Recap: Virginia Hiking and Survival 101

First things first: Thank you Mother Nature for doing us a solid and keeping the rain to a minimum. I mean, we’re Explorer Chicks, and we would have been hiking regardless. Yet, saving the rain for after our breathtaking summits was pretty darn cool of you, Mama Nature. You’re our home girl 🤗

So obviously we went into our Virginia Hiking and Survival 101 weekend with a pretty dismal forecast. Rain and Thunderstorms! Did it slow us down? Nope. We kept with our regularly scheduled program and it worked like a charm! So and So couldn’t even stop us!

We kicked off our Adventure right out the gates as soon as everyone arrived. First hike of the trip and our first jewel of the Triple Crown – Dragon’s Tooth. The Baptism by Fire was deeply appreciated as we scrambled our way up to the giant monolith protuding from the side of the mountain. And, boy, do I mean scramble! It was a first for many of our Explorer Chicks and quite a challenge for our bodies and wit! Some of our Explorer Chicks even climbed up onto monolith which requires a little bouldering and chimney-ing. Despite some shakey legs, we all took a few minutes to enjoy the view of the Catawba valley below and the surrounding endless mountains!

Friday was our most challenging day with the worst forecast. I warned of the Death March (which later was proclaimed a Death Prance) straight up Tinker Mountain and the hike taking up to 7 hours to complete. But I know Explorer Chicks, and sweetened the deal with promise of a visit to a local brewery that night. 🍻 And so we made our way up to Tinker Cliffs – slow and steady. The views – Stunning! We even caught a glimpse across the valley of McAfee Knob (our destination for the next night).

As promised, we drove over to Parkway Brewery after hot showers and burgers and hot dogs. The beer was flowing. The band was jamming. The bacon was covered in chocolate. The ride back to the lodge was entertaining.

On Saturday, we kicked off our Survival Training. We got knotty. We started fires. We built homes in the woods with plastic, paracord, and resources found in the wild. We decorated our shelters and our heads! We chomped on bugs. We laughed. We learned. We walked away with a fair share of new party tricks and the confidence to survive unexpected nights in the wilderness.

Saturday is by far our longest day. It requires stamina and solid peer pressure. After a day of learning Survival tactics, we scarfed down dinner before heading to the McAfee trail head. Worth it? You tell me.

Sunday was our final day. After finishing up our survival training, we did one final hike together. An easy recovery hike to a beautiful waterfall.

Does that sum up our adventure? Not even close. There’s no way to describe those moments between shared within the group or even a couple of Explorer Chicks on the trail. It’s tough to describe the laughter heard in the darkness lit only by headlamps hiking down the mountain. It’s hard to portray the new friendships and bonds formed when perfect strangers embark on an adventure together. Thank you to the 10 Strong, Bad Ass, Hilarious, Kind, and Supportive Explorer Chicks who joined me in Virginia last weekend! My heart is filled with gratitude! I’ll see you outside! 💛

Bonus: To see all of the Trip pics, head on over to the Facebook Album!

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