It usually takes a bit longer for summer to be in full effect here in the Klamath Basin, but it is finally here. The summer season at Dragonfly is also well under way.
Once school was out we started things off with two Adventures trips. One group of students set out on a rafting trip down the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River, while another group headed to Bend for camping, mountain biking, and paddle boarding.
The Bend Trip
On the 9th of June the students did some last minute packing and preparation then headed off toward the Bend Or. The group stayed in three wooden cabin style homes. The first evening the students relaxed after a hectic morning and three hour drive, they bonded and enjoyed each others company throughout the evening.
The real adventure started the next morning when the group went mountain biking. The following is from one of the students on the trip…
I feel anxious trying new things and overall when things are different from normal. On this trip in Bend though, I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I am taking risks and trying new things. Today the activity was mountain biking. I was so nervous to ride the bike. I kept thinking things like “what if I fall off?” or “everyone’s going to make fun of how slow I am.”
The thoughts got louder and louder the closer the time came to riding and my anxiety got higher and higher, but I did it anyways. I got on the bike and started to ride. Even though I was the last person in the group I was okay with that. For once I felt okay with being the slowest. In the middle of riding though my chain fell off the gear and I felt terrified. I didn’t know what to do and had to stop riding. Thankfully another student helped me and put the chain back on the gear and I was able to keep going. I ended up riding the whole trail to the end and all the way back. I felt so accomplished and happy at the end of the bike ride. I completed something myself and without giving up.
The next day started with a wonderful chocolate chip pancake breakfast. Afterwards, everyone gathered around in a common area for a therapeutic group led by 2 students. They discussed a couple of chapters out of the book “The Tao of Leadership”. During this time, many of the students offered their thoughts on what was read and offered insights from their own lives.
Following the discussion, the group got into the vans and drove to the Bend Rock Gym. It was another chance for many students to try something they had never tried before and challenge their perception of what they could or could not do. From another student…
Upon entering the gym, many of us had to take a minute to just stare at the huge climbing walls. These walls reached about 35-40 feet in height; some routes with automatic belay systems. Other routes required another person to belay the climber. We climbed for several hours and had a great time even though our arms were killing us by the time we left.
After rock climbing the group returned to the house and grilled burgers. While the cooks were using the grill, others soaked their weary bones in the hot tub on the deck or played pool in the rec room.
On the third day of the Bend trip the group set off to the Deschutes River for some paddle boarding. The day is summed up pretty well by one of the students on the trip
Today was one of the most entertaining days I have had in a long while. It consisted of waking up feeling refreshed after a well-deserved sleep from the day before. We had a delicious group breakfast around nine o’clock. Next was the main event of the day, which was my highlight of the week and absolute favorite thing to do: stand up paddle boarding.
Upon arriving at the Deschutes River, I immediately ripped my shirt off and threw my sandals carelessly then sprinted over to pick up my board and get going. The sun was shining bright and it glistened off the clear water. It was warm enough in the air to the point where it was easy to work up a sweat with minimal work while cruising up river.
When others and myself would get too hot, we would ditch our boards and dive headfirst off into the water. The cold water cooled me down quickly and got the sweat right off my body. My skin bronzed thoroughly in the radiant sun as I felt high levels of vitamin D course through my body.
We paddled up stream, and we paddled down stream. For me, the part that was most fun was when myself and some friends were simply seated on our boards and letting the natural current push us down stream. When we finally got out of the water, we played baseball in the sun and laughed heavily. The rest of the day was as simple and easy as coming back to the house and cooking up a nice steak and salad dinner and enjoying it properly.
Overall, this was the best day I have had at Dragonfly, and I hope to have many more like it in the near future.
Rafting the Rogue
The yearly rafting of the Wild and Scenic portion of the Rogue River with ARTA rafting was once again a huge success! there was a great group of students with positive attitudes. We met our guides Sunday night and the students instantly loved them, lots of conversation a few students overcoming some shyness to interact. We all had a great laugh filled conversation about what was ahead for the week, said our goodbyes, and headed to bed.
The weather took and unexpected turn for worse in the first 24hours of our trip, overcast, highs in the low 60s, and some drizzling rain. But none of that crushed the students smiles. We hit several rapids in the morning and quickly approached a class 5 rapid that was unsafe for our boats to go over. As the guides instructed we got out of our boats, all of us learned how to identify poison oak, and hiked around the rapid. It was intense to see how large the rapid was and hear the guides explain the challenges of rafting it successfully and safely. We ended our first day at a location with at a beautiful slopping meadow right on the river. The students formed a fireline to get all the personal and group gear off the boat and into our campsite. They were grunting and smiling as they turned the work into a bit of a game. We all helped to set up camp and took some time to take in the evening.
Dinner was incredible! Students helped where they could to get tables set up and dinner prepared. They sure know how to create a beautiful and delicious spread! We had tri tip, salad and pesto pasta, followed up with brownies for desert. Students were loving it! Most of us had the opportunity to spot our first bear near dusk. Across the river, up the hill, and behind a tree was an adult bear watching us. When it realized how many of us there were it quickly scampered away and up the hill. It was very exciting to see such a wild and elusive creature.
Day 2: After an early rise, a spectacular breakfast, and a motivational reading we headed back out onto the river. The day again greeted us with clouds and low temperatures, through out the day it did warm up a touch to give us a taste of what was to come for the rest of the week. Over the course of the day we hit several large rapids, saw plenty of deer getting drinks from the river with their young, and created games and songs in each of the paddle boats. Students practiced their teamwork in each boat knowing that the next day brought several technical class 4 rapids they would need to paddle through. The day ended on a warm note and several students decided to take the opportunity to jump off a rock into deep water.
Day 3: The warm weather caught us by surprise toward the end of day 2. Sunscreen slathered on, we were ready to face the very cool class 4 rapids ahead of us. They were intense! The lead gear boat had the opportunity to go ahead and be able to take photos of students paddling their way through. (You can view these photos in a gallery here). All of the students did great, no one fell out, everyone that was nervous prior to the rapid was smiling for joy with the adrenaline rush afterward. We had another wonderful lunch, skipping rocks and wading into the water to cool down.
The rest of our day took us on a picturesque tour of a canyon area of the wild and scenic. Calm water and a bit of shade gave students time to toss each other out of boats and swim. We found another great jumping rock and most students took the opportunity to take a refreshing jump into the river.
Day 4: We started our day again with a motivational reading and took to the river. On our final day several students wanted to try their hand at rowing the gear boats. Most found it harder then they thought! Several were inspired enough to inquire about ways to become a river guide. We had another wonderful day of floating and taking dips in the river. Before we knew it lunch was over and we were pulling out boats out of the river to head home.
10/29 Family Workshop (virtual)
11/11 Parent Cohort Virtual