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Posted by Rick Civelli | 09.14.2012 | WB Surf Camp News

2012 Mountains to Surf Camp – Josh Youse (Part II)

Our next adventure took us onto Mountain Biking at Tsali Recreation Area. Considered to be one of the Top 10 places to ride in the USA. Tsali Recreation Area contains nearly 40miles of well-maintained single-track mountain bike trails. Once our guide sized everyone and assigned bicycles it wasn’t long before everyone was ready to roll. Each one of the campers was riding around, testing brakes, popping wheelies and bouncing up and down. Of course we immediately reminded the group of our safety talk and the responsibility of operating a bicycle. Well after a group photo opportunity we were off, riding up and down, over rocks, through trickling streams, over roots and tree trunks. This trail is awesome! Getting to ride so close to your surroundings with mountain laurel everywhere and beautiful views of Lake Fontana it was way cool. It wasn’t long before we all worked up a sweat, but the exhilarating ride and wind rushing past your face made it all worth it. After a couple stops to regroup, hydrate and catch our breathe we made it to the finish and back to our vehicles. Lunch was awaiting and we didn’t want to be late for our overflowing lunch cooler was packed with goodies.

We ended many of our nights early with time to reflect on the days events, stare at a starry sky and avoid the bugs. Kayaking on Lake Fontana was pleasant paddle and fun to explore by boat. Along the way we picked up trash and gathered floating debris from the lake. Within an hour or two most boats had fair amount of bottles, buckets and other discarded plastic products. Putting in time cleaning up the environment comes with a bit of fun as I recall several campers attempting to stand up in their kayaks and jump in the water, one boat took on so much water it almost sank. Moving onto our afternoon spent hiking and swimming at Deep Creek. Located in Smokey Mountain National Park Deep Creek is a beautiful spot filled with waterfalls and swimming holes. If you keep an eye out as you may see some of the more than 240species of birds found in the Park. The Smokies are also labeled as the salamander capital of the world, along with being one of the only homes to the red eared salamander.  5 families and 30species exist within the park, that’s not hard to believe when you realize that on the high peaks of the smokies, an average of 85inches of rain falls each year, qualifiying these upper elevation areas temperate rain forests.

After a leisurely stroll and couple dips in the creek we were back in the van and heading to camp at the NOC for dinner and desert. We woke to a couple of wet morning as it rained off and on throughout the trip. A day or two had passed since we first went rafting, but it wasn’t long before we geared up for our next adventure as we took a road trip to South Carolina. The Chattooga river was spectacular, with warm water, fish jumping and  plenty of opportunities to stop and jump into a few rapids. After our exciting journey of running class III whitewater we pilled back into the van and were off back to camp at the NOC. Our final activity led us to the Zip-line Adventure Park. A high ropes mutli-element challenge course suspended 15feet in the air. It didn’t take the group long to rush through the course and conquer the challenge course. After a few extra rides on the zip-line the campers were ready for to relax by the river, bang on some drums, have dinner and share some well-earned s’mores.

The week was made up of a ton of fun activities with some great group bonding and hilarious memories.  A solid foundation to build upon for the next week long portion of the camp back in beautiful Wrightsville Beach.  Speaking of, it was our final day, travel day. Time to eat breakfast and pile into the van for our trek back to the coast. Mountains camp was a success and I look forward to many more years of exploring the Great Smokey Mountains.