This week Erick steps out of his comfort zone and “embraces the void” as he and the crew venture to the rolling hills and deep gorges of the Cumberland Plateau.  They take their experiences to new heights and adventure with lessons in rock climbing, zip lining, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, wildlife management and fried bologna.

First off, they head to the world-renowned Obed Wild and Scenic River, known for its amazing rock climbing, where Erick attends the monthly National Park Service event – Coffee and Climb with a Ranger. Folks of all ages can attend this free event, which brings together park rangers and rock climbers of all levels for a fun and informal morning of climbing.  While Erick is told to “embrace the void” between he and the ground, he is secretly thinking he’d like to “erase the void.”  But, after watching others do it, he decides to not give in to his fear of heights, and takes on the climb.

It’s easy to sometimes take for granted the beauty of the Tennessee outdoors.

The Cumberland Plateau is known for its scenic beauty, so while many come to enjoy the outdoors, others also come to give back. After enjoying some of the park’s amazing amenities the crew felt it was important to do their part to maintain the area’s particular beauty by participating in an Adopt a Crag volunteer event. Erick and the crew help take on a little bug that is creating big problem for our Hemlocks. 

The crew builds up quite an appetite after a day outdoors so they head to get a taste of some real old-fashioned country cooking. Well there’s no better place to experience authentic country cooking than at the Cumberland Mountain General Store in Clarkrange.

With a full day and full stomach, the crew is ready to learn about what steps TWRA has taken to safeguard this beautiful land on the Cumberland Plateau and at Catoosa Wildlife Management Area.  Erick learns how regeneration cuts to forests increase productivity of the land.  He gets the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a tractor to help plow the land where they will sow food plots of wheat for deer.  Needless to say, this isn’t your average tractor and with Erick driving, well, there’s no telling how it will go.

 Feeling rather adventurous with his first climb under his belt (and not ready to call it a day yet) Erick is feeling confident and heads to Zipstream Fall Creek Falls for some more suspended fun. This is more than a zip line, it’s an aerial adventure park.

The take away from this episode is that it’s not worth missing experiences and achievements for fear. When we come together to navigate our challenges, we stand to gain the most progress.

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