And now there are kids. Twenty-six fourth graders, to be exact, led by Odyssey (the blue otter) on an odyssey (a long journey, filled with adventure) into the mysterious and wonderful Jocassee Gorges, compliments of the many generous donors to Jocassee Wild Outdoor Education. Coming from a public elementary school in nearby Walhalla, these curious, enthusiastic, interested kids came into the Jocassee Gorges with typical kid fear and left with an enlightened appreciation for spiders and snakes and creepy-crawlies. Have you ever held a millipede? Almost all these kids did, most of them experiencing the tickle of this gentle creature for the very first time. Twenty-six bright and beautiful children had an opportunity to climb and explore, to rinse their hands in a waterfall, to enjoy a shower of rain (they were in a rainforest, after all), to “ping” the flowers of mountain laurel as if they were little bumblebees, to fearlessly watch a water snake swim, and to laugh, alot. They learned to use binoculars, generouly donated by Captain Gene. They smelled flowers, looked for animal tracks, hugged trees, listened to birds, and hunted for insects, salamanders, and crawfish. Twenty-six more young humans building an appreciation for the magic of the Jocassee Gorges. And two hundred more school kids to come in the next two weeks… ~K