We set up camp along the banks and set out for an afternoon hike to Whiskey Flats. It was a new experience to hike through the recently burned out forest. The forest had been charred to nothing in a wildfire the year before and the ground was covered with new tree growth and burned out stumps. We went for a swim in one of the feeder channels to the river, slip-sliding over the boulders and splashing in the pools. After a great hike which included scrambling over log bridges we settled in for a bbq dinner and a campfire with SMORES.
The group was the best part. I really didn’t know anyone too well, but I was able to connect with every person over the course of the trip. They helped build my self-esteem, confidence and communication skills.
We were up at first dawn excited about the day. We had a visitor in the middle of the night, a large buck, which took all of the food from one of the clients that had left his food bag out, needless to say there was oatmeal and protein bar remnants scattered about the campsite. It was great to see the other clients chip in and all contribute some of their food to the foodless client. We packed up our gear, pulled out our trekking poles and set out on the single track trail. Three hours later we had made it 2.5 miles rising 1,000 feet to the crest of the trail. Along the trail we encountered bald eagles, wild rabbits, and wild buffalo.
We spent the day hiking; taking in majestic views of the Pacific Ocean and the nearby Channel Islands. We made it into Shark Harbor in the late afternoon and set up camp on the edge of the beach. We went for a refreshing swim in the ocean, thankful that our hiking was over. The stew was delicious and our fire provided much needed comic relief as it took us forever to start it and keep it going. We sat around the fire and enjoyed each others stories and the amazing views of the stars in the sky overhead.
Morningside staff did an excellent job of conducting the trip and showing us how much fun you could have in sobriety.
We headed into Avalon for our SNUBA experience. With our wetsuits on, we plunged into the ocean with regulators and guides in tow. SNUBA is much like SCUBA diving, but without the oxygen tanks. You are hooked up to a regulator that has a 30 foot oxygen hose that goes to the top of the water where it connects to SCUBA tanks that float in rafts. After SNUBA and lunch, we went zip lining. Clients were careening down steel cables of speeds over 40+ mph over huge canyons and through trees. This was a great experience for the clients as it allowed them to confront fears and push through them. The progress from one zip line to the next was great to witness. We headed back to the mainland with the boat ride full of stories about the exciting experiences from the trip.