Check out the story on WLOS-TV.
|TrailRidge Mountain Camp - the Buladean Years||
Wonderful Earth Day news for lovers of the Roan Mountain area. Billionaire Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, has made a donation of 7,500 acres of land to add to all the other wonderful land making up that land mass.
Check out the story on WLOS-TV.
Pretty much all of our campers visited Roan Mountain at some point or other...either on a backpacking trip or as a day trip by van. It is a magical mountain. Check out these photos and captions found on the "Only in Your State" online newsletter:
Click to check it out.
Every so often we'll hear from a former camper or counselor. It's always fun to have friend check in. I just got this email from our one and only Australian counselor, Trevor Creighton. Here's what he had to say...
I was a TMC counselor in 1988 (the Australian one). This afternoon I decided to find out if TrailRidge could be found via the all-knowing Google and there it was - your fabulous site! I can't tell you how much I am enjoying it. I'm still sifting through, but already have come across some snippets from a couple of compadres from '88 - Paul and John. I have such great memories of my one summer. I had intended to come back the following year but got married instead. It was a tough choice ;-)
I'm looking forward to going through the photographs now. Already spotted Sam Brinkley. I remember taking quite a few of the kids down to his grave on the 'Sam Brinkley Memorial cycle tour' on a few occasions - that was a blast! I still manage to weave in some tall tales of TrailRidge around the dinner table to any captive audience I can find.
One of our bike rides out of camp was down Hughes Gap Road, over to a side road, and up to a church cemetery that was the resting site of Sam Brinkley. His beard was legend.
For #WorldBeardDay we're spotlighting Sam Brinkley, who became known for one of the world’s longest beards in the early 20th century. He was born near Burnsville in Yancey County.
As an adult, Brinkley stood at 6 feet, two inches with a beard that measured in at 5 feet, 4 inches at its peak length. Notoriety came with the remarkable growth of his beard. He began by exhibiting it to the curious, and he went on tour with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. He reportedly earned thousands of dollars by charging people to see his beard, which he kept tucked in a pouch.
Brinkley was a late bloomer when it came to facial hair. According to newspaper accounts, until he was 21, he had no real beard to shave. By 23, the growth had reached the astounding rate of a full beard in a week’s time. One article reported that the beard was entirely natural, not the result of restorers or invigorators. Another called it “soft and beautiful.” For decades Brinkley was known as the world’s expert on the cultivation of beards.
He died in 1929 from complications of tonsillitis, and he is buried at Buladean in Mitchell County with a striking photo featuring his legendary beard recessed into his tombstone.
-Original post from the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources (9/5/20)
Ben Parker just had a reunion with TMC “camper” Collyn Martinez. Ben lives out in New Mexico and Collyn is still in New Orleans.
Ben says, When Collyn arrived, he had just backpacked and camped for 3 days in the Sangre de Cristos at nearly 12,000 feet with his dog and a friend, so we taught him well at camp.
Ben has made plans to stay with Collyn in NO for Jazz Fest next spring. Turns out they both love the same music- JRad, Widespread Panic, and Government Mule. Ben reports that Collyn has developed into a kind, decent man.
Ben also says, It's funny - I remember him so well and in a way he really hasn't changed at all. It was the same old Collyn. He was 11 then and 45 now, but he seemed exactly the same. The mannerisms and personality are exactly as I remembered. It is all so surreal. It's been 35 years since I last saw him. But we were very good friends at TRidge.
We talked endlessly about TRidge and did a 5-mile hike with a 1,500 elevation change in 104-degree heat. So, he is in great shape. I fed him and his friend a classic New Mexico lunch- homemade enchiladas with green chile.
It was just so fantastic to see him.
Collyn is heading from Ben’s place in New Mexico to meet up with another TMC camper, Chad Webre who lives in Colorado.
Editor's Note - Ben is the one wearing the red TMC t-shirt. Now that is a piece of history!
The scanning is over. As of now, all the individual photos I had (that were originally attached to camp applications) have been posted on the website. There are over 400 of you. Of course, I'm sure we're missing another hundred or so. We can fix that. Just read the notes at the top of page one and bottom of page 9.
I did a quick tally of where everyone came from in the listings. I counted 23 states, DC, and Mexico. I feel certain we had a few more states represented. However, for being the "world's smallest camp," even I'm impressed.
Camper Photos -- Check 'em out.
I've just started to finally scan the photos that parents attached to the camp applications. It will be a slow process, so check back. You can find the page here at this link. And of course, under the "Photo Galleries" tab you'll find a link to "Camper Photos."Camper Photos - p 1
During some of our earliest years at TrailRidge, our neighbor across Hughes Gap Road from camp, would spend his own money each Fourth of July to put on a show for the camp. Stan served as our maintenance man and we couldn't have gotten stuff done without him. He took great joy in shooting off about 15 minutes worth of firepower for those first few summers. The boys and staff would sit on the bank of the pond and enjoy the show. We enjoyed it just about as much as Stan did.
And now, nearly 40 years later, I've put on my own fireworks show. The background is the Town of Columbus had to cancel their festivities because of COVID-19. I decided I "could be like Stan."
Click this link to check out my video to see how I did.
Received this great photo last night. Bill Janvier and Ben Parker are still good friends after meeting as staff members at TMC over 35 years old. Bill (living in the Raleigh area) went out to do some hiking in New Mexico with Ben who lives out that way. Camp friendships are the best!
You'll see that Bill is wearing a very old TMC t-shirt and Ben has his TMC patch and third-year carabiner. (Plus he's wearing an old jacket that I gave him.)
Thanks for keeping the spirit alive!
So TrailRidge folks, after traveling with my MindStretch Travel Adventures groups for years...we finally took the guys on a trip into the old TMC neck of the woods. We hiked up to Round Bald and a little beyond from Carvers Gap. It was 59 degrees when we arrived there this past Wednesday. And when we were done...guess where we had lunch with those famous milkshakes? You guessed it - Bob's Dairyland. Nothing has changed except the "outhouse" at Carver's Gap is slightly fancier than before.
We did meet a couple of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy caretakers and they had some news about the old TMC property. I will wait until I visit the old TrailRidge before posting any info. That's not happening for several weeks.
Just some random thoughts about how TrailRidge came to be and about life at the camp in those first 15 or so years in Buladean.