The Start of Blue Ridge Expeditions Session 3

By Anne Mead

Blue Ridge Expeditions Session 3 began this past Sunday in front of Sandy and Missy’s house where Expeditioners and their leaders began getting to know each other during check-in. Once everyone had arrived, the group moved into their new basecamp in the woods, continued to get to know each other through team building exercises, reviewed group norms, and had their own Respect Circle, a GRP ceremony in which a group agrees to behave in ways that they’ve decided will help their community, their environment, and themselves.

On Monday, the group continued to get to know one another and learned skills necessary to function in the woods such as collecting and purifying water, setting up tarps, and cooking over backpacking stoves. They packed for a night of backpacking and headed out to their new campsite after lunch, all the while learning how to be flexible and adaptable. When the group woke Tuesday morning, they broke camp and set out for a day of climbing at a site next to a big waterfall. Steve, Brandon and I got to join them. With three routes set up, the crew spent hours climbing on the rock and cooling off by swimming in the pool at the base of the waterfall. It was an incredible day. That afternoon, they returned to their basecamp and spent the night there, cooking and enjoying time around a campfire.

When we stopped by their basecamp again Wednesday evening, Expeditioners had just finished cleaning up after dinner and were preparing to make a fire by friction. This time, their leaders demonstrated how to do it by hand and encouraged the Expeditioners to try it out for themselves in the nights to come. The group is planning on departing Thursday for a multiday backpacking trip that they planned and packed for themselves. While they are out backpacking, no news is good news, so we don’t expect to hear from them very much until they return, at which point you can expect another blog post!

-Karin Perk, Climbing Coordinator and Expeditions Intern
All photos taken by Brandon S. Marshall, GRP Media Coordinator