Last weekend’s Spring VAR was a success! Walker Mountain Grotto would like to thank everyone who came out to Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center and the many people who pitched in to help. We are a small grotto and could have not have pulled it off on our own. In particular, the crew from Camp Cheerio – Cluck, Micah, Matt, Sarah, and the Holston High School Karst Club volunteers – Jenna, Brandon, and Dashaun were all a great help around the site throughout the weekend.
We are proud of our caves and worked hard to provide a wide variety of trips. Hopefully everyone who wanted a trip was able to go caving! The trips were made possible by the generous land owners in our area – note that these caves were open for our event and are not simply “come back anytime” open to revisit without permission! We thank Appalachian Cave Conservancy and West Virginia Cave Conservancy for access to their caves. There were more than ten guided trips with in excess of 100 people signed up! A big thanks to the trip leaders from Flittermouse Grotto, the Triangle Troglodytes, and VPI Cave Club who volunteered to lead trips – Dan Henry, Terri Brown, Ken Walsh, Emily Graham, Janet Manning, Buzz Rudderow, Ellen Hofler, Hunter Wyatt, Emma Buchanan, Steve Ahn, Steph Petri, Brian Williams, Mike Broome, Lisa Lorenzin, Cindy Baubach, Andrew Lycas, Eric Hahn, Kevin Austin, and Lakyn Austin.
The raffle and door prizes were a lot of fun! We would like to thank the local businesses who donated: Highlands Ski and Outdoor Center, Sundog Outfitters, and Mount Rogers Outfitters. Keep these fine establishments in mind and drop by the next time you are in southwest Virginia!
I think everyone enjoyed the HMLRC facilities. They are a small non-profit and were very supportive of our event. We left the place in good shape and appreciate the great job everyone did cleaning up their sites before departing. The camp director contacted us Monday morning and said he would not believe anyone had been there over the weekend if he had not seen us with his own eyes! A big thank-you to Dr. Fred Webb and Mike Futrell for their excellent presentations Friday and Saturday evening – and thanks to John Fox for providing the sound system for the talks. Thanks to Carl Amundson, Jeff Benford, and Kurt Waldron with the Eastern Region of NCRC for the vertical workshop. The vendors and conservancies were a great addition to the onsite activities – thanks Inner Mountain Outfitters, Speleobooks, Appalachian Cave Conservancy, and Southeastern Cave Conservancy!
Dinner Saturday night and Sunday morning breakfast were great! Thanks to Angie Reynolds and Marie Thomas for a great catered dinner and thanks to Janet Tinkham and Front Royal Grotto for organizing a great continental breakfast. Finally, thank you to Tom Snediker and Wendy Godley of The Kind for providing the great musical entertainment Saturday evening.
The final registration total was 279! We are still sorting through the registration information and working up a financial report. Look for a final report in an upcoming Region Record. There are a lot of pictures up on the Spring VAR 2018 Facebook page – thanks everyone for sharing! – check it out if you are a Facebook user.