Blue Ridge Expeditions: Session 3 7/24-7/29

By Jane Izard

This blog is brought to you by Elyse Santorso (one of the BRX Leaders).

July 24 – July 27:

Blue Ridge Expeditions went on our four-day backpacking trip this week on the Foothills Trail around Lake Jocasse. Seven Expeditioners and two leaders set off on the trail mid-afternoon on Thursday. We hiked several grueling miles up and around the mountains along the Foothills trail. We found our first campsite around 3 PM and set up camp. A small rain shower dampened our firewood but not our spirits! We had a back country edition of Spanish rice and sausage for dinner and then all headed to bed for a good nights sleep after a long day.

The second day of the trip included a gradual incline and decline along the trail following a small creek.

Big Bradley BRX3
We hikes around five and a half miles, crossing over seven substantial bridges, Laurel Forks Falls, and a small copperhead! Evan helped guide the Expeditioners safely around the snake, and we continued along the trail. After a few First Aid breaks for blister prevention, we made it to our beautiful campsite at the top of a waterfall on the edge of Lake Jocasse. We washed the sweat and dirt of our day’s adventure off in the creek and watched the sunset from the top of the waterfall.

The third day’s main activity featured a three hundred plus steep incline and decline on the trail. Despite burning thighs and glutes, the Expeditioners happily and tiredly marched into our next camp and set up tarps. We swam and played in the Old Toxaway River with the sun shining above us. That night, we talked and laughed by the fire in preparation for out last day on the trail.

After hiking just around nineteen miles over three and a half days, the Expeditioners ran to the van and restroom, as if they had been gone for months! We headed straight to a Mexican restaurant and then to Dolly’s for a delicious lunch and celebratory ice cream trip. Afterward, we headed back to camp for creek showers and a long, well-deserved rest.

July 28 – July 29:

The past two days have allowed us to get to know each other and connect on a multitude of adventures. Yesterday we spent the day canoeing on Cascade Lake and swimming beneath Hooker Falls. It was a gorgeous day, and the team began learning the necessary skills for whitewater canoeing. Several boys went behind the falls and slid out into the lake. The girls jumped in and let the current take them out to the beach.

Today, we spent the day at Big Bradley Falls for some rock climbing. Everyone climbed to the top of at least one route. Charlotte conquered her fear of heights, while Tanner continuously scaled the wall multiple times in a row. A great time was had by all.

We then headed to the farm where Phil and Rachel taught us how to kill, skin, and cook a rabbit. We all filled our bellies with rabbit and roasted veggies. We then headed back to base camp, excited for what adventures tomorrow would bring.

Cooking with Rachel at the FarmCooking with Rachel at the Farm