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Fall 2008 Blue Ridge Climb-In

Author: Jim (JimK) Krumpelman
Date: October 14, 2008
Fall 2008 BRP Climb-in: A Knotable(sic) Adventure

Bob Wray continues to provide incredible tree climbing adventures on his 40 acres of woods located outside of Meadows of Dan on the Blue Ridge Parkway. With his hospitality as the cornerstone of this semi-annual event, the perfectly sunny days and cool nights electrified our group of 12 climbers, many honored guests, and five dogs. It made for the largest group staying over on Monday. In retrospect, the theme of this extended weekend became this: Knotable(sic) skills connect new climbing friends from NC, VA, TN, IN, OH, PA and NY.

Our climbing community has found a new friend in Ken Van Gorder over this past weekend. He recently authored a knot book, "Kno Knonsense Knots", under the name Cecil Hemp. Fortuitously, he lives in Bob's neck of the woods. As a 20+ year retiree from IBM, Ken was discouraged by the flawed knot books that he wanted to introduce to his grandson. In his youth, he used knots to get work done on the farm. Now, Ken independently is in the process of establishing a new standard in knot tying. His efforts have yielded innovations. His knot pretzel is the starting shape for 6 major knots. Indeed, other variations exist. The big crowd pleaser was to watch Ken pick-up a straight rope and have it form a constrictor knot with a slight movement of the hand. If you have an interest in Ken's reasonably priced book, contact him at chemp@earthlink.net. He wants to help people with rope work, and he wants your feedback. His passion for knot tying is highly contagious. We'll see more of Ken in the future.

This year, the climbing excitement was found in the tops of Bob's poplars near the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Friday and Sunday climbs had numerous climbers up there well into evening. Many climbers had tree top proclamations of personal height records and expansions of skill sets. Typical of Bob's interest in his newer students, he especially stayed in the canopy at their side. We casually noted that they were all very nice ladies. Then we promptly returned to practicing our knots as prescribed by Ken. Guy and Walter really kept their noses to the grind stone on the knot tying.

There are many photos available via this link http://treeclimbercoalition.org/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=780 It's always good to capture Clarence hugging a tree; it expresses what we're about. Also, it's good to have Harry back again and in our photos. The Saturday climbs were very dispersed. As a result, there was no group photo available. As Bob stated, "It was like herding chickens".

True to form, the chickens came to roost with the Saturday night banquet. Many of Bob's neighbors joined us, making a special community of folks anonymously nestled in the woods. Jbird won the Dutch Oven competition with his roast and veggies. Jim K was second by virtue of boiling a bag of rice. Bob boiled-up some tasty shrimp a-la-propane. Greg truly labored through the day to provide some delicious chicken curry. Though she had to depart, Courtney provided the Yellow Tail Merlot for that evening. Our newest climber, Jennifer, mingled through the crowd with a nicely stemmed wine glass filled with an unknown red wine. She claimed that she found a house in the woods, and the people offered it to her. It goes to show that a friend of Bob's is a friend to everyone in the woods there. Eventually the group circled the crackling fire and enjoyed conversation and guitar playing late into the cool night. The nearly full moon provided a mystical ambiance.

As Sunday came to its close, scraps of food were cooked. Gouda cheese provided the aperitif. Though he missed the Saturday feast Jim was able to make a return for more climbing and camping. Sarah brought out her incredible melody of beans, rice and spices. Later that night, Sarah was inaugurated into the not-so-secret Rogue Rum Drinker's Society. By reading this, she's just learning about her initiation into this international society and that Jbird is waiting for her membership dues. While Jbird waits, we turn our attention to next year.

All great things must come to a close so that even greater events can take their place. Bob announced that he's hosting the 2009 RENDEZVOUS. Knowing how the BRP Climb-ins are spectacular, we enthusiastically look forward to the 2009 RENDEZVOUS under Bob's direction.

Bob as always - thanks!

Greg Durham, from NC
Jennifer, Durham, NC
Walter, Chapel Hill NC
Courtney, Greensboro NC
Bob, Meadows of Dan VA
Ken, Meadows of Dan VA
Jim, Williamsburg VA
Jbird, Lake Anna VA
Clarence, Bristol TN
Sarah, Muncie IN
Jim K, Columbus, OH
Harry, Hatboro, PA
Guy, NYC, NY

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