Rappelling at Little River Canyon 

Students in the Naturalist Studies program traveled to Little River Canyon National Preserve to work on their outdoor skills and experience the unique environment of the Lookout Mountain area. 

The first stop was a rappelling class on 85 foot cliffs above Little River. Little River has the unique distinction of being the only river that forms and runs almost its entire course atop a mountain. 

Most of us, teachers and students alike, have a healthy fear of heights. Only one of us had tried rappelling before. Luckily, we had expert Israel Partridge to show us the ropes (See what I did there?) and put us at ease. Israel is the guy they call to do things like rescue people from narrow slot canyons, help with climbing scenes on movie sets and for consultation when Bear Grylls comes to the area to film. He’s a wealth of outdoor knowledge.

After a safety lesson and after 3 separate people checked our gear, we were ready to rappel into the Canyon. While our brains knew that the ropes can hold thousands of pounds and there are back ups for the back ups, it’s still hard to convince your body that it’s ok to go backward over a cliff. In the end, we all did it- some of us more than once! 

Once Coach England grills some hot dogs for us back at the camp, we are on to Cherokee Rock Village to for a night hike. This program was made possible by grants from AMV RC&D and The Dekko Foundation.

Note to parents: I have a video of each child rappelling, so if you want for me to send it to you, contact me through the Remind app. 


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