group. In the end, upon inspecting the original two sites they learned that would work and we used them. They were at sites 13 and 14 and had ample room. We made use of 2 of the picnic tables and probably could have used a 3rd. We were in the Hemlock cabins again, #56 and #57.

Once everyone get settled and camp assembled we walked over to the Scouts camp at 6:35pm and helped prepare supper. They had premarinated small chunks of chicken and were cooking those as well as rice pilaf. It was absolutely fantastic with taste. They also got a small fire going for anyone who wanted to roast hot dogs. We enjoyed having everyone visit and a few small table games broke out. After supper was finished I did a devo around the tables and the camp fire talking about the two great commandments Jesus speaks of in loving God and loving neighbor, and talked about the definition of love and our purpose in this life to love neighbor. Our group headed back to our cabins around 10p and we were almost immediately ready for bed. I had Mike, myself, Luke, Thomas, and Ron in the guys cabin.


I didn't sleep well last night. The bunk beds there have a thin mattress pad on them and that's it. Most of the time I could make do with this but with a sore neck I just couldn't find a comfy position. I only brought my fleece sleeping bag liner this year and this actually worked fine. I brought a typical house pillow for my head which was good. The overnight temps were about perfect and the fan we had going in the room also did its job.

I was up just after 7am this morning with most of the group getting up by 7:30am. We had breakfast scheduled for 9am at the Scouts camp. With a later start to rafting this year we didn't need to be in any rush this morning. We were at the Rendezvous Lodge for our rafting checkin just after 9:30am. They did an attendance check and explained a few things we needed to know. We got our gear (paddle, life-vest, and helmet) and boarded the bus around 10am. Some of the helmets in selection had GoPro mounts and I wish I had ended up bringing mine. The bus drove us to the put-in at Cunard. We divided our whole group up into 3 rafts, our raft had myself, Sarah, Luke Ashley, Kristin, Myarra, Thomas. Our guide was Gobo. We helped carry the raft down to the river and then we were in.

We got a little rowing training and then were on our way. We had our first real fun at the Lower Railroad rapids where Thomas and I both fell out of our raft. It happened quickly and I couldn't tell how it had happened. Neither of us were hurt at all. Looking at the video later it looks like I popped up and then lost my purchase with the raft. The guide had had us move to the middle of the raft and I believe when I did that I only had one foot gripping. Poor technique probably. When we did the Warmups Rapids I remembered them from last time. I believe it was in the first one where Sarah had fallen out last time. We did 2 class 5's today, a few class 4's, and plenty of 3's.

We passed our lunch stop from 2 years ago, but only a few minutes later after the Middle Keeney rapid we stopped. Like 2 years ago, lunch was cold cut sandwiches, salad, and water and lemonade drinks. We had plenty of great places today for swimming in the river which was thoroughly enjoyed. We also go to do the cliff jump into the river though it was a different location. It was off a large rock in the river itself very close to the end. Most of our group tried it. It was perhaps a 15-20 foot drop.

We reached the put-in at around 3pm, it was the same location as 2015. Our rafting as a whole was about 2 hours shorter than in 2015, not sure if we started at a different location or where the time difference came in. They had coolers at the bus again this year with coke products and a few beers. We were back up to camp by 4pm.

A lot of our group hit the pool for awhile at this point. I watched over them there until close to 5pm when they would be showing our rafting video in the Rendezvous Lounge. This seemed to be a new addition from 2 years ago. The rafting groups before ours were also there watching theirs. It was almost a party atmosphere with a bar open there as well.

We had supper just after 6pm at the scouts camp. Tonight was a quick and easy meal of sloppy joes and more hot dogs on the grill. After supper most folks went back to the pool til it closed at 9pm. Then we went back to our cabins. It looked like people were ready to turn in, until we decided to play Head's Up on Smartphones in the ladies cabin til close to 11pm.


I had a rough night last night and a horrible morning. With my neck pains I developed a headache overnight and woke up with the headache and a bit of headache-induced nausea. I texted Sarah to get some ibuprofen and took it around 7:15am. My whole body just felt rotten.

At 7:15am today our paintball group was scheduled for breakfast with the scouts group who were all paintballing except for Kaylie. Our group was breakfast at 8:15a with Kaylie at the scout camp. I walked over there but immediately sat in one of their camp chairs and reclined. I was sipping my water and drying to deep breathe my body back. At 8:40a I walked the 9a zipline group over and got them checked in. I waited with them til they started at 9a. Sarah got a group picture. By this point I was starting to feel a bit improved. Our zip group checked in at 9:10a and we got going at 9:30am.

We had our 5 and then a family of 3 with us for the zip. They walked us down a trail to a training area where we went over the basics. They handled all of the gear including clipping in and out. We practiced breaking technique.

The ziplining involved 10 zips, 3 sky bridges, 2 short hikes and then a rappel at the end. On the zip towers we stayed attached with a double carabiner setup. The guides did all of the clipping to ensure no mistakes. The zips were fun. We would zip down the line and get a sign from the guide as we neared to start braking. This involved using our right hand, with a glove on it, to press onto the line (not grab it) and create enough friction to slow us. It was a fun time. Our group was myself, Luke, Kaylie, Myarra, and Thomas. The rappel at the end was about a 40 foot drop. It involved hanging on a belay rope and using our two hands to feed the other end of the rope through hands, no rappel devices needed. A backup belayer was on the ground to stop us if necessary.

We got back and met at the scouts camp for lunch at 12:45pm. After lunch our group went swimming for a lot of the afternoon while the scouts group went to check out a nearby Boy scout Camp. We were at the pool til near 5pm. It was pretty warm and humid out but we found a table in the shade to sit at. Near 6pm we headed to the scouts camp for supper which was tacos tonight. We had precooked ground beef, soft taco shells, lettuce and tomato. We forgot the shredded cheese and so used sliced American instead. After supper we drove to the NPS Visitor Center and went to the high overlook first which gives a good view above the road. We then went to walk down the long staircase to the lower overlook but it was closed partway down. After the Overlooks we drove the Hwy 82/Fayette Station down to the old bridge and then up the west side of the Gorge. It turned out to be an enjoyable ride for everyone. The road is one-way pretty much the whole way and narrow, but all well paved.

We returned to the Scouts camp and finished the night around the campfire with smores. We got our bags in our cabin packed up pretty well this night to be ready for the morning.


Our cabin was up just after 7am. I had considered a 6am wakeup to go running but decided against. We were targeting a 9am departure for home. We did what we could two get our cabins emptied and cars packed before breakfast. We targeted 8:15a to finish and were only 10 minutes behind. We did breakfast with the Scouts trying to eat up what food was left. We said our good byes with them and left shortly after 9am.

We returned home on the same route as we had driven down. We stopped for gas and some quick snacks just after Athens. We then planned lunch on the east side of Columbus at a Chick-fil-A. We hit a storm again in this area and had some lightning and heavy rain for a bit. We did lunch about 1:15p and were there for an hour.

We took I270 around Columbus today where we had gone through downtown on Monday. I wasn't continuously running GPS but would run a route when I needed to know turns. Heading north I believe the GPS had me hop on I71 probably with the intention of then taking US36 over to US23. Well I stopped running my GPS after getting on I71 and forgot about the turn. I saw a sign for Mansfield and quickly realized we were off route. We caught it before Marengo and were able to hop Hwy229 to get over to US23. Only ended up losing a few minutes. We took one more stop in Ohio for bathroom and snacks and then plugged along home getting there about 5:15pm.

The End.