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  • skywatcher 9:26 pm on May 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Nelson Rocks, Via Ferrata   

    Via Ferrata – #3/52 

    The alarm went off on Saturday morning at 6 am, and I was excited.  A friend had told me about the Via Ferrata at Nelson Rocks Preserve in WV, and I couldn’t wait to try it out.  My excursion planned for the prior weekend had been postponed because of predicted thunderstorms; apparently, it isn’t a good idea to be attached to a steel cable with lightning in the vicinity.  Go figure.  At any rate, I pulled the kayak off the top of my car, stopped for coffee and Kashi bars, and headed west.

    The Via Ferrata is a mountain climbing route relying on permanently installed steel cables; the climber is attached to this cable by harness and caribiners at all times, meaning that people like me, with little or no climbing experience, can complete the course in “relative” safety.  Still, if one slips, the drop can be from 5- to 10-feet…ouch!  Here’s a shot of the vertical ascent; the steel rungs in the face of the mountain are just visible:

    I arrived at a small reception building just as a climbing group was about to head out.  At that point, I was dismayed to learn that my scheduled hike had been postponed again…but no one had called to let me know.  Luck was with me, however; I was able to tag along with a group of four NYC adventurers visiting West Virginia for the sole purpose of climbing throughout their weekend.  I couldn’t have picked more enjoyable people to share the experience!

    Our guide gave us a safety talk at the base of the Via Ferrata and told us how to safely clip and unclip from the steel cable.  It felt very awkward in the beginning, but as the climb progressed, we all became more comfortable (and ambidextrous) with the skill.

    The experience was intense, and I found it to be both a physical and mental challenge.   As I returned my climbing gear, I felt a real sense of accomplishment – as if I’d joined an elite cadre of non-chickens.  Yes, there was a rush in taking a physical risk (and in the wind gusts that reached 30 mph); I’m sure that was part of the draw for me.  But how can something like that not leave its mark?  If I can climb the vertical face of a mountain, I can deal with pretty much anything life throws at me.  It was definitely an excellent adventure; I’ll be back for more.

    • yearof52adventures 10:05 am on May 12, 2010 Permalink

      Intense is an understatement! The wind gusts alone are extra spicy! This looks like so much fun. Congrats on undertaking such a difficult adventure!

    • faolan01 12:20 pm on May 12, 2010 Permalink

      Awesome! How high is the climb? Is it a one-day trip or a full weekend adventure? That’s great that you were able to join up with a group of fun strangers for this!

    • inkstainedangel 8:22 pm on May 12, 2010 Permalink

      Wow! That sounds amazing! I really can’t wait to get some rock-climbing done of my own, this just intensified my anticipation!

    • mary chris moore 9:15 am on May 13, 2010 Permalink

      Just wanted to share that I work for the Via Ferrata at Nelson Rocks Preserve and caught this thread as a Google Alert. Glad to hear the experience was enjoyable (despite a few initial glitches). We welcome anyone who is interested to come try it! It truly is a unique, thrilling and memorable experience and we are starting plans to have a Canopy Tour installed by this fall at the same location. You will be able to choose to do a treetop to treetop zip line back down to the start, or do the mile hike back down on foot. Ages 13 and older. By reservation only. We are in the process of getting our booking system online and electronic to help facilitate reservations and response time and we are trying to get the word out to as many people as possible. Any suggestions for appropriate/well-read publications for advertising would be appreciated!

    • jeindeer 1:07 pm on May 13, 2010 Permalink

      Wow, that is really adventurous even amongst the adventures! Congratulations!

    • blueskiesinva 9:59 pm on May 13, 2010 Permalink

      A zip line? Awesome! The Via Ferrata is only 2 1/2 hours away from me, so I’m definitely planning to return! Hope I gave an accurate representation; I tagged it on purpose : )

    • June 5:13 am on June 2, 2010 Permalink

      (testing message board)

    • June 5:24 am on June 2, 2010 Permalink

      I stumbled upon this site a month ago but never took the time to post, so now, here are several adventures I have completed and one I am in the midst of:

      1. Adventure #1 – Eating a MRE

      I had been curious about the Meals Ready-to-Eat (or MRE’s) used by the military and wondered what they were all about. I’ve occasionally seen them offered for sale and thought that keeping a few on hand in my emergency cabinet might be a good thing to do. At a group yard sale this weekend the marine-looking guy next to me was selling a few, so I went ahead and made a purchase of 8, for a dollar each.

      The heavy duty plastic packet was about the size of a squished loaf of bread, slightly heavier, and evidently contained several other smaller packets in it. I selected one marked “boneless pork chops” and opened the outer plastic bag to discover the remainder of the contents. There was a plastic packet marked “pound cake” that was flattened to the size of a large cookie and infused with calories totaling 280, a “vegetable cracker” slightly flatter than the cake, a packet the size of a pocket comb marked “cheese spread with jalapenos” (my eyes caught some bold print on this proclaiming it was “FORTIFIED.”) There was a box about the size of a thin pocket novel labeled “spiced apples,” another box of the same size marked “pork chop, chunked and formed, with Jamaican style seasoning and noodles.” The two remaining packets received my closest scrutiny.

      The condiment packet contained a heavy duty brown spoon, instant coffee, powdered creamer, sugar, instant lemon/lime drink mix, salt, a wet wipe, a small packet of toilet paper, and a teeny tiny glass bottle of tabasco sauce! The final packet was a chemical heater that could be activated with water. The directions instructed me to open the top of the plastic bag containing the heater, slide the plastic meat packet into this bag, fill water to a marked line, and finally placed the entire thing back into the pork chop box and wait for 15 minutes. I added the water and the packet began to bubble and then get hot. I stepped aside and allowed the chemical reaction to take place away from my delicate skin and eyes. After the 15 minutes were up, I removed the hot food packet and recalled that I once read somewhere that the remaining heat packet might be utilized by a person trying to get warm.

      The “pork chops” reminded me of canned pet food both in looks and perceived taste. (The following day my digestive system reminded me that the remainder of MREs should be reserved for only life or death situations.) In a nutshell, the cracker was good but the cheese had a strange texture; the spiced apples and cake both tasted good but were too high of calories for the average person; and the other items I didn’t feel the need to sample.

      Am I glad I did this, and what did I learn?

      Yes, I’m glad I tried this because it made me feel more capable of fending for myself, more empathetic of those who have to actually eat these things on a regular basis, and better educated about something I had a curiosity about.

    • yearof52adventures 9:52 am on June 3, 2010 Permalink

      June, feel free to join the group and post your adventures to the site as they surface. If you want to become an author, sign up for a free wordpress account and email me, Kimberlyhula@gmail.com to let me know!

      So happy to have you!

  • Kimberly Hula 4:37 pm on May 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    You and Me makes fun for We 

    Jeanne Sparrow, of Chicago’s WCIU (The U) joined myself, and the lovelies jean Ann and Amanda (on her birthday!) on a Sky Deck Adventure!  You can see the footage here!

    You can also see some more choppy footage of the actual live broadcast, here.

    *Technical glitch FIXED.  Videos are dressed and ready for YOUR viewing!

    • faolan01 1:26 pm on May 11, 2010 Permalink

      the link here is broken 😦 (looks like there’s an extra http// in it) but the one on the Facebook page works. The Sky Deck Adventure and the interview were great! 2 news stories in a matter of days? looks like this is really catching on 🙂

    • yearof52adventures 9:53 am on May 12, 2010 Permalink

      Aye yi yi! Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
      The news stories were darling and we have a lot of fun doing them.
      I’m so excited everyone is in it to win it. Great job all!

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