June 18, 2016
Red River Gorge - by Leo Kates
Hey Team PRG (and Team PRG parents)! It's your friend Leo! So for those of you that are going on the Red trip for the first time this year, I know that it can be pretty stressful not knowing what to expect. So, I decided to write up a brief description of what day to day life is like when you're there!
Where we stay:
First off, the Red River Gorge, or for short "the Red", is a popular climbing destination comprised of many individual climbing areas (crags), located in Slade, Kentucky. We stay at a camping site called Miguel's, which also has an on-premises pizza restaurant! It's pretty awesome. The camping sight also features a laundromat, which does cost a couple bucks per load, so bring quarters! There are also showers and bathrooms. The showers use tokens, which cost $1 each and give you 4 minutes, so wash quickly! There is also a recreation room, which has FREE wifi (woot woot!) and outlets to charge all of your devices, along with board games and such.
A typical day:
The counselors will wake you up at 8:00am. From there, kids are responsible for getting their things ready for the day ahead. This involves filling both (yes, both. It's very hot!) water bottles and packing up your shoes, harness, chalk, etc. in addition to brushing teeth and all of that fun hygiene stuff. Kids are also responsible for preparing their own breakfast. We will have bagels, cereal, fruit, yogurt, and maybe even foie gras! Okay we won't have foie gras, but we will have those other things. Kids are divided up into work groups, who rotate between making lunch, making dinner, and cleaning dinner dishes. The lunch making group will make you a sandwich of your choosing. There are cold cuts, pb&j, and if you have an allergy they will have an alternative for you. I recommend bringing one of those sandwich containers, because you don't want it to get smushed in your bag! After that, we usually leave at AROUND 10:00. This is weather depending; we may leave at 9:45 or we may leave at 10:30; it all depends on the weather. On the way to the crag, we usually stop at a convenience store, where some kids will buy some snacks with their own money. We also supply chips and cracker type snacks, but if they want something like a cliff bar or a Gatorade, they need to buy it with their own money. Now, different groups go to different crags, depending on what the coaches think will best suit your climbing level and experience. All groups are staffed with a coach, some PRG staff members, and a first aid kit. From where we park, it is usually a 10-20 minute hike to the crag. Kids should wear hiking boots, sandals such as tevas or keens, or some other type of outdoor shoe. Once we get there, the coach will go over safety rules. The coaches will only let kids climb stuff that they deem appropriate and safe for that individual. So, if you typically climb 5.9, they will not be putting you on a 5.13. They also may want you to top rope something before leading it, if you plan on leading it. It's all challenge by choice. We will usually leave the crag by 5-6pm, and drive back to the campsite. The dinner group will cook dinner, and the cleanup group will do the dishes. There are always vegetarian alternatives to the meals. After that, the night is yours. Kids can play games, listen to music, call parents, etc.. Kids must be in their tents, ready for bed by 11:00pm.
Usually we climb for 2 days and then have a rest day. Rest days mean kids can sleep in to their hearts' desires, play games all day, or accompany the counselors on the infamous trip to Walmart! At Walmart, the counselors restock up on food for the next couple days, and after, kids have the opportunity to buy things they may want/need, like more shampoo, extra socks, a one-gallon jar of mayonnaise, really whatever suits them best :). There is a lot of downtime on rest days, so I recommend bringing a good book to read, an iPod, your pet chinchilla, a frisbee, really whatever's fun for you. Sometimes we go on adventures on rest days, which can include (but is not limited to):
-the watering hole
-a bowling alley
-an ice cream shop (my personal favorite!)
Recommended items to bring, in addition to what's already been stated:
-did I mention a tent fan?
-BRING A TENT FAN!
-a deck of cards
Lastly, let's talk about spending money. So, we provide all meals, including one night of pizza every week. However, if kids want to buy some pizza another night, a tshirt from Miguel's, toiletries from Walmart, batteries for their lantern, a 48" flat-screen TV, or whatever else they fancy, they need to pay for it with their spending money. I recommend at least $40 per week. I know this seems like a lot, but it's just a cushion. Kids do not NEED to spend $40/week on anything. In past experience, however, many kids like to buy ice cream from Miguel's at night, or cliff bars from the convenience store. Rest day excursions like bowling require money as well. Have a conversation with your child to determine what is an appropriate amount depending on what they intend to purchase while there.
I hope this helps!! I know this seems like a lot, but it truly is an AWESOME experience! Get psyched!
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