First Few Days of BRX Session 2

By Anne Mead

Session 2 of Blue Ridge Expeditions began this past Wednesday in front of Sandy and Missy’s house with the long awaited arrival of expeditioners! Once everyone had arrived and met their leaders, the group moved to BRX’s base camp where they had lunch, set up their sleeping arrangements, played get to know you games, discussed and established group norms, and settled into the flow of living there for parts of this session.

Thursday morning was spent continuing to learn about each other and how to work together. In the afternoon, they packed up and left for their first trip, which I was lucky to join them for. We drove to the trailhead, hiking into the woods with everything we’d need on our backs, and arrived at our campsite for the night all within a few hours. There, expeditioners were taught how to set up tarps, filter water, cook in the woods, and practice Leave No Trace ethics with everything we do, all of which are skills they’ll be using on their longer backpacking trip in a few days. We went to bed early under a nearly full moon and clear sky in order to wake up early to rock climb near our campsite the next day.

It started raining around 5:30 Friday morning which made us worry about whether we’d be able to climb the classic North Carolinian low angle slab if it was wet, but we took the morning slow to allow the sun to do its work and headed to the rock before lunch. The crew learned about climbing safety, how to tie a figure eight follow through knot, and climbing communication before taking turns challenging themselves on the various routes set up by their leaders. The weather stayed dry for the rest of the day. When we returned to the campsite, we packed up and started the hike back to the trailhead pausing along the way to swim in a pool created by a waterfall. We then drove back to BRX’s base camp all in good spirits and pleasantly tuckered out from the trip.

More updates to come! -Karin Perk, Climbing Coordinator and Expeditions Intern