BRXers Back from Backpacking!

By Anne Mead

On Sunday, Blue Ridge Expeditioners returned to their base camp happy and tuckered out from their backpacking trip. After enjoying well earned showers, they spent the rest of the day relaxing around camp, making dinner, and reflecting on their trip with a round of Rose Bud Thorn for which Steve and I were present with warm homemade apple crisp and cold vanilla ice cream. We sat around a great fire and talked under the half moon.

Miles shared that his rose was definitely the views. “We could see so far on the mountain, and we could see so many stars at night. Also, the ripe blueberries in the field.” For Sam, it was hiking in the mist. For James, it was all the hiking. He said he especially loved preparing and maintaining preparedness throughout the trip. For Elliot, it was the second day’s 7 mile hike which he said was really hard and really fun in hindsight. Cooper shared that he felt he had a greater appreciation this year for things at home and things here. He said it felt like he was getting to alternate between different types of luxuries. “Even the thorns are super fun and we don’t have to deal with it in real life. It’s willing and it’s fun.”

A rose for all of them was playing Capture the Flag, a game commonly played as a Basecamper in the front field of GRP. “This ain’t no Basecamp Capture the Flag,” they said. Apparently, they played it in a huge, thick, tall field of ripe blueberries, mint, and grasses one afternoon while out backpacking. Not a single tick was found despite the fact that they were intensely crawling and diving through all of that vegetation! BRX leader Jace said that Kevin was right in front of him at one point, but when he looked away momentarily and turned back, he was absolutely nowhere to be seen. Kevin said that all he had done was laid down in the grass right in front of Jace. At least five Expeditioners reported to have separately totally abandoned the game for a few minutes to crouch down and eat the marble-size blueberries that they were hiding amongst. Not a single person made any mention of who won the game. It clearly didn’t matter. A number of them also said that a rose was the looks they got from “civilized folk” in a grocery store when restocking immediately after leaving the woods.

In terms of thorns, there were a few reported blisters, but the pains were laughed about and seemed to be a point of bonding. It only rained one day on their backpacking trip, and it rained hard. “Big ol’ fat rain, rain that flew in sideways, sometimes even rain that seemed to come straight up from underneath,” according to the Expeditioners. Hiking that day was hard, but they were thankful to be dry the rest of the time which is lucky considering that this is a temperate rainforest. Some reported that they had no outstanding thorns because even the thorns were actually roses.

Sam said that a bud, or something he was looking forward to, while backpacking was showering when they got back, but then he thought, “You know, I don’t really need it,” but on his return, he thought, “You know, yeah I do.” That initial sentiment was shared by others who recognized that they were just going to get dirty again afterwards. Everyone is looking forward to their upcoming canoe days on lakes and in rivers.

-Karin Perk, Climbing Coordinator and Expeditions Intern