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OCT. 7, 2015

On The Changing Weather and Adventure

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Reily Kennedy, OA Resident & Wilderness Leader

With the weather taking a turn for the cooler and some of the trees starting to show their fall color we didn’t need the first day of fall to tell that the seasons are officially on the move. For all the August days of blistering humid heat the cooler temps should be a relief but I can’t help but be a little nostalgic for those summer days and hope for a few more warm ones before fall turns to winter.

Last weekend we definitely had our wishes granted for a beautiful 3 day paddling (or climbing) trip. The paddlers made the best of low water levels and enjoyed refreshing swims in the river, playing in the rapids, and checking out the scenery of the river (massive cliffs, geese passing through on their migration south and interesting locals). The climbers had amazing views into the heart of Pisgah National Forest from the top of Cedar Rock mountain. You can check out the pictures here: http://bit.ly/1jO5Z9x

Now that family weekend has come and gone and the beautiful late summer weather with it (we’ve now had almost four days of grey weather varying from pouring rain to mist and with no end in site) we are gearing up for our first five day trek and for classes in the field. Most of the students mentioned that trek and classes in the field as the thing they’re most looking forward to in the coming weeks and I’d have to agree with them. I am really excited to get off campus and to go tromping through the woods.

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I often find myself falling back into old habits of letting rain keep me inside and I try to identify the reasons behind this fear. Is it because of long ago camping trips where rain poured into my tarp all night, or more recent exposure to rain that left me shivering all day, or the denial of a view from the top of a mountain I worked so hard to summit? But really in all these instances it wasn’t the rain that ruined things for me but my inexperience in some of the long ago cases, or my flippant disregard and laziness to take precautions that would keep me dry in even the heaviest down pour. After thinking about the reasons behind this fear I start to think about all the reasons why rain is just the thing to enhance an outdoor trip. It will hopefully mean water sources will be easy to find, that there’ll be tons of fungi to check out, and that the next paddling trip in a few more weeks will have fewer exposed rocks to dodge or get stuck on and more exciting rapids. Even with all these pros for the rain, I sometimes still catch myself (like in this blog itself!) saying  “wasn’t it a beautiful sunny day” or “what dreary bad weather we’ve be having”  and I’m reminded once again of an old Norwegian saying on this topic that, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing”. When things don’t go as planned on a trip this is when things become an adventure and isn’t that what I’m here for; what the students are here for?! To get out of the classroom and to do something different that get’s you excited to learn about the world around you! These are the lessons that stay with you the longest and make for the best stories.

Reily Kennedy, OA Resident & Wilderness Leader