Our extended weekend brought a ton of fun but also a ton of rest to some of us in much need of both. Sunday some of us continued our hiking expedition with a trip to one of the most (if not the most) photographed spots on the Appalachian trail…MacAffee’s point (I think that’s how it is spelled, already got it wrong once). It was a four mile hike up and out onto an overlook whose beauty is quite honestly beyond words. You could see for miles and the expanse of the blue ridges went as far as the eye could see. The only limit to our visit was the bitter cold that almost immediately completely numbed up our fingers as we were clicking away photos on our phones. Seriously…it was the kind of cold that caused bitter pain at the tips of your fingers, and soon we were all re-gloved, with one hand in our armpit to rewarm and the other balanced with Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddies – a.k.a. chocolatey , peanut buttery goodness) on the other. The weekend was capped off with a visit for many of us to Home Place with never ending fried chicken, roast beef and biscuits. Not to mention, we returned home and our awesome elective co-director Steph had brought us chili and potatoes for dinner to keep something warm in our bellies.
Monday brought an amazing surprise….we awoke to at least 5 inches of fresh powder on the ground. Needless to say, some of our speakers had a hard time traveling to meet with us, and our afternoon of mountain biking had to be at least put off. In other words..SNOW DAY!! We were able to relax in the morning and had a nice fireside lecture with Dr. Steph Lareau, and then she graciously set us loose to have some much deserved fun in the snow. It was an exhausting two hours of snowball throwing, people tackling, friend burying, kayak sledding, kangersnipe hunting, and face-washing good time!! At the end of the two hours we had a surprise scenario that left us to deal with a couple of our own ‘injured’ patients that we had to travel to in the back woods and decide on a management and extrication plan. Though at times for some it was hard to decide whether the situation was real or a scenario, we treated it like the real thing and took good care of our friends J. The snowy day ended with a very powerful video of the two doctors that were present on Everest during the avalanche describing their experience there. If there were ever two heroes, those doctors definitely made the cut.
The snowy Monday led to a bit warmer, rainy Tuesday. The day started bright and early with new scenarios for us to test our skills, but devoid of the equipment that we had become so comfortable with last week. Instead, we were given a new (and might I say not quite as bountiful) set of supplies to work with and improvise such things as a litter to carry our patients out with. It was phenomenal practice to deal with scenarios using supplies that we were to more likely have with us at the time of an emergency (sleeping pads, sleeping bags, ropes, limited medical supplies, etc.). There was a cold rain coming down, and somewhere in the back of our heads we heard Kirk and Fred laughing and cheering at us being out in the chilled rain. We had some fantastic lectures in the afternoon including tips on taking Kids out in the wilderness, toxicity of various plants and mushrooms, and field pain management. It was a great day that ended in yet another great hike to the bluffs. Well, that didn’t quite end it as a big group of us headed into town to catch a show at the theatre in Roanoke and possibly may have stopped for a close-to-midnight snack run at the local Krispy Kream. Sweet end to a sweet day!