The weekend of October 17 - 19, 2014, Friday through Sunday, Chip Wiles and Robbie Russell led a backpacking and trout fishing trip to Doughton Park. They graciously invited me, Bob Laney, to go along. We car pooled from my house to the Longbottom Road parking lot where Basin Creek exits the southern end of the park. If you go there, remember the new rule: you must have a permit from the Park Ranger, and there is no self-registration kiosk there like some other parks. You should call or write the ranger station several weeks in advance.
The Saturday of October 25, 2014, my nephew Robert Parker planned a rock climbing trip to Hanging Rock State Park, and he invited yours truly. He brought along his 4 - year old daughter Kara, who was a delight to be with. I had been around Kara many times at family gatherings. But she was so small that we had little interaction. On this trip she showed some of her personality and character. She was strong and brave climbing the big rock face. She apparently is musical, too, because she often sang while she played. And, like Michael Jordan, she sticks out her tongue when she is concentrating.
The weekend of March 21 - 22, 2015, I went backpacking for the first time on the land that Terri and I own on Shoe Mountain, in northwest Wilkes County, off NC 16 North and White Oak Church Road, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Unless you trespass on the neighbor's land, there is not a lot of hiking that you can do on our 10 acres. So, most of the trip was spent setting up and taking down camp, cooking meals, pumping water and sitting on a big mossy rock reading the biography of George Harrison.
On July 2, 2005, I took a hike on my favorite mountain, as training for my trip next month to hike in Grand Tetons National Park. I went from US 221 on the Daniel Boone Scout trail to Calloway Peak and back down. I have been on Grandfather Mountain hundreds of times. I thought that I had seen every kind of meteorological condition. I thought wrong. This expected simple hike turned into a little bit of adventure. I saw three superlatives in one day - conditions with more of something than I had ever seen before.
On a sometimes sunny and sometimes cloudy Saturday in June, 2005, Ranger Bob lead his fourth annual trek to the Roan high balds to see the peak of the wild flowering bushes. Along for the show were Paul Anderson, Dan Bumgarner, Debbie Staley and John Willardson. This article includes photos from other Roan Mountain flower trips in 2006 and 2008, for which there is no separate written article. Shown from those trips are the Laney and Parker family clans, my mother Lib Laney, Joyce Anderson, Joe Richardson and children, Kendall Forester, Gwen Temple and others. Enjoy the view!
Over the week and two weekends of May 20 ' 29, 2005, Paul Anderson and I (Bob Laney) went scuba diving in the beautiful tropical waters off Bonaire.' The reefs there are on the top of many professional guide lists of the best places in the world to dive, including for shore diving and diversity of wildlife.
On the late spring weekend of May 14 - 15, 2005, the St. Paul's Episcopal Church youth group took a camping trip to Doughton Park. Under the capable leadership of Bruce and Kathy Nolin, they were accompanied by other adults Dave Bormann, Greg Hackett, Bob Laney and Debbie Staley. There were about 8 kids, mostly high school freshmen and sophomores. The juniors and seniors were having their prom that weekend.
On the chilly spring Saturday morning of April 16, 2005, Bob Boettger, Dan Bumgarner, Debbie Staley and Bob Laney took off for Grayson Highlands State Park in southwest Virginia. Even though many spring flowers and buds were showing in Wilkes County, the VA highlands were still under the lock of winter, with frost on the ground, no flowers and no green leaves. The wind chill factor was likely in the range of the teens Fahrenheit. We even hiked past a couple of remnant snow patches!
On April 15 of 2005 the Kiwanis Club speaker was Warren Doyle, professor at Lees-McCrae College. His claim to fame is having done what the above title says - hike from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine, and hundreds of other mountains in between, about 2,167 miles each trip a dozen times. Which is more than anyone else in history.