Thursday, May 24, 2012

Whitewater adventure provides manly rest for TFP volunteers

By Alexander McKay

As we sped down the Cheat and Dry Fork Rivers of West Virginia, the rain lashed at our faces and thunder cracked overhead.  We felt close to the awesome majesty of God as the water crashed, rolled and splashed, tossing us and our kayaks in all directions like tiny toothpicks.

Suddenly, we find ourselves boat-less.  Yes, capsizing in whitewater rapids, and getting beaten by the ceaseless rush of 4.9 thousand cubic feet of water per second while struggling to swim is a challenge.  The sensation is difficult to describe.

The annual whitewater trip is a TFP Student Action custom spanning nearly ten years.  This restful yet challenging excursion is always enjoyed by TFP volunteers, and it provides lessons in selfless teamwork as each kayaker is called to rescue colleagues, boats and paddles when necessary.

Among the rapids and swirling undercurrents, however, God created tranquil stretches of placid water where one can reflect and admire. The contrast is striking.  The turbulent water is now calm, mirroring the stupendous scenery of the rising valley -- trees of varying shades of green, rocky outcrops and sheer cliff faces.  The sun glistening off the water presents a beautiful spectacle as the light jumps from one ripple to the next.

Once again the distant roar signaling the approach of some new rapid is heard. Get ready!  Sinking the paddle deep and feeling your kayak cut through the increasingly turbulent waves, you look around and see the smiling, determined faces of your friends.

Reassured: Back into the fray!

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