Sunday evening, September 2, 2012
Sam and Lucy joined us for the evening as we made our way to
the U.S. National Whitewater Center, about 20 miles
northwest of downtown Charlotte. This facility opened in 2006 with
an artificial river for rafting, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, a zip line,
restaurants, climbing wall and, probably much, much more. The recirculating river is filled with 12 million gallons of water, cleaned every 24 hours by a filtration and ultra-violet system. It is an amazing place, particularly for Montana folks who are used to wild flowing rivers, whitewater rapids, eddies, natural rocks and log jams. The rapids here at the Whitewater Center are classed II-IV, with 3750 feet of whitewater.
Here comes a raft--everyone paddling.
The organization that manages the U.S Canoe and Kayak Olympic teams is based in Charlotte because of the proximity to this whitewater training facility.
This evening the Whitewater Center is hosting the convention delegates from Montana, Idaho, Alaska and California. Local caterers provided the food, featuring local and regional specialties. (We can all vouch for the crabmeat--really yummy heaped in fennel leaves! ) All the activities at the center were free for the delegates and guests.
Here goes a standup paddle boarder down the rapids. Not many of them made it all
the way still standing on their boards.
Sam decides to try the zip line.
Lucy gets harnessed up to go with him.
Off they go. Cool Sam looks like an old hand at this.
Oh no! Papa's headed down the zip line!
There he goes, holding on tight and giving a hearty rebel yell!
One of the most amazing parts of this Whitewater Center is the raft elevator that
takes the raft, passengers, paddles and guide from the bottom of the falls back up to
the top to run the rapids another time!
On up they go...
almost to the top....
and back to the water at the top of the rapids.
We snagged a table right by the rail, overlooking the whitewater run.
Jennifer Roberts, Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Council welcomes
the Delegates from Montana, Idaho, Alaska and California. A little later a country
and western band played from this gazebo.
and dancers entertained...
What a beautiful evening! The rain threatened but stayed away, and the sun set with this colorful reflection in the water. Unfortunately, the event wasn't particularly well attended. There was some confusion with the number of buses shuttling to the hotels, and some of the delegates arrived from the airport too late to catch their assigned buses. Really too bad, because they missed
a lovely welcome party.
Katie and Dan made the rounds of the other 11 parties to welcome everyone to Charlotte. The host committee was particularly proud of this evening's parties because it gave 12 different venues a chance to host a party for the convention and involved a large number of caterers serving each venue. We only met a few people from the Montana delegation because they were late arriving, but the Idaho folks were welcoming, and we all had a good time! Way to go, Charlotte.