Thursday, November 20, 2008
It seems to have just begun...
In reality, though, the first season of the Old Rag Mountain Steward program started back in the icy winds of April.
As the season has progressed we've helped folks of all ages find the group they were hiking with, we've provided countless band aids and "blister training", we've helped people off the mountain who were unable to proceed on their own, we've brushed-in social trails whose continued use jeopardizes rare plant species... we've met with US Senators and church groups, scout troops and folks celebrating major life milestones..we've witnessed perhaps the busiest days in Old Rag's history.. we've seen hikers in heels (!) (?) ..and we've watched as the bears, who claim the summit as part of their territory, sweep down on the scraps of food left behind by the weekend hordes.
What an experience!
The first half of the season was staffed by the program's coordinators from Teamlink and Shenandoah Mountain Guides.. the second half of the season was staffed primarily by volunteers.. folks who were skilled outdoors enthusiasts.. who wanted to take their enthusiasm, knowledge and skills to a higher level.
So now, we begin our preparations for next year... though we have about 12 solid stewards, we, like the marines, are still looking for a few good people.. e-mail us!!
In March of '09, we have a big training weekend scheduled... all of the stewards will be learning and practicing our wilderness rescue and first aid skills.. then, starting again in May, we'll be back up on the mountain.. being good stewards of this billion year old gift...
Learning the finer points of setting anchors, rigging haul systems (for rescue), and the principles of mechanical advantage..
Here's a thought:
Do you realize that Old Rag was a mountain when life on the earth was limited to one-celled organisms??
What an amazing place.