Bob Honea Remembers the Gorge
I enjoy these stories so I thought I would add my two cents to the Gorge trips. You may have been too young to experience these events but they stuck with me over the years.
The first thing I remember was the way we got to the start of the hike. We all pilled into the truck and had to sit down on the floor the whole way. Only the leaders and supervisors got to stand up. If Pat Bowen was driving you had to watch out for low hanging limbs as Pat would always aim for them along the road. The camp road wasn’t paved in those days. We would all be dumped out at store right next to the bridge over the Gorge (I can’t remember the name) where we would be allowed in to begin the hike down into the Gorge. I think they charged our Camp Bank account for admission. Any way, as we descended, it was an experience hopping from one rock to another until we got to Slippery Rock. Also, every time, some one would stir up a wasp or hornets nest that were tucked up under the rocks. Then it was everyone for him self as we scrambled to get away.
I remember several times having one or two kids that were allergic to stings and we even had to carry one kid out and hitchhike a ride back to the store to call Pop to come get us. I remember Pop was allergic too. Sprang ankles were common too.
Depending on how much rain we had, the slide could be pretty dull or lots of fun. Most times we would form a “naked” body chain lying on our sides to divert water to the steepest and fastest part. I remember as a camper or LIT busting my head open going down in a train of kids and your Dad nearly had a heart attack when I stood up because the water on my body made it look like I was losing all my blood at once. I think that was the reason Tommy always went with the groups to have some medical advice. A leader had to walk out with me to go get stitches.
After the grueling hike out with your dad, we would be met by the truck and packed in to go to “Red’s” overlook store. It was on the twisting and winding part of US 441. We were all allowed to spend a little of our “bank” money for a soft drink and snack. Two things I remember about the store was that the Tallulah Falls Rail Road came right behind the store but sort or 30 or 50 feed below and every once in awhile we would be treated to a steam engine puffing by below the overlook and all that smoke would fill the air.
The other thing I remember was the store always had these toy airplanes made out of little pieces of sliced logs. I always wanted one and tried on many visitors’ days to get my mother to buy me one. She never did.
Finally, one thing you probably never experienced was “visitors day” when campers parents were allowed to come in on Sunday, stay for church and even take you out for the afternoon. Your folks were always at camp. As a Supervisor it was always fun on Monday during inspection to find all the candy and snacks hidden by the returning campers. The other thing we had to deal with was a bad round homesickness afterwards.
Director, KU Transportation Research Institute
1530 W. 15th Street
Lawrence, KS 66045