The first day of a short trip is the most important. You have to get a lot of things done in a short period of time. In this case, we had to leave our pick up point at Key Elementary, get to Worth Ranch, get the gear ready, load up the canoes, get to the River and make it to safe campsite before the sun went down.
We had arranged the trip so the boys that were going to summer school for duel credit could attend. So we started the trip at 12:30 pm. We had a lot to do in a very short window. In a perfect world, I had envisioned us getting on the river by 3:30 but no later than 4. We got on at 4:50pm. No amount of prodding or "barking" seemed to change the boys understanding of the situation. It did not help that it became clear they were not mentally prepared to take the trip. Even though they had planned a menu for 4 days, they seemed genuinely surprised that they were leaving on a Thursday and coming back on a Sunday.
Much to their surprise, getting on to the river late led to a much longer day than they expected. They were getting frustrated by the distance and their lack of knowledge of where they were going, although they had a map and a river guide with the same map.
Once we arrived at campsite at sunset (Seven Rocks, 11 miles down the river), it was not nearly as pristine as we had hoped. Erin was disappointed that the spring and summer rains had caused it to be washed out and muddy. With everyone tired, the sun setting, and a muddy camp site; it was a tough evening for the crew. The boys were still trying to figure out what was going on and the adults were confused that they did not know or use their resources.
All this being said, It should be noted that Erin was amazed that we got down the River that far from getting into the water that late. It was clear there would be no physical concerns about us being able to complete the trip. The scenery was cool and the Seven Rocks were an impressive rock formation.
As one of the boys noted, a good night sleep solves lots of problems. I went to bed agreeing with that wise advice.