Mid October is always a great time for us at Blue Ridge Mountain Club. The leaves are peaking, the town of Blowing Rock is alive and hopping, and there is a healthy nip in the air as young and old alike seem drawn to the Parkway and this magical High Country setting.
This past weekend (October 18-20) was no exception. We had an exceptionally large Member turnout—that included some of our good friends from Blowing Rock—for an action-packed weekend that featured two community get-togethers. The first was a catered party Friday night at the home of Steve and Marilyn Lapidus that featured live entertainment by Michael Reno Harrell. The other was an all-day Saturday affair at the Watson Gap Pavilion where we gathered to eat barbecue, shoot skeet, ride horses, drive four-wheelers, and watch college football. And if that wasn’t enough, we also had a film crew on hand to shoot footage and interview some of our members for a special NBC series to be released in early 2014. It was a wonderful couple of days that truly embodied the Build Community experience that is so special here.
However, as wonderful as all of that was, it was not the highlight. The highlight was something totally unexpected—something none of us could have even anticipated—that demonstrated the spirit of true community at BRMC. As Saturday was winding down, it was communicated to me that some teenage kids had gone for a “quick hike” early that morning and as of 3:00 in the afternoon, had not returned. The parents of the missing teens were increasingly anxious as you might expect, and could not reach any of them by cell phone—no texts, no voice messages, nothing.
It was what happened next though, that was truly remarkable. Without even being prompted, several of our member families came together to help the BRMC Team set up a search party to find the young boys. Within one hour of setting out and scouring the property, we found the extremely tired, but otherwise healthy, teens on the Dugger Trail. Potential tragedy averted. Happy ending.
Turns out the three kids had decided “on a whim” to hike to Dugger Falls—a hike that was further out than they anticipated. And since it was an out-and-back hike and the weather was cool, they got tired quickly, and had limited cold-weather gear, and no food or water to energize them. Mainly, they were just lost and afraid. The great thing to me, besides seeing these boys safe and sound of course, was watching our members come together and help each other because there was a need. These are people from different parts of the country with different backgrounds and experiences, and yet everyone came together as a family. To me that that is priceless…and that spirit of community is one of the key factors that separates Blue Ridge Mountain Club from other communities.