May 19 – If one of the goals of Outdoor Education is to teach perspective, then the Upper Campus whitewater rafting trip to the Kern River last weekend should earn high marks. Fourteen high school students and two teachers trekked to the southern side of the Sierra Nevada to tackle the rough water of the Kern and tour the Trail of Giants at Sequoia National Park.
Following years of drought and low flows, a combination of heavy winter snow and warm spring temperatures have combined this year to produce a roiling Kern River, so much so that students were initially shocked at how much whitewater they would traverse.
“When we were driving up the canyon to get our campsite we saw these expert runs,” said sophomore Clover Griffin. “I think everybody got a little freaked out looking at that…But once we were in the boat, the guides were really helpful and it never felt overwhelming. It was really fun!”
Indeed, aided by able river guides the students learned to work as a team, taking three runs down the Kern, each progressively harder than the one before it. Outdoor Education Director Zach Byars, a swift water rescue instructor before coming to OVS, taught the students all about river safety, showing them how to read the water and avoid trouble spots. And he taught them how to have fun on the river, providing a new perspective and a healthy dose of respect for the waterways in our backyard.
Check out photos from the Upper Kern River trip on the OVS website. Middle school students also just returned from their own trip down the Kern. More photos from their May 19-20 trip can be found here: Middle School on the Kern
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Trip leaders have captured some incredible pictures during spring backpacking and weekend outdoor excursions. Be sure to visit the website media galleries to view pictures from the Middle School camping trips, the Sespe Backpacking trip, and the San Onofre surf trip.