Friday, October 31, 2014

A great start to October! Horse Helpers, Climbing x2, Trail Building, and Bigger or Better

Horse Helpers 10/1/14

Ten students did about 20 hours of service out at Horse Helpers in Zionville, NC. According to junior Hattie Cox, they helped move rocks from the pastures and got to pet the horses and feed them apples. Horse Helpers is an awesome non-profit that takes in horses that have been abandoned in the high country and help them return to health. Students had a great time getting to pet the horses and helping out around the organization.

Holloway Climbing 10/2/14

"We spent an awesome Thursday afternoon climbing at Holloway," said freshman Alayna Arnholt of the climbing trip.  "We bonded by telling stories on the drive. When we arrived we went through belay school before splitting into groups and climbing. People alternated between climbing, belaying, and back-up belaying." The seven students on the trip had a great time hanging out, climbing, and challenging themselves on the rock. "The most memorable thing about the trip was getting advice from people on the ground when I was climbing," said Alayna. She also accomplished her ambitious goal of climbing backwards!

Hound Ears Climbing Competition 10/4/14

The morning of October 4th was a chilly one as climbers from all over flocked to Boone for the Hound Ears Climbing Competition. Mountain Alliance brought bus drivers, climbers, and food servers to the event. Mountain Alliance raised money through our drivers and selling delicious chili made by Tina Houston. Our staff and student climbers got to try our hand at the renowned and protected Hound Ears bouldering site. The climbs were tough, but we enjoyed ourselves and got to see some amazing climbers!

Trail Building 10/7/14

This was the first of two trips over to Boone United Methodist Church this semester. We've been helping them build the Boone United Trail which is an in-town trail that works its way up the backside of Howard's Knob. Even though the weather wasn't the best, we still had a few brave students that showed up and turned out to have great trail building weather. Thanks to every one that came!

Bigger or Better 10/9/14

This year's Bigger or Better was a huge success! Students started with small items like paperclips, stickers, and lanyards and went around downtown Boone trying to trade them for something bigger or better than what they had. The group came back with everything from records to t-shirts to water bottles! They had a great time!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Humane Society, Overnight Climbing, and Virginia Creeper Trail

Humane Society 9/25/14

Before our third Membership Meeting of the year, Mountain Alliance brought 15 students and 3 staff to the Watauga County Humane Society. The students put in some service hours around the humane society before getting to spend some quality time with cute animals. "It was really fun," said freshman Summit "Alfred" Fredenburg of her experience. "First, I washed windows with a few other students, then we all played with cats until it was time to leave." The building got cleaner and the animals got some much needed attention - win-win for everyone!

Overnight Climbing 9/26-27/14

We had beautiful weather for our first overnight climbing trip of the school year. Four boys and five girls set out for Little Lost Cove on Friday after school to enjoy some great camping and awesome climbing. The group set up camp near the climbs, enjoyed the delicious camp fire desert of "Cream Puffs," and camped out under the stars. In the morning, the group geared up to go climbing and enjoyed several hours of climbing, belaying, and fun with an awesome group of people.

Virginia Creeper Trail 9/28/14

An excited group of ten students traveled across state lines to bike on the Virginia Creeper Trail. "Everyone on the trip was awesome and easy to talk to," said sophomore Elaine Mansure. The trail stretches 34 miles from Abingdon to Whitetop Station near the NC State Line in Whitetop, VA. Mountain Alliance travelled the 17 miles from Whitetop to Damascus on a beautiful section of the trail that travels through woods and alongside a stream. "We had an excellent time creepin' down the Creeper Trail on our bikes," said Elaine. "It was great! I learned how to improve my biking skills a great deal... and I learned some cool teamwork games!" Elaine said she also met the goals of meeting new friends and not falling off of her bike!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

LIFT Horse Helpers, Alpine Tower, Leadership Backpacking, Rocky Knob Triathlon, and LIFT River Clean Up

LIFT Horse Helpers 9/17/14

Our Horse Helpers LIFT trip left the school with 12 girls ready to do some service. We run 2 or 3 trips with Horse Helpers of the High Country per semester and students usually love getting to spend time with the horses and ponies. On this trip, the girls worked hard and had a lot of fun! In addition to mucking out stalls and doing some work around Horse Helpers, they got to pet some horses, cats, and even some chickens!

Alpine Tower 9/18/14

After being thundered out at the last Alpine Tower, 12 students returned to the Alpine Tower to climb to the tower and to test out the Swing by Choice. "I didn't do any climbing, myself, since I prefer to belay," said Devinne Snook (senior) of the trip, "but I had a really great time supporting the climbers from the ground. After a while of climbing, we closed down most of the benches so [we] could move over to the swing. I had never gotten to pull anyone up on the swing before and it was really cool to help hoist the swingers with the rest of the group. It was kind of like playing a game of tug of war, but against gravity instead of other people." Devinne said that the most memorable part of the trip came near the end when people starting challenging themselves with different ways of climbing - tandem or buddy climbing, climbing with a cane, posing for fun pictures, climbing blindfolded, etc.

Leadership Backpacking 9/19/14-9/21/14

Seven students set out for the woods on September 19th to learn about leadership and group development in the outdoors. The small, but mighty, group went on some day hikes and participated in several leadership based activities. There were some new and old faces on this trip which provided for a fun and interesting group dynamic. I don't know if it anyone really knew what they were getting into, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience for all.

Rocky Knob Triathlon 9/20/14

A group of competitors and volunteers participated in the first annual Rocky Knob Triathlon on September 20th. It started off cold and foggy, but turned into a beautiful day to be outside. We sent a staff team comprised of Stella Cybulski, Scott Robelee, and Eric Johnston and a students team made up by Levi Marland, Alex Webb, and William Nelson. Both teams fought hard while student and staff volunteers helped competitors transition from running to kayaking and kayaking to biking as well as some tasks at the finish line. After 8 miles of running, 4 miles of kayaking, and 19 miles of biking, the student team edged out the staff team and won 3rd place overall in the race! Congrats Levi, Alex, and William!

The Staff Team: Scott, Stella, and Eric
The Student Team: Alex, Levi, and William

LIFT River Clean Up 9/23/14

Despite a nice, warm September, the weather turned cold for the 7 girls who went on the LIFT River Clean Up. These tough ladies didn't let the weather stop them, though. The students remained optimistic and determined to clean up a local river - the section of the South Fork of the New River that starts at the bridge at State Farm Fields and extends to the high school. They collected a bunch of trash from the river, but the favorite of these items was most definitely a large traffic cone who has endearingly been named "Travis the Traffic Cone." Travis has since been dressed up in a Mountain Alliance jacket, a fake beard, a yellow wig, and a witches hat and resides in the Mountain Alliance room. Feel free to stop by and meet him!