The bash was based at Montebello Campground near Crabtree Falls. The campground has a murky little artificial pond that they call the "lake" (mm hmm, and when I make a snowball I call it a "glacier"). The pond was the site for two intro to white water kayaking lessons that I took. There was no white water in the pond; we were learning very basic things like the "wet exit" (how to get yourself out of the kayak if it flips over), paddling, and steering.
Here are some of the white water kayaks on the beach at the start of our first lesson. You can see that they are really stubby compared to a flatwater kayak. They're short, with flat bottoms, and they're meant to fit very close to your body (we had to sort of wedge ourselves in, which made some people nervous about being able to get out), so the steering is very sensitive--they turn on a dime. At one point, I had fun spinning myself around on the water like the spinner in a game of Twister.
** Here we are, all lined up on the beach for our lesson in the "wet exit." Don't we look like a row of ducklings? I was in the white kayak all day.
** Here I am capsizing myself in order to practice the "wet exit." The water was cold and it was scarier than I expected to be stuck upside down underwater with my legs immobilized, unable to just swim up to the surface. I had to free myself from the kayak first. Panicking every time I had to do the "wet exit" is what makes me think that maybe white water kayaking isn't the sport for me, after all. I'd still like to take an open kayak or sit-on-top kayak through some MILD white water sometime, perhaps, but I don't like being stuck in the full skirt when the kayak turns over.
** Ducklings paddling around!
Here I am, paddling.
Paddling. That red strap across the skirt of the kayak is what I had to grasp and pull in order to execute the "wet exit." Some of the kayak skirts had just a loop on one side of the skirt; I imagine that would have been harder to find underwater.
The campground had an open field with an amazing view of the mountains. This field is where the real party was held late Saturday afternoon and into Saturday evening. You can see a volleyball game in progress way down at the lower end of the field.
A zoomed-in shot of the volleyball game.
Overlooking the field was this "pavilion" with a deck that normally held a few picnic tables. The OASC group moved the picnic tables into the field and set up the deck as a stage for a series of seven bands to play live music.
** Here's a good shot of the field just as the party was starting to get going. I'm just to the right of center, in green-blue top, blue skirt, and blue bandana. I'm talking to Amy (in purple dress, with white spaniel), who leads many OASC biking trips, including the James River Heritage Trail rides that I enjoyed so much.
** Here's a picture of a game of Flip Cup in progress. The table was not level and those of us on the downhill side suffered a handicap. The guy in the blue shirt with a "dog paddle" logo (look closely and you may get the joke) at the far end of the table is Peter, the white water kayak instructor. The guy immediately to my left at the table (i.e. just to the right of me in the picture), with the wavy hair and dark shirt, is named Dan. We had met once before the OASC anniversary weekend and we kept meeting up and talking during the weekend. We've decided to keep on meeting up and talking since then.
After I left the campground, on my way home via the Blue Ridge Parkway, I stopped at a mostly-cleared mountaintop to take this composite 360-degree panorama. I assure you, the view is more impressive in person.