Special Studies: Land, Air, and Sea

On Monday we went to the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC. The first thing we did when we got there was go on their mega zipline where we climbed up to the jump area and connected our harnesses to the zipline. Afterwards, we went on the ropes course. People were sent one at a time across each obstacle and it was fun watching each person nervously cross each one. After the first ropes course, we split into two groups. One of the groups went on one that was longer than the first ropes course, and the other was shorter but much more difficult. At the end of the day, many of us were exhausted but none the less accomplished.

Tuesday was our kayaking adventure in Columbia. When we arrived there, we all were packed into a van with our kayaks not only hooked up to the back of the van but on top of the van too. After arriving close to the river, our guides began to inform us of all their rules while they got all of our kayaks prepared for us. One by one, we were slowly pushed onto the water. After we were all on and ready, we started our adventure.

Students of the Land, Air, and Sea trip preparing to zipline
Students of the Land, Air, and Sea trip preparing to zipline

Our entire kayaking trip lasted about two or three hours, and we received one break of eating our lunch in between that time. The rest of the time was spent kayaking, mostly through calm waters. Due to spending so much time out on the water, some of us created a game called “Battle Kayak” where someone paddles towards you and cuts off multiple people while screaming, “Battle Kayak!” We went through some rapids where we had to pass them by a single-file line. No one fell into the water until we were in very calm water at the very end of our trip. Cooper had fallen in after trying to avoid a branch. Afterwards, we made our way to our stop and all gathered up on land again. We arrived back at the kayaking place and most of us changed our clothes due to water getting into our kayaks during our trip. Then we traveled to an ice cream place where our hard work paid off.

The two-day experience at the BMW Driving Camp was the most thrilling and energetic event of the week. Together we weaved our way through cones and gates at high speeds and tackled the slick track. On the slick track, we learned about understeering and oversteering. We learned how these were caused and how to avoid from spinning out. This took a couple of tries though so there was lots of spinning out. After a quick intro into the camp and some instruction, we teamed up in groups of two for the ride of our lives. Of all the time in the BMW 338i, I do not recall a moment when anyone was bored or disinterested. The program was amazingly organized and the instructors took their time to know each of us despite it only being a two-day experience.

The last day was the most exhilarating of the week. BMW provided us with the chance to try out their other vehicles like the X5, M 240i, and Z4. With max speeds up around 70-80 mph, we were zooming through their obstacle course barely hanging on to the road. All in all, the BMW camp combined life-saving instructions and fun at the same time. We went to the gorge zipline on the last day of the special studies. This was a wonderful time. It was really cold when we went but very worth it. They took us to a room to suit up for ziplining. There were 11 ziplines and 3 rappelling towers and 1 suspension bridge. It took us more than 3 hours from start to finish. Halfway through, we got to stop for hot chocolate and a snack. We huddled for warmth on the platforms and screamed and shouted down each zipline. We joked and played while all telling each other to not look down. The guides helped us and took lots of good pictures. It was a very well run experience.

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