Adventure Crew Takes on the Buffalo River

Buffalo River 2013

Every trip we take with the Adventure Crew has a feel or a theme. I believe that this trip, more so than on any other trip I’ve led in my life challenged me to the core. There is much that happens that the kids are unaware of leading up to a trip. Countless hours of planning and organizing, preparing and agonizing, but this one was unique. There is always an element of danger that’s present when you’re going into the wilderness and even more so when you are taking inexperienced kids. Compound that with this trips very challenging weather conditions and a powerful river, and you have tough decisions to make. The night before we got on the river I was faced with this precise dilemma. I knew we had adequate gear for the conditions, but wished the kids had more training. I knew the weather would warm up each day and the snow would stop after day 1, but temps in the low 20’s at night on the river would be grueling. And, what if a boat flips? Or, worse yet, what if two boats flipped?

This was the question that my decision hung on. So while the kids played games and watched TV the night before we were due to arrive at the river I was glued to YouTube. I watched multiple videos showing rescue teams handling hypothermic situations and read multiple websites describing the signs and cues. I pulled in Kristina and Jamie and we discussed the pros and cons we were facing. We strategized our game plan for the river and exactly what we would do if a boat flipped. In some ways I felt like a general leading my troops into battle knowing, likely more so than they, the difficulty we would all face. Should we just hang out in Arkansas and make the most of our time or face the sure misery the adventure would dish out?

As I have gotten older I am not nearly as carless as I use to be (to many people this is a scary thought), but I am still convinced that this is where REAL LIFE happens! The space that is outside of our control, those moments where we are dependent, uncomfortable, and scared is where we are most alive. This is where eyes widen, grips tighten, and our minds focus. This is where we don't have time or energy to be someone we aren't we are most ourselves. This is where character is forged and where memories and scares are won for us to carry forever! So the next day we arrived at The Gilbert General Store. After examining our team thoroughly Ben was still willing to put us on the river. So the journey began!

- Loren

Stay tuned for more on this trip and for now check out some of the pics we took: