At 9:00 a.m. we began our second expedition with a short bus ride to Star Gap Road, where we began our hike to Gentry Creek. It was a two-and-a-half mile hike mostly on the road, which started out paved and then switched to gravel. The hike was rather easy, so it took less than two hours for us to reach camp.
After a lunch of salami and cheese sandwiches, we attended a class on rappelling, followed by a few hours of trail improvement. Fixing up the trail was an easy job for me because I was digging a canal to drain puddles of water. Later, upon returning to camp, my tent partner and I enjoyed my billy-can campfire cooking of lentils and rice. The air was chilly, but it was a good night from that point on.
The second day my tent partner awoke and started the fire as I began to take down the tent and make oatmeal. (This time it was a horrible breakfast.) Then we took our packs to the rally point, and, with just our daypacks, went to the rock where we rappelled. I found it easy, but others found it difficult using the Dulfersitz method. Camp that night was at Camp Awesome. On the way, Mr. Kevin headed back to the school, but I didn’t know that was the plan, so when I noticed he was gone, I yelled up to the rest of the group and took off running back down the trail looking for him. I was so relieved when Mr. Matt told me Mr. Kevin was fine, but had work to do back at FMA. Along the way to Camp Awesome I saw all of the bridges that former FMA students had built; they were all torn down, which was a bummer. Later that day Mr. Mike gave us Snickers bars, which Miss Patricia had gone out of her way to send for us.
The third morning was cold, but I found it pleasant. After we broke camp, the hike to Upper Gentry began. We followed a trail that made me feel like I was in the rainforest. Behind me was the sound of the musical stylings of Mr. Matt singing folk songs. We stopped for a short break at Gentry Falls, which I thought were magnificent. While we were on break, Mr. Matt found a bees’ nest in the creek and was going to use it as fire starter until he realized the queen bee was still in it. When we arrived at camp, we began trail work. Brent and I made the best trench to keep water off the trail. It began to rain later that night, but luckily I had built a shelter over the wood.
The morning of day four was dark, cold, and wet. The shelter I built over the firewood kept the wood dryer than the tent kept my tent partner and me. The fire started easily because there were still hot coals from the previous night, but the rain was a drag. Sometime around noon, the weather cleared and it warmed up some. Because everything in our tent was wet, when the sun came out, the camp looked like a gypsy camp with all our stuff hanging from tree branches to dry. That night was cool and all was silent.
On the fifth day we hiked out of Gentry Creek to Ridge Camp, formerly known as Bus Camp. The bus had disappeared and Mr. Mike was king of bummed because it was no longer there. Before camp was set up we took a day hike to the Tri-State, where the borders of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee meet. On the way there we saw this cool house up on a mountain top. I thought the scenery was amazing, and I could see for miles. Back at camp it was very windy, dark, and cold. Beyond the tree line I could just see the lights of a small town.
On the sixth day we took down our camps and began the hike back to FMA. The air that morning was cold and crisp and actually nice. The hike was mostly downhill and took very little time. The arrival at FMA was welcoming and the food that night was not cooked in a coffee can. It was tasty Parmesan Chicken, and it was great.