Read the story.
Ben Parker sent this notice to me today about the closing of the Overmountain Shelter. I imagine several dozen of our campers/counselors stayed in this shelter on one of their "Bob's Dairyland Hikes" that took adventurous campers on the AT from Carver's Gap down to 19-E in the town of Roan Mountain.
Read the story.
I think Ben Parker does an amazing job of keeping up with camp friends. Here's his trip report of a hike with fellow counselor Steve Sovelove that happened just after his hike with Collyn Martinez.
Steve and his wife stayed here for 2 days. On one of the days we did a 5-hour hike in 95-degree heat; we both held up great and I think we were moving as fast as our TrailRidge days. Both of our health has really improved (2 years ago we were bed-ridden at times with pain). Steve is still making custom-cabinets and furniture. He is a master craftsman. He also plays drums in a punk band.
We all had many meals together and could not have had a better time together. Neither of us has changed much. He and I are the best of friends for 35 years now! Here's a photo taken in a remote part of the northern Sandias near Albuquerque that we hiked to.
Ben Parker & Collyn Martinez are still friends and hiking buddies after decades of being out of touch.
Trip Report from Ben Parker
Collyn Martinez lives in New Orleans and involved in real estate. He is visiting NM mainly to see his good friend in Santa Fe. They are whitewater rafting near Taos for a few days, and hiking and camping. I'm still working as a stock investor and close to retiring. Collyn and I did a 2-hour hike up off-trail up a steep arroyo with signs of black bear everywhere but we didn't see any. Collyn and I will be life-long friends.
Another camper from the past. This morning I got an email from camper Trevor Ferrell. I'm thinking he was there around 1985. Ben Parker might know for sure. Thanks for getting in touch, Trevor.
And here's his memory...
I was a camper for one year. Do not remember the year or too many details. I do remember Ben Parker. I remember leaving the cabin and another camper said to Ben, "It's cold Ben, it's cold." Ben laughed and we continued to use the saying, "It's cold Ben, it's cold" during the camp session. Anyway, thought I would share.
It’s always good to get some updates from past staff and campers. Ben Parker (5 years at TMC including the very first) and Steve Sovelove (2 years, ’85 & ’86) are two camp counselors who have remained friends for nearly 40 years.
Camp friends are always the best. Ben Parker keeps in touch with several former campers/counselors including Steve Sovelove. Steve and and his family have been staying at an Airbnb this week in Albuquerque visiting their son at the University of New Mexico. This week Ben has been on several hikes with Steve and one of his son's. Ben says Steve is doing great. Still building furniture on Lopez island north of Seattle.
First photo: Ben (left) and Steve.
Second photo: Steve and his son.
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!
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!
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.