We made it back home safe & sound a couple of hours ago (Praise the Lord!). We ended up stopping at a rest stop outside of Lake City, FL for a few hours of front seat "sleep" before finishing the trek this morning. The truck and trailer did great! Now it's onto unloading and cleaning up the gear in the truck and trailer. Giddy up!
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Roadside stretch! The 2 longest days of the year for me is the day I drive the trailer up to the mountains and the day I drive the trailer back home. Today is the drive back home. Keep us in your prayers as we travel southbound. Yip! Yip!
We've finished cleaning, sorting, and restocking GTD's rock climbing, rappelling, and backpacking gear. PJ!! GTD owns enough high quality gear to outfit 30 climbers and 20 backpackers. We cache the gear in a God-awesome location in north GA where we are within 2 hours of 5 different airports and centralized to tons of hiking and climbing spots. All of this gear is used to introduce people to outdoor activities in God's creation along with the greatest adventure of all - following Jesus!
Friday, August 19, 2016
We spent the day at the laundromat washing & drying 25 sleeping bags plus several loads of food bags, compression sacs, pillows, towels, clothes, etc, etc. We spent about $125 in quarters... that's a lot of quarters - LOL! Well, they say, "Cleanliness is next to godliness." ;)
Yesterday we started our end of the summer clean-up. Outdoor adventuring can be messy business. To keep our gear and equipment in great shape and to extend its lifespan to maximum length we have to work hard to maintain it. In years past we didn't have time to stay on top of our equipment like we wanted to as we would rush from event to event with a skeleton crew of workers. Over the past year we've been striving to do a better job with the equipment we've been entrusted with (taking into consideration our small staff along with limited time and resources). We have to be back to FL on Aug 20th so we are scurrying to "get 'er done!" :)
Saturday, August 13, 2016
They came, they hiked, they conquered!! 23 backpackers from all over the United States came as part of Landry Academy's annual Appalachian Trail Backpacking Trip in Hampton, TN. All 23 participants literally poured their sweat, blood, and tears into conquering this challenging ridge hike. And they did it!! We've had a lot of GREAT groups over the past 20 years, but this was one of the BEST! I wish everyone could meet and spend quality time with this group of teenagers and their parents. Their depth of character, love for Jesus, positive attitudes, and zest for adventure is 2nd to none! We quickly became more than a group of individuals, we became a family. Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye to such wonderful people. This is one of those times. I'd go anywhere with this group of incredible people. We are so proud of them and their accomplishment! Tonight we eat, celebrate, and hopefully have a well earned deep sleep. Glory to God!
Friday, August 12, 2016
Downed trees (also known as "blow downs") was the name of the game today. We hurdled, crawled under, squeezed between, scrambled over, and traversed around 30+ downed trees during our hike today. It added about 2 hours and a lot more sweat onto our quest today, but we made it to our camping spot for the night. Everyone kept positive Christ driven "can-do" attitudes throughout our hiking obstacle course. We love this group and their depth of character! We are overcoming each challenge and soaking up this adventure!
Thursday, August 11, 2016
This is more than just a backpacking trip. It's a God-awesome backpacking trip that is focused on seeking Him first! We start each morning with daily devotions from the Bible. This morning we focused on Philippines 2. There is no better way to start each day than feasting on God's Word! (Landry Academy 2016 AT Backpacking Trip.) =)
One of the precautions we have to take while backpacking is hanging all of our food outside of our campsite area so that we don't attract unwanted midnight visits from wildlife such as bears. All food should be hung well away from camp (usually in a tree) at least 10' off the ground and at least 5' laterally away from the tree. It was quite the adventure and a great source of laughter as we hung 250 lbs of food last night!! I love how much fun this group is even when it comes to doing our nightly "chores". Can't wait for today's adventures!!
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
We kicked off our 22 mile backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail today with 21 fantastic students, teachers, and family members from Landry Academy. We split into a few groups before hitting the trail. 4 days of hiking in God's amazing creation is already off to a great start!
Jen & Tom Henriksen along with Laurie Finger did a fantastic job teaching, preparing and equipping the Landry Academy crew for our upcoming AT backpacking trip that starts later today!
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Yesterday we kicked off our 2nd Annual Appalachian Trail Backpacking Trip with Landry Academy. The first 2 days consist of trip prep including teaching workshops, distribution of gear, and a whole lot of fun - especially this 60' tree climb with a breathtaking view of our base camp!! Tomorrow afternoon we start our 4 day 22 mile trek on the AT. This is one of the most amazing groups we've ever worked with... we already feel like a big family!! Can't wait to start this hike! Praise God =)
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Our goal was to pack up all of our backpacking gear yesterday in 4 hours for our next event. We did it in 12 hours! Classic overachievers. LOL!
Full day of final prep today. Then trekking towards Hampton, TN!
Friday, August 5, 2016
We have arrived to our Gear Cache location in Hiawassee, GA. We've set up our camping hammocks on the beatiful shores of Lake Chatuge. Tonight and tomorrow we will be packing up all the gear for our A.T. backpacking trip with Landry Academy. Everything kicks off Monday! Can't wait!
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Monday, August 1, 2016
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Friday, July 29, 2016
Overcoming fears and conquering self imposed limitations was just part of the experience while we went over the edge of our 7-story heart-stopping rappel yesterday. Not even pouring rain or impending night fall could stop us from completing this adrenaline pumping adventure! Praising God that He calls us to be overcomers, not succumbers!!
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
It could be worse... it could be 104!! Getting ready for our SLAMMED Adventure Trip. With this heat I'm so glad we have 20 "cool" people on their way up to camp!! I see a lot of swimming in our future ;)
We almost made it through the entire summer without a flat tire... almost. One small screw kept our annual flat tire streak going. Not a problem, the GTD Pit Crew is on it!
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Today we got a rare day to go play on the rocks without a group. Often we don't have the time during an event for the guides and volunteers to actually get to do the activities we are providing for the group so today was a special day of play for us. In this picture I'm belaying Laurie from on top of the mountain as she rock climbs upwards (I have her locked in during the picture) and Carson is rappelling below. We had a wonderful time checking out new routes for future groups while savoring some play time during our down time. Our trip starts tomorrow and we are recharged! Yip! Yip!
Monday, July 25, 2016
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Relive the moments from our Adventure Trip with the middle school youth group from Calvary Chapel of St Petersburg, FL. Check out over 2600 pictures from our outrageous time together at camp in the mountains of eastern TN!!
Friday, July 15, 2016
Thursday, July 14, 2016
The pleasant morning weather conditions quickly gave way to soaring heat after noon time as the temperature soared to around 100 degrees. During the challenging hike down, with only 10 minutes before we were back to the vans, one of the youth passed out... then a few other youths started feeling faint from heat exhaustion and had to lay down. It was quickly becoming a serious situation. A nearby trickling waterfall became our source for cooling down overheating kids while everyone started sharing their remaining drinking water. We possibly didn't need to, but we couldn't take any chances so we called 911 as we continued to cool down the students. Within a few minutes a small army of Rangers and emergency personnel arrived at the bottom of the mountain. One Ranger hiked up to assess the situation and help the one youth that had passed out in any way possible. By this time we had already cooled him down and hydrated him and he was sitting up answering questions. Over the next 25 minutes everyone was able to hike down on their own. Once at the bottom, the paramedics spent the next hour observing the overheated students while cooling them off and rehydrating them. No more intervention was needed and everyone was cleared to return to camp. On the way back to camp we stopped for snacks like ice cream. Three hours after the incident everyone was all smiles. Our special thanks to the emergency personnel who came and helped. They regularly see all types of emergencies in the mountains and have an average response time of only 5 minutes. We thank God for them, the youth leaders who who helped care for kids, our staff and volunteers who worked exhaustively all day, and for a perfectly placed trickling waterfall. Everyone was back to normal in a few hours. Praise God!
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
We had a phenomenal day of rock climbing and rappelling with the middle school youth group from Calvary Chapel St Pete. It was a picturesque sunny day with jaw dropping mountain top views overlooking the white water below. It was the perfect day... until 2pm... (to be continued)...
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Monday, July 11, 2016
One of our favorite days at camp is water day! We are "soaking" up this amazing God-made water park on a beautiful sunny day in TN!! Waterfall slides, cliff jumps, and swimming... it's a goooooooooo day!!
Sometimes adventuring includes a trip to the hospital. One of our 14 year old participants hit her shin on a rock while playing in the river yesterday afternoon. The result was a 3 inch gash in her shin that required 7 stitches. We were so impressed with the young lady who was injured as we watched her keep an upbeat positive attitude while challenging herself not to cry. Mission accomplished... even while enduring the pain of the impact, wound cleaning, injections, and suture needle. This girl is tough, funny, and incredibly smart! Our thanks to the Etowah, TN medical staff at Wood's Memorial Hospital who took excellent care of our young patient who will be a spectator for most of the activities for the next couple of days. Thank you to all of prayer warriors out there that constantly lift us up in prayer!
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Yesterday afternoon the middle school youth group from Calvary Chapel St Pete arrived at camp in Tellico Plains, TN. After setting up the campsite they kicked off their week with praise and worship around the campfire. The best way to start camp!
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Carson and I have spent the day getting supplies, buying groceries, and prepping for our Adventure Trip with the middle school youth group from Calvary Chapel St Pete... which starts in a few hours. It's our 12th annual trip with this phenomenal youth group. We can't wait! Keep us in your prayers over the next 5 days as we brave the wild with 40 people!
Friday, July 8, 2016
Relive the 17 mile & 42 river crossing backpacking adventure on Jacks River Trail with Landry Academy! See why this is indeed a bucket list trip!
Click here to see all the pics:
Wednesday, July 6, 2016