Saturday, April 28, 2007

High Angle Rescue

The staff at Shenandoah Mountain Guides is delighted to announce our successful completion of the Eastern High Angle Rescue Course! The course was held April 23-27 at Shenandoah National Park.
A fully loaded week of the many skills learned and practiced included all the elements of several types of technical high angle rescue. From litter tending on wet vertical rock, to rigging hull systems, to ascending on the jungle penetrator into the park police's Eagle One helicopter the course was extremely educational. The fun wasn't limited to learning new search and rescue skills. We took joy in showing off our home park, night climbing with students and instructors on Old Rag and Stony Man mountains and teaching anchor systems.
New friends, a wealth of new knowledge and ultimately the preparedness to keep endangered lives alive. What an awesome week! Thanks to all our extremely competent instructors and to Shenandoah National Park for this opportunity.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia's Waterfalls Weep

Life goes on in the Blue Ridge.
We start atop a mountain on what poses as a winter morning. The fog and cold accentuate a feeling left from Monday's tragedy. It unfolded not so many miles south of where we stand. Soon we are aware of the earliest signs of spring. The yellow buds of Spicebush with their lemon scent, and Redbud, which adorns the woods with Tech burgundy. We reach water and begin to follow it down. The stream weeps over smooth stone slabs, falls, narrow chutes, and flowers beginning to bloom. Trilliums, Chickweed, Spring-beauties, Buttercups, Bloodroot, Cutleaf Toothwart, Wild Geraniums, varied Violets, Bluets and many others are proof of renewed life. The blooms show us frailty, beauty, and change. All this alongside the power of the water and the permanence of rock. We are in awe of these creations. Like budding trees on a beautiful spring day we begin to heal. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all affected.
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