Archives For teamwork

Character and teamwork are critical in almost every aspect of life…this past weekend in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area was a great test all around, and a lot of fun!

We started our trip at Big East Fork, west of Asheville NC with loaded packs and an excited team of young entrepreneurs.  This is most of the student body right here, along with their faithful leader (me).  It rained most of our drive up, but the sky looks pretty good at this point.

On the trail, we have about 5 miles to go, starting at an elevation of 3500 ft, going to nearly 6000.  Most of it in the last two miles.  Notice Bethany is sporting her new shock absorbing trekking poles and a new Osprey pack!  A big improvement over the old one.

This trail is full of scenic waterfalls, undergrowth, large trees, and moss.  A great place for picture taking as the trail follows the stream almost the entire way up the mountain.  One caution, the trails out here are not marked so you do need a map and compass if you plan on hiking here.  (It helps you know how to use them).

There is plenty of water as long as you have a means of purification.  Once you leave the stream you’ll need to carry it.  There is a small spring on top, but a pump is almost a requirement to get it into a bottle.  Here is Jonathan filtering through an MSR ceramic filter.

And a few hours later, we are on top!  Shining Rock has a great 360 views overlooking the Blue Ridge mountains, including Cold Mountain at 6030 ft.  We attempted to day hike Cold Mountain on day 2, but didn’t quite make it with the little ones.  The trails were overgrown with stinging nettles and lots of bee infested flowers, not to mention a significant altitude change and limited water supplies.

One great lesson we learned – when we finally reached our campsite on top, and prepared to eat, we discovered that our MSR stove pump was not working.  The gasket in the fuel system had deteriorated and would not build up the pressure needed to move gas to the burner.  Not sure what to do with our freeze dried meals we began to brainstorm.  My 11 year old son produced two rubber bands he had brought just in case we needed them – and we were able to fabricate a make-shift gasket from them.  This actually worked!  Shortly after, we were eating hot lasagna!  Who would have  thought…?

Despite hot temperatures, steep climbs, and a downpour on the last day, it was a great trip.  We learned all kinds of things about plants, stoves, teamwork, sharing, encouraging each other, and much more.  We are hoping to head out again when the leaves are in full color.

There’s no better way to build the team than to experience the great outdoors together…so on December 3rd, I set out with 5 of my children (and one friend) to take on the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can do that in December when you live in the south, with reasonable certainty that it won’t snow.

We embarked from Big East Fork, just west of Asheville, NC, heading into the Shining Rock Wilderness under cloudy skys.  The temperatures were pleasant, in the high 40s at about 2500 feet above sealevel.

Being a wilderness area, there are no trail blazes or man made structures, however, having been here before and having taken every possible wrong turn, I felt confident we’d find out way using my faithful compass and topo map.  (I have not made the switch to GPS yet, however I have passed groups of people wander aimlessly with their GPS!)

A great place to learn team work!

Yes, this is where teamwork happens!  And here is is my oldest son cheerfully helping my third born son.

Everyone shared in carrying our three days worth of supplies.  This is my 10 yr old son, carrying his 17 lb pack up the mountain.  In past outdoor adventure posts, people have asked for more, so here it is, photos from the trip!  This is where real life happens.  A mentor of mine frequently says, true profit is measured in discretionary time (for me that means time in the woods with my family).

Lunch Time!

Our favorite meals include instant oatmeal, trail mix, freeze dried dinners (such as Lasagna), and Freeze Dried Deserts! (On this trip we packed blueberry cheesecake)

The river was cold, but beautiful this time of year

More river

From my new SLR camera, my pictures are coming along as my oldest daughter mentors me in the science of shooting great pictures!


Amazing falls at Graveyard Fields - day hike

Helping Hand

Here’s a picture of team work as my second son helps my third born daughter cross the raging river.  Well, not raging, but too cold to step into.

Yes it did snow

Of course, you can’t really count on warm weather.  At 4000 ft, it snowed both nights…we left the mountains on Saturday in 27 degree temperatures and a stiff wind.  Luckily, we were prepared!

Do you remember the names William Brewster and John Robinson from high school? Tomorrow we celebrate one of the great holidays of our land.  These men had a vision of freedom back in 1608, setting off to Holland to create a new life, free from the restrictions of King James and the Church of England.  12 years later they set a new course for America – this time not to find freedom, but to separate from some of the society ills they experienced in Holland.

The leadership demonstrated by these men should be remembered as you enjoy your time away from work, gathering with family and friends.  Leaving behind wealth and possessions, the pilgrims set out on July 22, 1620 – 102 men, woman, and children.  Over half of these people died in the first winter, yet the remaining group was determined to make this work.  Building homes, meetings halls, and developing their first legal document, they agreed to work together to establish a society in the Northeastern part of the US. They faced unfriendly natives, their meeting house burned to the ground (filled with patients who all managed to escape), and severe weather nearly wiped them out; yet they persisted through that first winter.

Working through the summer, mentored by a friendly Indian named Squanto, the Pilgrims were able to establish crops, rebuild buildings, and prepare adequately for the coming winter.  It was that fall, with an abundant harvest, that the Pilgrims joined together in the first Thanksgiving meal.  The day began with a prayer of thanksgiving, led by William Brewster; to thank God for all that He had done for them and for their friendship with the Indians.  The feast lasted three days and continues on as a tradition for many of us.  Enjoy your Holiday – Blessings to you and your family all over the world.

  • – Dave