|Spring 2009 Blue Ridge Climb-in
It was another cheery group of people coming together to form a climbing village in the middle of Bob Wray's woods located on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The group began to grow on Thursday. Friday had the most arrivals. Saturday continued to have more climbers arriving. This is an open village. Two new neighbors were able to join - Mike and Marley. Marley is committed to climb in the future. Friday night started cold. Saturday and Sunday nights were chilly. After a sunny Saturday, the rain slowly crawled in midday Sunday and remained off and on through the night. Monday was the final departure. For the 3 friends and 12 climbers, there was bountiful laughter that filled the voids between climbing, technique discussions and eating. The three dogs had a chase or two.
Bob provided the traditional tour of his property on Saturday. His cutting of new trails is a creative task to be envied. Imagine this. He spends time exploring the canopy and developing a winding road through dense Rhododendron that leaves you feeling magically drowsy as you seek out a tree. His latest path followed a stream. This led to a small waterfall and pool, where Bob has brought in a bench for reflection. This new path drew focus on the trees that surrounded the pond which is located between the campsite and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Being found in the same area, the Hobbit always attracts climbers. It's a tradition that everyone senses will be lost in the future. The Hobbit is an old white oak that's hollow from age. Bob had a tree fall into the Hobbit. Eventually, the Hobbit expelled it and returned to its majestic state - for now.
Cam and Joe did the tree camping. Cam slept in various trees. Joe had his tent cot on a platform rigging (HAHAH), which indeed is interesting. Dan took up residence in the tepee. The others found spots for their tents. It was noted that people are camping further and further away from the center of camp each year. It's part of the connection with Bob's place and a yearning to seek out the next enchanting spot.
Our new knot friend, Ken, returned this year. We're going to get Ken up in a tree one of these days. However, the rain postponed this adventure for the spring climb-in. Ken kept several climbers engaged with his knot tying techniques during the rain. We're going to see Ken dazzle us again for the 2009 Rendezvous in Tanglewood NC. Ken contributed ramps to our vast food supply. When eaten fresh, these are guaranteed to provide bad breath for 3 days. Curiously, no one took the challenge.
The Saturday banquet held at the campsite was a battle of the dutch ovens that Bob handily won. He whipped up the most delicious ziti (seasoned under the guidance of Sarah) and pineapple upside down cake. He also provided the traditional shrimp. JimK made rice and veggies with chicken fillet cooked in Italian dressing. Jbird strategically waited to do his dutch oven cooking on Sunday and incorporated a ramp into his veggie and potato dish. Sarah whipped up the fried mushrooms and spices. There's a bit of a Sunday banquet tradition being established. Just a curious side note. Climbers seem to brew their morning coffee as varied as their climbing techniques. Though wine was available, Yuengling lager was the most sought after beverage this year. It's the longest brewed beer, starting back in 1829. It was allowed in the prohibition years for medicinal use. The 2009 Spring Climb-in also found it being used for medicinal purposes (*wink*).
The campfire life rocked on this year. Jbird provided the music and led the games. Glenn chimed in with the background sound of the whoopi cushion. Bob was awarded the Big Gigantic Pink Carabiner Award for being the special person this year. He'll award it to the next special climber when we all meet again. Under Jbird's direction, climbers followed the alphabet to name things that they will bring to Bob's next year. The last person named all 26 items. Think Yuengling. Now imagine a lot of laughs.
Hey! Our next event is in the same region: the 2009 Rendezvous at Tanglewood NC. Thus we do the Blue Ridge Parkway Climb-in in Spring 2010. The next time that I go to Bob Wray's I will bring an ...A,B,C...T for thanks that Bob has allowed a fine tradition to take hold in his woods.
Friends of the climbers who showed up:
Ken Van Gorder (Cecil Hemp)
Courtney from NC
Sarah from IN
Joe of the jungle From GA or Panama&whichever;!
Bob Wray from VA
Dan from Washington, DC
Jim from VA
Wiley from GA
Greg from NC
Cam from NC
Jbird from VA
Clarence from TN
Jim K from OH
Glenn from GA