Rally Point 4: Trial by Trail

We held our RP4 expedition yesterday and this morning. Attempted to do a circuit around Dolly Sods wilderness in northeastern West Virginia. The intent was to take some of the younger guys out with a small cadre of StandWatch’s veteran leadership team and put them through their paces. We are going to be doing a lot of challenging things over the next several months, like mission trips that require a lot of hard work, and before we do, we wanted to make sure everyone who comes along is truly dedicated. The team consisted of one high school student, four young men in their early 20s, StandWatch leadership, and three veterans.

Now, this wasn’t our first rodeo, and to say the guys who have served have had worse hikes would be putting it mildly. Having said that, these are the worst trail conditions I have ever experienced outside of the military. The “trail” had turned into a rather deep creek. I’m not kidding, in the video it looks like we’re trying to walk through a big long creek, but it’s actually the trail. It was raining with intermittent freezing rain the entire time and we saw wind gusts that, I’m estimating, exceeded 20 miles per hour. It took us 6.5 hours to go 8.3 miles (our goal was 19 miles). Intending to go all night, we got on the trail at 4:00pm and made it back around 10:30pm. We were soaked to the bone and borderline hypothermic. It was an experience, but we brought everyone back safe and sound.

Kudos to the team:

Evan Conaway
Alex Northup
Hunter Kessler
Gavin Frush
Jacob Clark
Al Conaway
Cameron Temple
Zac Northup
Steve Frush