I haven’t been very good at updating this or my livejournal in a while. I’ve been fairly busy for the past few weeks. I returned to my job at the mountain campus (www.mountaincampus.org, check us out) in the middle of March and spent the first two weeks cleaning up and preparing for the season. With all of the heavy snow this winter, we had a fair number of trees fall in critical places, so we spent the better part of a week removing some of them. It’s been so wet, though, that we can’t get to all of them with the truck yet, so there are still many downed trees remaining. We also got all of the tents set up and the buildings deep-cleaned so they would be presentable for a summer camp open house.

Last Friday, Steve and I went camping at Hone Quarry outside of Harrisonburg. The Forest Service campground is small and rustic, and nestled in a deep hollow of Shenandoah Mountain. It’s a beautiful spot that feels isolated even though it’s fairly close to civilization. It’s also not very crowded in the off season. We managed to choose the coldest night to camp. Temperatures dropped down to about 25 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the comfort limit of my 20 degree sleeping bag. It’s good to know the insulation survived the washing machine. In the morning, we hiked the short trail to a rock overlook and then tried to drive to Reddish Knob, but at 4300 feet, the road still had some snow drifts near the summit that were not going to fare well with my car. We headed down the mountain and went to Second Mountain for an afternoon of bouldering.

Last weekend, the new staff arrived for the start of training. We’ve been teaching them the ropes (literally) while playing on the elements and getting them set up for the new season. Training continues next week and we’ll get our first school group the week after. Here are a few photos documenting our fun.

Megan jumps from the Leap of Faith
Jon posing on the Leap of Faith
Steve climbs a tree
Mashawn jumps over the stream
Huck plays with a stick
Working together to switch islands
Sitting around the campfire