Summer Camp Ardèche, France - Wednesday, 2017-07-26

Grand Descent!!!

Woohoo!! It's now Thursday morning, camp slowly getting into gear again after coming back from what was an amazing Grand Descent - great weather (with a bit of wind), great paddling, great BBQ, and great times!

Tuesday morning began at the usual time for breakfast, to load up on energy before getting all of the barrels out on the field and hopping on the bus. The bus took us to Trois Eaux, just beyond the Vallon Pont d'Arc where we had left our boats last, and after making our way down, we put our barrels in, sorted out who was paddling with who, and launched off! There were some dark clouds in the sky, but because of the north winds, our French River guides weren't worried at all.

Our fleet was divided into the River Safety team (checking out rapids and helping the kids through them), while the other group retained the Mamma Duck formation of the Mini-Descent. Cass was mamma duck, with Snow, Ivy, and Unicorn in the middle, and Wildling taking the sweep. We had lunch just after the Dent Noir rapid, and some sweet cliffjumping in the afternoon. Eventually, we arrived to Bivouac de Gournier at about 5.30, as the afternoon sun was lighting up the 200m-high cliffs all around us.

Dinner was already cooking on the grill thanks to Pebble and Moose, who had paddled ahead and started it early. The river crew stowed their boats and began hauling their barrels up the hill, and before long were taking tours around the site and laying out their sleeping bags in the tents. Because the weather was so nice, Moose allowed anyone who wanted to sleep out under the stars with her, and so a tarp was laid out, and all campers chose to! After dinner was eaten (BBQ sausages and burgers with lentil salad, green salad, and breads), everybody sat around in a large circle for a good few games of Mafia. Bedtime was 10, although the wispering didn't stop until late!

The next day began at 7.30, organizing barrels and helmets and PFDs and lining up for breakfast at 8 (of cereals, bread with jam, and fruit juice). By 9.30 we had all made it back down to the beach and were hitting the first rapid, La Toupine. From there it was a short paddle to a large flat section of river, near Madeleine Rock, where everyone rafted up to float down amidst snacks and stories! A few more rapids before we lunched after Cable Corner, doing another session of cliffjumping and rapid-swimming.

The final stretch was through windy corner and out around to Sauze beach, where we took out the boats and loaded them onto trailers. Everyone pitched in, and the whole process only took about 20 minutes, before Allain handed out cans of lemonade and cola to all, and we walked back to a waiting bus.

When we arrived back at camp, it was swiftly emptying barrels and maybe having a quick shower before dinner of crumbed cod. Everyone was quite tired, so we put on a movie, and after that, had an early night! Today campers are visiting the local markets in Vallon Pont d'Arc, and then will be prepping for the Talent Show. Awesome stuff!!

Summer Camp activites today
  • Grand Descent!
Summer Camp Menu (short version)
  • Breakfast
  • Cereals, fresh fruits, yoghurt, bread
  • Lunch
  • Wraps with a selection of meats, cheeses, and salads
  • Dinner
  • BBQ - Sausages, meat patties (veg option available), carrot and raisin salad, green salad, breads. For desert: grilled pineapple
  • subject to change
    vegetarian options available
    Information about Summer Camp nutrition

Photos from the Camp in Ardèche, France today

Summer Camp Counsellor Profile
Summer Camp Counsellor Poppy