Blue Ridge Expeditions: Respect, Primitive Skills, and Backpacking Preparation

By Anne Mead

Our first two days of BRX have been great, exciting, and a just a little bit rainy! Our first day was spent settling into our base camp, Reasonover, and getting to know each other. We played lots of games, hiked around to familiarize ourselves with the area, and had a Mexican feast for dinner. After dinner, we composed our “Full Value Contract”, in which we agree to treat ourselves, each other, and our surroundings with respect and consideration. We closed the day with a very special talking stick ceremony where Expeditioners shared their goals, fears, and excitement about the next two weeks.

We usually spend our second day on the low ropes course and climbing tower at GRP, but we have learned that you must be flexible when you live in a rainforest! Therefore, we spent our second day on primitive skills, learning the essentials of survival: attitude, fire, water, and shelter. All of the Expeditioners learned the importance of a positive mental attitude in backwoods, how to chop wood and make a fire in impressively soggy conditions, and the value and techniques of water purification. Lastly, the Expeditioners took part in a mock scenario where one of our leaders, Elyse, became hypothermic during a hike on the Preserve. Everyone took part in making an impressive, practical shelter that blocked Elyse from the elements. Dinner consisted of lots of delicious homemade pizzas, prepared over the fires that we built together.

The next few days will be jam-packed in preparation leading up to our backpacking trip. The group will continue to grow closer and stronger with time spent on the low ropes team building course, rock climbing, and learning other skills necessary to spend five days backpacking. Thank you for giving your children this opportunity; we are having a wonderful time!