May 2011

Monthly Archive

Thurs, Fri, Sat

Posted by on 14 May 2011 | Tagged as: Summer 2011


Today I reported in at 8:30am. The mission for today was to get the yellow house turned into a rental house and the hut turned into the office. NROC’s office should have been done a few weeks ago, but with construction you just never know.  (Today they were working on the roof of the new office.) The hut, from this weekend, until the new office is complete, will be the office, gear shack, and headquarters for the whole NROC operation.  We all worked together moving gear up to the hut, cleaning the hut and yellow house, and moving unwanted stuff from the hut to the yellow house. We then went in the basement of the yellow house and took apart a solid wood bunk bed. After it was apart we brought it up to the room where the old office was and assembled the bunk bed there. The rest of the day I did some more cleaning around the house.

Beau and I drove over to the shop which Louise Bowers owns to try to find out about her rental trailer. We had no luck finding her, but we got her phone number and when we returned to Nelson we left her a message.  Beau left for some climbing and I connected to the outside world. On the drive back to the trailer I took my time and drove around Circleville and route 28 past Snowy Mountain roads. Before heading back I stopped by D&K grocery store. I looked around and bought a frozen pizza to cook up for dinner.  It was probably bought at Wal-Mart just like the Great Value brands which were being sold in the store.  I checked out the oven in the trailer and cooked it up.  When Beau and Justin came home they were jealous. (I gave them a few last bites.) Currently there is a thunderstorm lighting up the land.



Today is training day on the North Fork Canopy Tour. Training is pretty vague around here. I have been down the zip once before and learned a good deal from Beau. On this day we had many more people and everyone was bouncing ideas back and forth trying to come up with a perfect way to handle everything. Throughout the zip lines I worked on communication between the other guide and clipping in and unclipping others. Once back on the ground we met up with Gaten. He sat us all down and went over the projects for the summer and the status of NROC. We all talked and brainstormed on how operations could be run as smooth as possible.

I hung out at the hut for a few hours. I talked to Kellee about possibilities for a project. We discussed how the Canopy Tour has no emergency action plan and how it would be a good thing for me to work on. Justin and Adam came back and we talked about how to avoid any accidents on the Canopy Tour.  I then finalized with Kellee on where and what I will be doing at Horizons tomorrow.

For the rest of the day Beau and I tracked down Louise. She is our new landlord. Finally we were able to contact him and we met her at her Maxwell Mart. There she drove us over to view the trailer which is for rent. Beau and I liked it but wanted to make sure Matt B. was in too. We drove back to the trailer after some long talks with Louise and took some pictures of the trailer to send to Matt. Then we drove to Seneca (around the corner) to call Matt and make sure he is in with us. After he said yes we headed back to find Louise to tell her. She didn’t say much to us besides that she will keep it for us and for us to contact her next week. Beau and I then did some sightseeing on the way back to Judy Gap.  For dinner at 10pm we made some Mexican mash potatoes, and Mexican flavored fish.



Today I woke up at 6ish to get on the road before 7am. I had to drive to Riverton, WV to get gas before heading up over a few mountains to get to Harrisonburg, VA. Once I found Horizons I waited around for a little bit until I met Gary and Wayne. Wayne is the head of the Outdoor Learning Center which is based here at Horizons. NROC is also managed by Wayne. Gary and I will be leading the mountain bike program for the Girl Scouts. In the morning we checked over all of the bikes, inflating all of the tires and running through the gears. Then we rode around on some of the dirt / gravel roads around the camp. I tried to understand the Paint generated map, but it was pretty poorly done. The trails were also pretty overgrown.  We tried to find some single-track trails but could only find a really short one. We had a nice lunch with the Girl Scouts. I had a huge salad, and it was amazing. (Oh, and also grilled cheese and a chocolate chip cookie) After lunch we headed back to exploring some trails until 1pm. From 1-2pm we packed our bags and were ready for the girls to arrive. When they started to arrive we did some intros and I led an instructional bike overview. I went over parts of the bike, braking, shifting, body positioning, trail etiquette, trail hazards, and then we sized the girls for a bike. Once everyone had a bike we told them to ride around in the parking lot of the center. Once we were confident everyone had some skills we headed up the hill. At least half of the girls struggled up the slight hill. I stayed in the back instructing the girls on how to get started again, and how they need to keep pedaling and keep your eyes on the clear section of trail. The ride sped up a little on the flatter section. Many of the girls were very uncomfortable on the bike. Gary led the ride and stopped periodically as I brought up the rear trying to teach those in the back. We rode safe and sound back at the adventure center, and everyone was beat. After all of the bikes were back in the center Gary and I had some time to hang out before dinner. Before dinner I talked to Wayne some more talking about the whole Endless Horizons operation. It was good to know what else is tied into this whole operation. After dinner I walked around a little and spent some time on the laptop writing this up.


Tuesday, and First day on the Home Front

Posted by on 12 May 2011 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Tues 5/10/11

Beau and Justin left to climb at Nelson and I did some housekeeping organizing of my own stuff in the trailer. I finished up reinforcing the tent and moved most of my gear inside there. It should be a lot better after my cot arrives.  Then I ate a bowl of oats and raisin bran for breakfast. I organized more of my stuff and took some pictures of my tent. I then took to the road on my red bike toward NROC. Thirty minutes later I was at NROC looking for some internet access. Finding no one which new the password, I headed down the road to Seneca. About 11.5 miles and 45 minutes later I arrived to reconnect to the outside world. I hung out at Seneca for a while, checking email and talking to whoever came by. Then I introduced Nicole to Seneca. We hiked up the East Face trail, aka cardiac hill, and then took a break to enjoy the view from the north summit. On the descent we walked down the closed tourist trail. The trail was very washed out, full of rocks, and the steps were removed – making for a difficult scramble down.  After the hike we went to the Gendarme to see if it was still open. I wanted to try on some 5.10 shoes and Nicole wanted to buy a locking carabineer.  Massey was there to let us in. After some of his great guacamole dip and some chips he offered to drive me back to the trailer. I was not going to turn down a ride when I knew I had about 20 miles to ride, and some clouds were rolling into the valley. It was certainly a puzzle trying to get my bike into his car, but eventually made it work after taking both wheels off and lowering the seat all of the way. Once back in the trailer I made myself a peanut butter and jelly for dinner.

Wed 5/11/11

This morning the alarm went off at 7 and my first day of work was about to begin. I arrived at 8:30 willing to do whatever I was told to do. The first thing that Kellee asked me was, “Can you drive a tractor?” I then asked if it was manual or automatic and she mentioned clutch and I then told her that I am willing to learn. Jim then taught me what I needed to know and we did a practice session driving the trailer up to the top of the canopy tour and then back down. All went well and Jim told me that I was just as good as he is.

Kellee sent me up to work with Jim with doing some constructing up at the hut. We had to carefully remove everything from the walls and then add some hooks for the canopy tour equipment to be hung from. Jim then had to get ready for an 11am tour.

Once back at the yellow house Kellee had Beau go up and give Nicole and me a run through of the Canopy Tour. For time sake, and for ease, I drove my car up the hill and we started. Beau covered how to set up the trolley on the cables and where the lanyards go while zipping.  We took our time on the Judy zips and then flew through the Nelson zips. Beau had to be back at the yellow house at 1 to get ready for a tour so he was a little rushed. Once we were back Nicole had to drive me up to the cabins so that I could retrieve my car.

At 2pm there was a big group of Habitat for Humanity workers which came over from Franklin, WV. The 24 of them filled both the canopy tour along with the Via Ferrata. A maximum for the canopy tour is 10 participants and 2 guides and the maximum for the Via is 14 participants to 2 guides. I watched as Kimmy and Adam led the canopy tour. After they had their equipment on they loaded into the golf cart trailer attached to the tractor and I hopped into the driver’s seat. The driving went well until the left hand turn up the hill. I was trying not to make it too jerky for the riders in the back and I took it too slow going up and stalled the tractor. The tractor shut off and started to roll back a bit until I slammed on the breaks. Justin was there and he helped me keep my cool as I started it up again and put it in low gear, instead of medium. I gave it full throttle and we chugged our way up the hill, almost at walking pace. After that, I know that there is more to learn when it comes to pulling a large group up a steep hill.

At the top I listened in on their briefing before the practice zip. Once Adam zipped on down I headed back to the tractor and drove down to the midway station. I was given by Kellee 3 Master keys to find one which would unlock the ladder to the 1st sky bridge.  Thankfully 2 of the keys that I had worked for that lock and I didn’t have to rush down and then back up to try to find a key to unlock it before the group arrived.

I parked the tractor out front and had enough adventures on that for the day. Kellee sent me over to the post office to mail some gloves back to Liberty Mountain. The post office in Circleville made me think that I was living a few decades ago.

At 4pm Kellee had a conference call with the accounting lady and a man from the software program company. It was good to get a little insight of the program which they use for accounting and reservations for the tours.  When the canopy tour came back I helped them organize and put the gear back on the living room floor.

I made a quick run over to Seneca to try to find some information on a trailer over there but had no luck in finding the woman who I needed to talk to.

After I came back to NROC, I helped organize the Via Ferrata gear when that group came back. Everyone was heading off at that point. Beau and I talked about some bikes as we installed his new front tire. We then spent some time connecting with the outside world and then he rode with me back as we left his bike and my red bike in the yellow house garage. (Beau rode my red bike in today)


Summer 2011 PICTURES

Posted by on 10 May 2011 | Tagged as: Summer 2011

The Adventure Begins

Posted by on 10 May 2011 | Tagged as: Summer 2011

The journey begins as I pack my car and finalize what I think I will need. I was planning on being on 79 heading south before 9pm, but I did not even leave UVSR until 9:18am. I used my fuel perks at GetGo and saved 10 cents to top off my car at $3.89. It was then onto West Virginia.

The drive was good, very good weather, almost too good to be driving weather.  Gas prices rose as I headed south. I topped off in Elkins for $4.14 (I should have waited until I arrived at Seneca as the price here is 3.89).  I stopped at NROC to tell them I was here. I was told to enjoy the weather and settle in, but it will not be until Wednesday morning when I start working. Next step involved finding my home.

I found the hidden driveway with ease and turned in. The adventure began just driving up the driveway as the car slid and eventually crawled its way up. I knocked on the door (knowing that no one was home) and then walked in. I explored the trailer and the surrounding land of what I will be calling home for the next few months. After familiarizing myself with the place (but I still had no idea who was staying where, what the rules were of the place, etc) I moved some of my stuff into a corner in the kitchen and some of the bigger stuff I left out back. I swapped the tires on my red bike for some road slicks and rode around on Snowy Mt Road. It was around 4ish when I hopped in my car and drove to try to find Beau.

I drove past NROC and then through the valley to Seneca.  I had no idea what type of car to look for or when he would be where.  I drove around Yokum’s campground and met up with Tom and Molly. Tom introduced me to Matty, Apple, and a few others who were building a very long slack line. I watched them as they tried different methods of tightening the line with the Ford Escape. They eventually got it tight after the z drag and 4 wheel drive.

It was then back on the road to the trailer to see if Beau had returned. I drove up the driveway and still no one was home. I did another little ride of the bike on Snowy Mountain Road. At 9ish I drove back to NROC to see if Beau was there looking for me. Once I turned around in front of the yellow house a truck drove up and it was Beau and Justin. I followed them back to the trailer where they told me all about their long day at Seneca.  Justin then informed me about the trailer and how he needs to have some rules and regs written up.

Beau and Justin helped me set up the old Keyes family tent in the back. Justin, who just learned what an iphone was, doubted the durability of the canvas cabin tent. I spent some time reinforcing the tent with some nylon cord and duck tape, before crashing on the floor of an empty bedroom.