Monday, March 28, 2011

Old Rag Mountain Stewards Wilderness First Aid Training

We spent the weekend at the annual Old Rag Mountain Stewards (ORMS) training weekend.  It is the one time a year where all of the volunteers gather in one place, so in addition to the training topics, we got to catch up with old friends (I guess we have been with the program that long) and meet soon-to-be old friends.  This year the topic was Wilderness First Aid, otherwise known as "all of the terrible things someone can do to themselves in the woods and how to take care of them."  Seriously, it is a great class.  We had a great instructor and learned an amazing amount.  We had the class two years ago and this one was completely different, but just as good.  It shows how much there is to learn about first aid in remote environments.  We have only begun to scratch the surface.

We arrived at Big Meadows Campground Friday night and it was cold.  The temperature in one volunteer's car said 24 degrees:  perfect for a good fire.  Saturday morning, we got started bright and early and worked through the day.  We were rewarded with a fantastic potluck that night.  Everyone brought fantastic food to share.  By the time we got back to the campsite Saturday night, the snow was falling hard.  The snow was a little bit icy, so we fell asleep to the sound of it falling on the rainfly.  We had another full day of training on Sunday, including a scenario in very real difficult, snowy, cold conditions.

Thanks to the hard work of the National Park Service, who plowed Skyline Drive, we were able to drive home on Sunday evening. The sky had cleared and there was a beautiful sunset over the mountains to the west. Snow covered the summits of Old Rag and all of the other peaks along the Blue Ridge.  We are definitely looking forward to another season on Old Rag.

A few snow pictures (click to enlarge):
Frost on an oak leaf.
Frost on blades of grass.
Up in the clouds at Big Meadows.

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