Friday, March 27, 2009

It's the things you don't see...

Many times over the years, we've been approached with comments to the effect of "you all make "it" (outdoor mountain adventure) look so effortless.."
..and in fairness, I suppose by the time a long-scheduled adventure occurs, it does look pretty effortless.
But what is not seen by our guests are the countless hours we spend in preparation for any given trip.
This spring, we have a 3-day whitewater canoe camping trip scheduled with a group of local students. It is through a very scenic and culturally rich area in our 4-state region (PA, MD, VA, WV)
We've run this trip countless times through the years, but this year we will be using a new river access point.

To prepare ourselves fully for this trip, so that our guests may have the "full experience," some of the steps we have taken, (beyond food, gear and logistic planning) include:

-Prepare a full geologic profile of the area so that the encountered geologic feature can be explained;
-Prepare a comprehensive document of climate factors, along with native and invasive flora and fauna discussions;
-Prepare a historical guide to the trip covering what is known from prehistoric studies through modern times, addressing land use, human migration, conflict and settlement.. and challenges for the future;
-Complete a preliminary site survey which focused on river access points,shuttle routes, water levels, and "cool" places of interest. (while much of this is available on the internet and in river guidebooks.. our experience has shown us that NOTHING replaces eyes on our objective...

-And we still have to conduct a complete pre-trip site survey from the water... we want no surprises that may compromise safety or the enjoyment of the trip for our guests; and of course,
-lastly, we are preparing alternative, contingency plans, just in the event that at the last moment, the trip we had planned becomes inaccessible or unsafe due to high or low water..

Here we note a key river gauge that will be a critical factor in our late spring trip planning.
That's a lot of work for a 3-day trip (about 12 days worth of planning)... but so worth it.. it makes our work effortless!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wilderness First Aid.

Last weekend's class was, as usual, amazing!
Backcountry emergency care is a skill important for all levels of outdoors enthusiasts.. not just the professionals.
This year's class included medical doctors, bicycle trekking guides, summer camp staffers, outdoor educators, scout and youth group leaders, and a great American who has given close to the fullest measure...

Part of the day's activity included the construction of a hypothermia wrap.. a "burrito," in addition to usual fractures, deformities and other trauma and medical emergencies..

.. a burrito of this type is also a critical cold weather survival skill.

TA DA!! a warm and cozy, controlled environment!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


(The content for this blog was sent from Drew.. a college student and ski patroller at Wintergreen, and SMG guide (summer). With the recent dump of snow (finally!)he had the opportunity to achieve a personal goal.. the pictures speak for themselves..EPIC!)

From Drew:
"Going into this year I had only one goal: ski up and down Sharp Top. Whether it had been done or not before does not matter because as of 12:30 on March 2nd, Sharp Top has been skied (up and down)."

To see all of Drew's photos, click here