Friday, May 8, 2009

April 19. Jordan Martin. The last day of our weekend trip was a great finale to the weekend experience, as well as a great introduction to the beginning of our VOR summer experience.

Early Sunday morning we broke down camp, ate breakfast, and packed the van and trailer by 8:15 a.m. Well done, everyone! We left 1780 (the housing development that hosted us – thank you 1780 & Brian Jones!!!) and headed to Linville Falls. Most of the group slept during the drive to Linville, but I was too intrigued by the scenery to sleep. We drove through downtown Marion – all 4 stop lights – and the outskirts of the town into the valley below Linville Gorge. It was an odd experience traveling from the ultra wealthy lakeside of Lake James by the dilapidated roofless houses (natural suntanning salons), numerous brokedown garages and flea markets, into the valley of farms aside the North Fork of the Catawba River. Robert told us some of the primary causes of the contamination of the Catawba and other rivers are due to the run off from farms located too close to the water’s edge. Chemical pollutants, like fertilizers, and biological contaminants, like animal feces, cause SO much damage to the fragile hydro-environment.
We continued past the farms through the valley to the trailhead to Linville Falls, the nearest we could get to our river’s headwaters. After we hiked down to the Falls, Robert and Tina taught mini lessons on watersheds, survival of the peregrine falcon, our reading for the weekend (“Air” by Christopher Camuto), and the Cherokee and their language from our outdoor classroom – various vantage points along Linville River looking back at Linville Falls and the gorge its rushing water has carved out of the bedrock. The Cherokee aptly named the Linville “River of Cliffs” in their own tongue.
The group hiked back to the van, and began a precarious journey down the gravel road to the highest point we would reach, Wiseman’s View. The Wiseman offered a view of Hawksbill Mountain to the northeast, Table Rock to the southeast, and Short Off Mountain (the entryway to Linville Gorge). There we enjoyed our lunch (Leave No Trace style) and took a few pictures commemorating the highest point sea kayaks will travel during a VOR trip!
A brief walk back to the van and we were off, just in time to miss the rain. We got back to campus earlier then expected; and unpacked and cleaned up in record time for such a large group. The weekend was over; back to everyday college life unfortunately. Thanks to all for such and awesome weekend away!

No comments:

Post a Comment