1976

(Sept ’75 – Aug ’76)

 

Locations:

  • March Instructor’s Course: Woodlands Institute Spruce Knob, WV.
  • May Instructor’s Course: Linville Gorge, NC.
  • Base Camp: Woodlands Institute Spruce Knob, WV.
  • Climbing: Seneca Rocks, WV

 

Highlights:

  • Only year program is held outside of NC
  • First year program runs using only 15 passenger vans
  • Ropes course built in Wallace Wade stadium

 

Favorite Expressions:

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Program Staff:

  • Program Director: Maret Maxwell
  • Climbing Director: Maret Maxwell

 

March Participants

Shelly Ames (I)

Kathy Kyker

John Milner

Wendy Fisher

Maret Maxwell (I)

Winston Trice

Ruth Aborjaily

Dick Hendrickson

Tom Rearick (I)

Will Renton

Dave Bennett

Joy Kish

Jamie Estill (I)

Carrie Mozena

James Stephen

Colin McKinnon

Richard Livingston

Karen Root

Ken Myrick

Hugh Wellons

David Kirk

Mike O'Fogludha

 

 

 

May Instructor’s Course

Maret Maxwell (I)

Peggy Brown

Carrie Mozena

Tim Ramsey

Ellen Rollins

Wanda Wallace

Mike O'Fogludha

 

Emile Murphy

Dana Thornton

Paige Pratt

 

 

August Staff

Shelly Ames

Kristin Hunter

Carrie Mozena

Tim Ramsey

Peggy Brown

David Kirk

Emilie Murphy

Ellen Rollings

Kit Dahl

Joy Kish

Ken Myrick

Kathy Turlington

Winston Trice

Kathy Kyker

Mike O'Fogludha

Wanda Wallace

Jamie Estill

Tom McMurray

Martha Olson

John Watkins

Ruth Faison

Kevin Moore

Bill Powers

Hugh Wellons

Colin McKinnon

Jim Morris

Paige Pratt

 

Wendy Fisher

Shaun McAlvoy

Bucky Henry

 

 

 

 

 

 

August Crews

Carrie Mozena(I)

Kathy Turlington(I)

Mike O'Fogludha(I)

Joy Kish(I)

Tom McMurray(I)

Shelley Ames(I)

Kevin Moore(I)

Crewling 1

Crewling 1

Crewling 1

Crewling 1

The Slacker Crew

Ellen Rollins (I)

Bill Powers (I)

Ken Myrick (I)

 

 

Nancy Rolfe

David Hall

Cindy Burkhart

Ann Heath

 

 

 

Stories

 

Life and Death on a Project WILD Instructors’ Course – Richard Henrickson

 

I remember one bitter cold Project WILD instructors' training expedition, the March 1976 Instructor’s Course at the Woodlands Institute in Spruce Knob, West Virginia.  It was a 7-day winter break outing in the mountains of West Virginia.  Hugh Wellons, Shaun McAvoy, Jamie Estill, Tom Rearick, Shelly Ames, and Maret Maxwell were our veteran instructors, working hard to whip the wimpiness out of us wannabe rookie instructors.  Richard Livingston, David Kirk, Kathy Kyker, Winston Trice, Will Renton, Karen Root, Mike O'Fogludha, John Milner, Ruth Aborjaily, Dave Bennett, James Stephen, Ken Myrick, Wendy Fisher, Dick Henrikson, Joy Kish, and Colin McKinnon were the rookie instructors.

 

Several days into our sojourn, our veteran instructors took leave of us, with instructions for us to plot our way to a distant point where they would rendezvous with us 2 days later.  And so we plebes headed out on our own to experientially test our skill at compass work, map reading, and backcountry winter survival.

 

At the end of the first day's cold march, one of our fellow plebes, Ruth Aborjaily, started acting giddy and silly.  Her strange behavior was intermittent at first, but gradually devolved into giggle outbursts and sweeping arm gestures.  Could this really be happening?!?  One of us actually getting hypothermic?  Since the sun and temperature were dropping fast, we desperately looked around, searching for a makeshift campsite.  Like stirred up ants, we frantically set up camp.  Tents went up, sleeping bags rolled out, a fire was started, water was boiled, and into a sleeping bag went our now half naked hypothermia victim and another rookie instructor to heat her up by all means necessary.  It was contained, but borderline panic, as we were dealing with a potentially life and death situation, two days hike from the nearest trailhead.  Ruth, our hypothermia victim, was now rather listless, lolling about with a serene but vacant look on her face, as her human heat bag companion struggled to keep her embraced.  It didn't seem to be going well.  She seemed to be on the verge of unconsciousness.  How could this be happening to us?!?

 

Then we heard a burst of laughter, but not from our fading victim.  This came from the woods.  And from the woods emerged Hugh, Shaun, and Jamie.  Our "victim" suddenly bounced right back to life with a knowing smile.  We had been had; convincingly dragooned into real life and death role playing to test our mettle.  All I can say to our veteran instructors is we passed the test.  Our "hypothermia victim" didn't die.

 

 

Breakfst Bird Style – Mike O’Foghludha

 

I remember the snow at Woodlands and what a snow it was.  I remember Jamie used to make a goo every morning of butter (or margarine, or whatever processed ‘70s abomination we used) hot chocolate, powdered milk, and whatever else he had and feed it to us all.  It was nasty at first, but it was the only thing that warmed us up, and we all lined up like birds in the nest to get it every morning.

 

The Wed Night Massacre – Maret Maxwell

    

These events occurred during the May Instructor’s Course in Linville Gorge in the small hours of a Wednesday night. We were camped by the van on at one of the campsites along the dirt road that runs along the top of the Gorge near the North Carolina Outward Bound School. I had my Labrador retriever, Gretchen, along on the trip. Because there were a lot of skunks and raccoons in the Linville area, I had tied Gretchen to my pack which was positioned above my head. It was a mild night so several of us were scattered around on the ground outside of the group tarp. All though the night was mild, the wind was fairly strong.

 

Sometime after midnight a skunk apparently approached my sleeping area  from upwind, looking for food, but completely unaware of the dog. I was awakened by the skunk running over my sleeping bag, followed by the dog , followed by the backpack.  The skunk, of course, did the skunk thing and made a direct hit on both Gretchen and my sleeping bag. Since the van was conveniently close, I thru the dog and the sleeping bag into the van and headed down the mountain in search of a cleaning solution. I had the good fortune to find an open laundromat right next door to a self-service car wash. I put the sleeping bag into a washing machine and took Gretchen next door to the car wash. She wasn’t thrilled about the idea so I have to attach her leash to the drain. I put my quarters in and hosed the dog down with soap. It was at this point that the situation began to deteriorate. I wanted to work the lather into Gretchen’s coat with my hands so I decided to put the spray nozzle back in its holder. What my brain failed to register is that the hose was still running at full blast. When I let go of the handle, the nozzle shot back out of the holder and hit my square in the nose. I was knocked to the ground and found my self cowering with the dog on the floor the car wash while the nozzle and hose whipped around in the air like a rocket on a leash. After what seemed like an incredibly generous allotment of time for a quarter, the water stopped and I was able to stagger back over to the laundromat and plug my nose with tissue. About the time my nose quit bleeding, the washing machine stopped. Unfortunately I no longer had the ability to determine if the sleeping bag still smelled like skunk, so I put it back in for another wash cycle while I returned to the car wash to finish the dog bath. Eventually everyone was clean and dry and we were able to return to the group about sunrise.

 

Although Gretchen was skunked twice more in her lifetime, we never again used a car wash. Years later I had to have surgery to repair my nose and sinuses which were more seriously damaged than I realized.

 

Photos

Spring Instructor’s Class

May Course

May Instructor's Class

August Staff

August Course