On a sunny and beautifully clear day in early February, 2008, I decided to go hiking on a section of the Tanawha Trail which I had not traversed before. The trail runs on the west side of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Price Park south to Grandfather Mountain. The section I took today is from Cold Prong Pond north to Holloway Mountain Road, about 3 miles one way. I went out and back for a 6 mile round trip.
Over the weekend of January 11 - 13, 2008, the intrepid and imperturbable Bruce Nolin led the St. Paul youth group on a ski expedition to SnowShoe Resort, West Virginia. The youth really were (mostly) well behaved. But when things got a little out of hand, or (a lot) behind schedule, Bruce was cool and collected. I guess training in the Navy helped.
On the sunny and unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon of January 6, 2008, I took a shake-down cruise for the first mountain biking exercise on my new bike. Debbie gave it to me for Christmas. I drove my Bronco Moses with the bike on a rack to the Ranger station at Kerr Scott Lake, whose parking lot is the eastern end of the Trail.
During the Christmas 2007 festivities with my wife Debbie's family, I got invited by Bill Dunn to temporarily join the Old Farts Club. Each Wednesday, they take their weekly 'constitutional' hike, often up to 15 miles. The Club has some very stringent entrance requirements: be over 70 years old and retired, or had heart surgery. The OFC is lead by the redoubtable Alvin Sturdivant, who is on track to hike 1,000 miles in 2007. That's averaging two 10-mile hikes every week. Other partners in crime include Bill Casey, Edgar Harris and Tommy Thomas.
Over the weekend of October 26, 2007, Ranger Bob and Debbie Laney took an impromptu vacation to the southern NC Outer Banks. For the first time in memory, Ranger Bob stayed in a regular, normal hotel instead of camping in a tent or staying with relatives. We booked a room at the Seahawk in Pine Knoll Shores. It was inexpensive but comfortable, and right on the sea shore. The view outside our window was of a small grass lawn leading to sea oats, sand dunes, sea gulls, sandy beach, pelicans and breaking waves.
By Paul Anderson: The idea for a trip to Morehead City to dive off Cape Lookout at the North Carolina coast came from mine and Bob Laney's scuba diving trip to Key Largo in July 2007. We wanted to dive on the wreck of The Spiegel Grove near Key Largo, FL. But the dive outfitter would not take us there, since Bob did not have his Advanced Open Water Certification. Even though Bob had had dived on wrecks to 100 feet depth, made other dives at night, in heavy current, done navigation, helped in a (minor) rescue, done a total of about 35 dives, and all the other advanced diver skills, he did not have a piece of paper saying so. We had to skip the Spiegel Grove. On the way home, I proposed going to Morehead City later that fall with the Blue Dolphin Dive Center, since an instructor would be with the group who could give Bob the advanced certification.
On the beautiful sunny Sunday of September 9, 2007, Dave Bormann, Doug Morris and Bob Laney led the St. Paul's Youth on day hike and picnic to Doughton Park. Bruce and Kathy Nolin set up the program and made the arrangements. We had 8 youth in the 6th and 7th grades. They were Van Morris, Tate Morris, Carson Amick, Jeb Broyhill, Kieren Cook, Becca Baird, Tori Baird and one guest. The group left the church about 9:45 a.m. and drove to the park.
Editor's note: the main text [regular font] is written by Will McElwee.The inserts [italics] are comments by Bob Laney, and Bob also edited the main text for readability and filled in some details.
During the first week and two weekends of August, 2007, a band of Wilkes County natives, Will, Bob (partially), Kelly Pipes and Andy and Brooke Johnston hiked the entire width of Glacier National Park, from Lower Kintla Lake in the northwest corner to Chief Mountain Customs in the northeast corner, with a z-shaped angle into the middle of the park south of Waterton Lake.