Friday, June 27, 2014

Leave No Trace School -Last Day in the Back Country

Ever have a day that just slipped away?  That's how today was. May it was because it's the last day I'll be hiking for awhile or may be it's just because this class is almost over. At any rate breakfast was a quick bowl of potatoes and before I knew it two presentations were over and we were hiking to the parking lot. 

Derrick gave the last mini class on preparing for an outing. I must say he got me thinking about my preparation some. I really what to lead a couple of backpacking trips this fall for a local club and a lot of planning will be needed. 

On the way to the car I spotted a four foot black snake stretched across the road. He was a calmer than most black snakes and I took a couple of pictures of him. 

On the way back to Landmark we stopped at Judaculla Rock. The Cherrokees inscribed pictures on the slab of rock telling about a giant that guarded their sacred hunting grounds.  Weather has eroded some of the carvings but it was still interesting to see the markings and read about the history of the Indians that lived here long ago. 

Back at Landmark we cleaned and dried gear. We also came up with a game plan for theVisitor's  Center on the Smokeys tomorrow.   

After everything was finished a group of us headed into town for supper. We ate at a little Cuban place in Sylva, NC. The food was really good. Of course it was our first meal out of the woods but I think it would have been good anyway. 

Tomorrow night I head for Camp Barstow in South Carolina. Hope my Scouts have had a good week at camp. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Leave No Trace School - Another Day in the Back Country

While I really expected rain most of the night, I think it waited until it was time to get up. I had just crawled out of my tent when the first few drops started to fall. So much for packing a dry tent. 

Jordan had the first presentation this morning. It was on packing out trash. I thought it was clever that he incorporated the campsite clean up in his lesson. 

The first stop on our hike was at School House Falls. There were some kids in the water fly fishing.  I expected the water to be very cold but it wasn't that bad.  I waded out to the falls and took a few pictures from behind the water. 

We stopped for lunch on a rock face. After lunch I got my turn to give a presentation on "Respecting Wildlife". It went well. I have just a couple more requirements to complete for the class. The major stuff is complete. 

At camp we had a four more demonstrations. Guthook's friend Dino did one on alternatives to camp fires. We made luminaries and set them around the fire ring. They were kind of neat. 

Tomorrow we head back to Landmark Learning. After all the carbs I've eaten I'm thinking hArd about a good supper tomorrow night. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Leave No Trace School - Panthertown Valley

When I left the Nook this morning the ground was wet and the skies were gray. It was a sure sign of how the day's weather was going to pan out. A couple of class members had slept in tents over night. All I could think was how much I dislike packing a wet tent. 

After breakfast we gathered up our gear and headed to Panrhertown Valley. We started our hike with a couple of exercises on durable surfaces. As made our way to the trail a shower hit. It didn't last long but it came down in buckets.  

As we approached the stream we saw a sand bar and decided to check it out. It looked like a great place to take a swim. Some may have camped there since there was a fire ring at the far end. 

When we got to camp it didn't take long to set up our shelters. Jordan and I went ahead and hung our bear webing. Then class started again. 

Rob had us pretend to have a conflict with other trail users. One senerio invoked mountain bikers and hikers. It reminded me of the time Trail Trash and I hiked into a mountain bike race. I remember ducking behind trees to avoid the bikes. 

We also covered disposal of human waste. We paced off that magic 200' and discussed how to bury poop. 

Late in the afternoon we hiked to a waterfall. It was a nice break before preparing supper. 

In the morning we are going to move camp. If the weather is good we will have a few class sessions up on the ridge. I'm hoping the rain is over but somehow I think a few more showers are coming. 

Leave No Trace School - Day 1

The bunk house at the top of the hill was a great place to sleep.  I slept all night long without waking up once. That hasn't happened in a long time. 

When I walked into class I got two surprises. The first was I recognized the instructor. His name is Jason. He was the instructor for my last two Wilderness First Aid classes. He is very good at keeping everything interesting. 

The second was a young lady from the ATC. When she introduced herself to the class, she said she was from Roanoke, VA. I was pretty sure I had met her while hiking in Virginia last month. At the break I asked her if she knew Dino. After a second she replied "I'm Dino and you look familiar. Where do I know you from".  I told we met at Woods Hole when she came to visit Guthook. 

The morning class was mainly inside except for one exercise on the lawn. The most important thing I learned all morning was no one is perfect in the back country. We just need to work as much as possible to meet the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace. 

At lunch it started raining. Looks like this will be the norm for the next few days. We'll be hiking starting tomorrow so it will be a good time to try out my new Frog Toggs. 

The afternoon was spent sorting gear and food. The food is a little heavier than what I'm use to carrying but the mileage is very short. Most of our time will be spent between presentations by Jason and Rob or the students in the class. 

After class several of us cooked supper together under a shelter. Leanna brought out a "Famoly Fued" style Leave No Trace game. Andy, Kaythryn and I played a round. We decided the answer is always rock or dry grass. 

Just before dark I climbed the hill to the Nook (bunk house). Looking forward to another good night's sleep. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Leave No Trace School

Drove to Sylva, NC today to take a LNT course at Landmark Learning. There are nine others in the class and so far I've met four of them. Derrick and Andy both work in outdoor programs for colleges. They are camped down in the parking lot tonight. 

I hiked up to the Nook on top of the hill. It's a small bunk house. There are four rooms with four bunks in each room. Only three of us are up here so we have separate rooms tonight. That will change tomorrow night when everyone is here. 

Monday we'll be in the classroom most of the day. Tuesday we'll leave here and head for the backcountry. I'm not sure were that will be but my pack is ready to go.