Wilderness Ventures Summer Camp

Wilderness VenturesOn Friday November 2, 2012 the Career services at Radford University brought the coolest outdoors camp to campus, looking for students over 20 years old with a passion for the outdoors, leadership and children to lead wilderness adventures this summer. This sounds like an amazing experience both for the leaders and the children involved in these trips, and I am considering applying to be a leader this summer.

According to this company’s website, they are the worldwide leader in student outdoor adventures, they have been conducting adventure torus in the American West for 39 years. They have now expanded their tours to Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Central and South American, Europe, Australia and the South Pacific. “Their philosophy and goals are to enable their students to become more responsible, tolerant, and self-confident as well as develop a powerful, all-inclusive community.” Along with just offering amazing experiences, they offer international destinations, bicycling adventures, and community service components.

So you may be asking where do I sign up and what does it take to be a leader? For more information about this, check out their website, http://www.wildernessventures.com. Follow them on Twitter, @wvsummers and check out their facebook page.

Has anyone does a camp like this? And who wants to sign up to be a leader with me!

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Barefoot Sisters Book Series

Has anyone read the Barefoot Sisters Book Series about these two sisters, Isis and Jackrabbit their trail names, also known as Susan Letcher and Lucy Letcher who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia and then turned around and headed back the other way? I am currently looking for nature adventure books to read over winter break and Amazon recommended this series to me since last summer I read the book Becoming Odyssa. I must say that after Walking Home Barefoot Sistersreading information posted about these two women, I am very inspired by them, SouthBound Barefoot Sisters Seriesnot just as a women, but also as a hiking/adventurous myself. I mind my I would like to say one day, I hope to hike the Appalachian Trail with other people but I hardly doubt I will ever have enough strength and motivation to do so, since I love the outdoors but am not so happy sleeping in a tent camping. So for me to experience this long hikes, I will continue reading about these people and dream about what it would be like for them. Another reason I am inspired by these women is for the reason they are named the barefoot sisters, these two women hiked the entire trail BAREFOOT! which takes months to complete and the weather conditions can vary from snow to sweltering summer heat. Sounds crazy right, that is what I thought, but because of this interesting experience, I will be hopefully reading about their experiences during winter break.

What other books should I be reading about nature, and outdoors experiences I might not ever have the chance to do? I would love to hear from you and am always open to new and creative ideas and experiences. Also please let me know if you have read either one of these books and what your opinions of them were, according to comments on Amazon and Ebay these books are amazing.

For more information about the BareFoot sisters, or the Barefoot hikers of PA organization, visit:

Good advice I found for on and off the trail: Never Give Up Quote

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And I thought I was Adventurous!

Each and every one of us has a little daredevil within our soul and at times we decide to let it flow out of us and see how far we can go and the limits we can achieve. BUT there is no way I would have any considered doing this! For those of you who were late to watch this amazing jump, here it is!!!

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Bridge Day October 20, 2012

Whose celebrated the 33rd Anniversary of Bridge Day at the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia? I always wanted to go see this event for myself, but because of other events always on this day, I will not be able to attend, this year. Several of my friends, went in previous years and had a blast!

Some history about the Bridge and Gorge itself, “The main span of the Bridge is 1,700 feet long, and the total length of the Bridge is around 3,030 feet long. That is quite a walk. It is also a walk that is special for yet another reason. The Bridge you are walking on is actually 876 feet above the rapids of the New River. This may not seem very tall since you just walked 3,030 feet across the Bridge, but do not just push that number aside.We could move the Washington Monument underneath the New River Gorge Bridge and still have 325 feet left of empty space between the two.” (official bridge day website)

The New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville, ...

The New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville, West Virginia, is the longest (3030 ft), highest (876 ft) steel-arch bridge in the Americas. Seen from the Fayette Station Bridge, near water level. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you maybe asking what is Bridge Day all about, and I am here to tell you.

Its a celebration of outdoors experiences. According to the Official Bridge Day website, http://www.officialbridgeday.com/, “this festival, the state’s largest, is all about living. Our setting, the New River Gorge, is one of the world’s oldest places, and BASE jumping is one of the world’s most cutting edge sports. Above the famous white water rafting on the New River, jumpers, rappelers, and thousands and thousands of onlookers gather for the state’s biggest party of the year.” BASE jumping stands for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth. One of the awesome things about BASE jumping at the New River Gorge Bridge, more than 80,000 people are there to watch and celebrate the beauty around them. Keep in mind, most people are just there to watch, but it you would like to participate in these exciting feats, you have to register, have skydived and or BASE jumped more than 200 times and partake in several training courses, to ensure your safety. Even after doing all this, there are still chances someone might get injured or even die from these events.

If you are not a BASE jumper expert, but would still like to participate, in a experience of a lifetime, consider getting on a rope and zipping off the bridge. This is called the Highline, which has been offered for 7 years in a row during this event, and it stretches 600 feet down over the gorge.  I would love to do this, if I ever have the chance, the only problem is someone would probably have to push me off the bridge to start with, I am not sure I am brave enough just to jump off a perfectly good bridge.

In addition to these two events, teams from around the world come to this event, to partake in the rappelling and ascending from the catwalk beneath bridge. These ropes vary from 700 to 850 feet long. The participants must be seasoned rappellers with proper rack training, and have completed 250 feet rappels before. Even if you meet these requirements, the only teams that get to participate, are the individuals who have registered early and were selected in the lottery drawing in June of each year.

Does this sound like a blast to you or what? Everyone who loves adventures and enjoying nature from your calendar for next year 3rd Saturday in October, and lets plan a trip!! For those of you, who can’t make the trip in person, or are scared of landing on a bridge that high, but would still love to see the action, check out the official bridge day website, and watch the live video feed. Follow Bridge Day events on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/bridgedaywv, twitter, or even download an app for your phones.

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17th Annual Highlander Festival

Whose ready to put on their kilts and play their bagpipes? Well if you are the 17th Annual Highlander Festival on October 13, 2012 at Radford University is the place for you. Come enjoy games, music, entertainment and parades to celebrate Scots-Irish heritage, as well as the cultures of Radford University and Radford City.

According to Radford University Website, The festival began in September 1994 with an approximate crowd of 3,000. Over the past 16 years, the festival has more than tripled in size, and now attracts an estimated crowd of 10,000 people. You will be among the thousands anticipated to descend upon Radford Univeristy’s Moffett Field for a day-long celebration of the region’s rich heritage. Come early and get a good seat on the risers to enjoy the Scots-Irish heavyweight games. Moffett Field will be alive with clan gatherings, more than 50 diverse crafts, sheep herding demonstrations, children’s activities, and music grounded in the rich heritage of both the Scots-Irish and the Appalachian region.

Schedule of Events:

  • Breakfast Served in Downtown Radford Restaurants
  • 9 a.m.  Heavyweight Games  Moffett Field
  • 10:30 a.m. Parade Third Avenue to Main Street to Tyler Avenue to Fairfax Street
  • 11 a.m. Clan March Moffett Field
  • 11:10 a.m. Massed Band Performance Moffett Field Virginia Highlands Pipes and Drums, Warpipe and Appalachian Highlanders Pipes and Drums
  • 11:30 a.m. RU Student Tug of War Exhibition Moffett Field
  • Noon Heavyweight Games Resume
  • 8 p.m.“Brave” Movie Screening Hurlburt Auditorium, Radford University
  • Main Stage Schedule:
    • Noon-1:10 p.m. Branching Out Bluegrass Band
    • 1:20-1:40 p.m. Virginia Highlands Pipes and Drums
    • 1:50-2:10 p.m. Rince na h’Eireann School of Irish Dance
    • 2:20-2:40 p.m. Appalachian Highlanders Pipes and Drums
    • 2:50-3:50 p.m. The Fighting Jamesons
    • 4-4:20 p.m. Warpipe
    • 4:30-5:30 p.m. Fighting Jamesons
    • 5:30 p.m.  Awards

The most exciting part of this festival in my opinion is the Heavyweight Games, such as the Stones: which is considered like modern day shot put, Scottish Hammers, Caber Toss, Sheaf Toss and Weight for Distance. For more information about these games, go to Radford University website, or just Google them.

In addition to the Heavyweight games, children can engage in these types of games, such as kid’s caber toss, weight for distance and many more. Crafts, food vendors, and family clans are their to help find something to eat, and buy, while also helping people find out about their heritage.

I went to these events with my Social Media Marketing group members in hopes to get excellent video footage and pictures to use in our over the semester project with FreshAir. These videos and images will be used to demonstrate how this product is used and allow users to experience the festival without even being there, through the use of new technologies of augmented realities.

Questions for my viewers: Have you ever went to the Highlander Festival? What was your favorite part? and What did you choose to go?

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Seven Summits in Seven Weeks

Do you want to experience your nature surrounding, but don’t know where to start or are not motivated to yourself and would rather hiking with a group of people who share the same interest? Well Roanoke Park and Recreation Center has a solution for you, with the Seven Summits in Seven Week hiking experience going on right now. Currently I contacted the Roanoke Park and Recreation Center, in hopes to get information about how they are trying to get the community involved in nature while emphasizing outdoors and natural resources around us, what events they were going to do in the future to help farther these goals, and what they hope to get out of these events in terms of community help and involvement. Shortly after asking these questions, the Roanoke Times Newspaper wrote an article about the Seven Summit in Seven Weeks Challenge event this center is holding starting at the beginning of September and ending at the middle of October, http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/314504.

If you want to participate in one of the goals of Roanoke Park and Recreation Center goals for this event/challenge: Ensuring that the Roanoke Region’s nature beauty doesn’t get forgotten here is the schedule and a little about each of the mountains you will be hiking.

Mill Mountain

Week #1: (Sept. 6-9): Mill Mountain:Located less than 5 minutes from downtown Roanoke, the trails at Mill Mountain Park are some of the best in the area. The trails feature Roanoke’s highest point – the summit of Mill Mountain (1703 ft.) and the Roanoke Star. (Virginia Blue Ridge Roanoke Valley).

Read Mountain

Week #2: (Sept. 13-15): Poor Mountain:a ridge of high peaks located in Roanoke County, Virginia and Montgomery County, Virginia. At 3,928 feet, Poor Mountain is the tallest mountain in the immediate area. (Wikipedia) The world’s largest population of the globally rare shrub piratebush, which is restricted to only a handful of sites in the mountains of Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. (Roanoke7Summits.com)

Poor Mountain

Week #3: (Sept. 20-23): Read Mountain:250-acre Preserve is located on the southern side of Read Mountain and features a 1.9 mile trail to a rocky overlook just below the summit called Buzzard Rocks. (SummitPost.org). Roanoke County’s newest and largest park.

Brushy Mountain

Week #4: (Sept. 27-30):Brushy Mountain:located just north of Roanoke in the Carvins Cove Nature Reserve.  Carvins Cove Nature Reserve is one of the largest municipal parks in the nation. It holds a major water source for the region within its 12,700 acres and overflowing recreational opportunities including over 40 miles of hiking and biking. (Roanoke7Summits.com)

Dragon’s Tooth

Week #5: (Oct. 4-7): Dragons Tooth:One of my favorite hikes! an aptly named rock monolith of Tuscarora quartzite straddling Craig and Roanoke Counties just west of Catawba, VA. It stands out on it’s own at the top of Cove Mountain (Wikipedia). This is not just hiking up mountains on a trail but involves climbing up rock faces and using metal rods in the rocks to climb.

Week #6: (Oct. 11-14): Tinker Cliffs: From the trail head take the yellow blazed Andy Lane trail for about 3.1 miles to the intersection with the Appalachian trail (Trimbleoutdoors.com)

Tinker Cliffs

Week #7: (Oct. 18-21): McAfee Knob: has an almost 270 degree panorama of the Catawba Valley and North Mountain to the West, Tinker Cliffs to the North and the Roanoke Valley to the East. ( Hikingupward.com). Most beautiful spot in Virginia!

  • McAfee’s Knob

If only I was not a busy MBA student currently, I would definitely be using these opportunity to explore outdoors and trails I did not know about or even how to get there. From others perspectives during doing this challenge, people of loving this event and really using it to advances. Susan Kilmar, a participate interviewed in the Roanoke Times said “That’s the thing about exercise, if you go out on your own it can be grueling but when you go with other people, you’re talking, socializing, and all of a sudden it’s done.” This is an excellent opinion of this experience in my opinion, as she said it is not just exercise it is the experience as whole, with can be very therapeutic!

To register for one or more of these events, to join the guided hiking trips which are offered three times per week, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday, go to http://www.roanoke7summits.com/, or just feel free to give a comment about your opinion of this opportunity on their blog.

* Pictures found on Google.

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Color Me Rad in Blacksburg, With the Rainbow Renegades

If being coated from head to toe in blue, green, pink, purple and yellow at the end of 5K sounds fun and you live in Blacksburg, Come join me and my fellow Radford University MBA students at the Color Me Rad race on October 28. 2012!!! After doing a mud race last April, I have always wanted to do one of this races and now I have a chance and I am so excited.

I know this article doesn’t have anything to do with hiking but it does have to do with Fun outdoor experiences, people around the community need to be aware of. Not only ware there waves of 1,000 people taking off every five minutes beginning at 10 a.m just waiting to look at like “Pack of Skittles” the Roanoke times said, but these participants are making a different in our community, donating portions of the races proceeds to the Special Olympics Virginia.

If this blog post still has not convinced you to join me in the Color Me Rad Race, then visit the Roanoke Times article, http://blogs.roanoke.com/theburgs/sports/2012/09/28/color-me-rad-5k-to-tie-dye-runners-with-color-oct-28/ as well as the color me rad website http://www.colormerad.com/about.html and it facebook page, www. facebook.com/colormerad, to find additional information and videos about how much fun these races are.

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Hope to see you at the starting line!!

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Nature Book Review: Becoming Odyssa

After reading book review in one of the local outdoors magazines, offered a various restaurant around the area, I was inspired to read this book over the summer. This book is about a young women whom just graduated from college, similarly to myself, in search to find herself, through difficulties faced on every day adventures of the Appalachian Trail. The girl Jennifer in this book, takes off a four-month journey in this trail, which is 2175 miles long stretching from Georgia to Maine, by herself, while meeting up with other thru-hikers along the way, whom compare events that has happened to them.  Through experiences, she comes to realize thru-hiking is much harder than she expected,  with the help of blisters developing, aching muscles, and exhaustion setting in shortly after the start. Although everyday activities seemed to maintain a hard balance on her life, she started to embrace the incredible characters and  Trail Angels around. According to interviews of Jennifer after her adventure was completed, she said she started an over-confident college graduate and became a person she never imagined. Many resource state, Jennifer Pharr Davis became the Appalachian Trail Overall Record Holder is 2011, completing the trail in 46 days, a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2012, and won Ultrarunning Magazine’s Female Top Performance of the Year in 2011. To check out more information on her, go to www.bluerigdehikingco.com.

Watch CBN interview video of Jennifer, to hear about her experience. Jennifer Pharr-Davis: Becoming Odyssa.

Jennifer not only inspired me as a hiker to reach new goals and ambitions, but also as a young women ready to face the real world. After reading this book, I am encouraged to go out and explore what nature has to offer, but I am not sure I am as brave as Jennifer in terms of going and hiking the Appalachian trail from start to finish on my own. I encourage everybody to read this book and enjoy learning from her problems and experiences, so whose of us who are to scared to do this, will still understand the difficulty people face in hiking every day, and encourage everybody to experience some part of the Appalachian trail, for it beauty. Also if you ever have a chance to become a Trail Angel, as Jennifer calls them, take the chance, who knows one day you might end in book, similar to this book, who makes thru-hikers feel loved and much less lonely at the time.

Another bloggers, book review: http://theactiveexplorer.com/2011/09/15/book-review-becoming-odyssa-epic-adventures-on-the-appalachian-trail/#comment-789

If anybody knows any other excellent outdoors books or magazines, please let me know I am always interested in learning new concepts and ideas revolving my natures surrounding.

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TreeTops Canopy Tour In the New River Gorge

Check out what I did on August 11, 2012!! New Exciting Adventures.

If that seems exciting and fun for you, let me tell you about my day. It all started at a “Environmentally conscious design & operation in a world class setting” in West Virginia at the New River Gorge, one of the more beautiful places in the world, at least in my opinion. My family and I arrived at our destination roughly a hour before our scheduled zip-line time like we were supposed to. Hanging out watching others come back from the TreeTop tours, made reality set in and I started getting excited and wondering what I was getting into.  Keep in mind this was a spur of the moment decision, after I found out I didn’t have to work that weekend, and all I knew about was what the website said, http://www.newrivergorgecanopytour.com/site/canopy-tour.html, and how I was going to complete 10 zip lines, varying in lengths from over 100 feet to as long as 730 feet with the zip speeds of 30 miles per hour and 5 sky bridges.

Then when our group was called (at 11:20) to get ready, we began learning harasses, and helmets, while learning about our tour guides and the safety precautions we need to know. Our group consisted of 8 guest(my family and 4 others) and 2 tours guides.

Our Tour Guides!

Getting Ready!!

After a short walk, we came to the practice zip-lines where we learn to stop, go, and what to do if we get stuck in the middle of the cable for some reason. Here C4 (our tour guide) started asking us questions to get to know us and see if we could follow directions correctly so we would not get hurt on the real zip-lines. Everybody did the practice course perfectly, except for 1 or 2 people whom let their nerves get a hold of them, and they started grabbing the cable instead of just pushing down to stop. This started to worry my family and I a little because we were not sure if those people would be able to make it through the course due to their dislike of heights.

Dad’s Practice Round

After everybody completed the practice round, we moved of the the real fun of the day, actually zip-lining!! Some of these lines started from the tops of the trees, while others started from the ground and you jumped off of rocks to get your start. Some places, the tour guides told us to see if we could yell for the full length of the zip, others we were supposed to yell out silly comments, such as something about Scooby Doo. Intertwined in doing zip-lines, we learned about the natures surrounding, where I learned about different mushroom and tree species, and crossed sky bridge, that swung in the air depending on how many people were on them.

Sky Bridge

Lastly where to start rappelling down the final platform, where I had to go first, which I didn’t like, the guides told us don’t worry just hold on to the rope which is on a pulley system and leap your foot out over the platform to spin around and then just starting letting the rope go through your hands. Well let me tell you that is easier said then done. And when I go to the ground I was like that was not as hard as I thought it was going to be, because on the platform it looks a lot higher than it really was. Next my aunt was next, and she start out climbing down like a pro,  until C4 the tour guide decided to start messing with her and holding the rope so she was stuck in the mid-air. She just keep yelling let me down, you are such a punk!! After everybody was down from the platform, we were ready to ride the bus back to our starting point that the lodge and end our journey.

If you would like to be interested in an experience like this one, look into the TreeTop Canopy in West Virginia I highly recommend it!! I had a Blast!! and Can’t wait to try the Gravity Zip Lines which go a lot higher and faster, but that for another weekend adventure. Want to see more pictures go to my facebook fan page, Experience Outdoors or look at the SmugMug picture at http://adventuresonthegorge.smugmug.com/Other/Treetops-81112/24759596_D99xq6#!i=2026199948&k=J75dcQM under 11:20 to see my family and myself.

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Pandapas Pond, Nature Hike- Blacksburg, Virginia

Inside the forest

One of the great places to fishing, trail run, hike, mountain bike and horseback ride around the Blacksburg, Virginia area is Pandapas Pond. It is located about 15 minutes northwest of Blacksburg and located off of US-460. Walking around the pond and wetland is a total of 2 miles with very little changes in elevation, and is perfect for runners, walkers, and parents with kids.

Today instead of walking around the pond, I decided to challenge myself a little more, by mountain bike riding on the Poverty Creek Trail, which is roughly 7.2 miles around trip and serves as the main trail to many others intertwined in the woods. From the parking lot, the trail starts wide, smooth and descends than shortly becomes hard and more challenging, crossing over Poverty Creek three time, if the creek is not all dried up like it was today, while trying to maintain balance over the rocky terrain on the paths. While travel this trail and any others around this area, you need to be courteous while riding on this trail, since you are sharing it with not only other bikes but runners, walkers, and horses as well.

Several other trails, bikers, hikers, and horse riders,  undertake are the Horse Nettle Trail, which is 3.0 miles ascending over 600 feet with the difficulty as hard, Jacobs Ladder, which is a 1.3 mile vertically steep track with the difficulty to be the hardest, Snake Root which is 2.3 miles dropping elevation of 600 feet, Old Farm/ Gateway, which is a 1.6 mile climb of over 600 feet, May Apple which is a 1.0 mile flat smooth wide dirt trail and others ranging in different elevations, and difficulty ranging from easy to very hard. Which one interests you the most, and why?

Poverty Creek Trail

Trail Map

Yellow Stickweed

Weird looking bee’s nest

Giant White Mushroom, I found

More Yellow Stickweed

During this ride I saw several amazing elements of nature, enjoyed embracing my surrounding, spent time with my father as well as got some physical exercise. What kept me motivated to keep going, was the burning feelings in my legs going up each and every hill I faced, and the knowing fact that when I do this mountain bike ride again, I will be stronger and will be able to accomplish a much harder trail.  Motto of the Day:You know what your doing is worth it, when you feel the pain!!

Depending on how you want to enjoy nature and its surrounding, Pandapas Pond might be the place for you!!!

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