Monthly Archives: January 2012

Touched Down in the Middle East!

One of our guides, Stephen Hyndman, is spending the winter in the United Arab Emirates, just outside of Dubai, working as a guide for Absolute Adventures. Here is one of his posts from his own blog filling everyone in on his time spent there so far:

I finally made it! The week long journey is complete and I have now traveled from Breckenridge, CO to the Arabian Peninsula!

I have just gained Internet access so I have not been able to update in the last few days. Let me fill you in on all the action.

The twelve hour flight went smoothly. Emerates Air is a very luxurious airline and although I was in economy class the services were outstanding. Each seat was equipped with its own media center and a selection of hundreds of movies, tv shows, and games. You can even access the internet, email, and international news. I slept a little bit but spent most of the flight watching movies. I think I watched 5. The food was very good as well and they brought us either a snack or a meal every 2 hours. When we landed I saw the worlds tallest building and largest airliner simultaneously. The A380 is currently only operated by Emerates Air and is a full double decked airplane, incredible piece of engineering.

Got in to Dubai airport at 8:30 am local time where I was greeted by Mike Camp, the sales manager for Absolute Adenture. Mike is an American from Boston who graduated from the outdoor rec. program at Central Wyoming College. Two other guides were to arrive later in the day so we went back to Mikes flat where we ironically watched skiing videos from the record winter last year in BC and Wyoming. It made me nostalgic for Colorado for sure.

We went to lunch by the beach in Dubai where I saw more expensive cars than ever before in my life. I even saw the brand new Lamborghini Aventador driving down the road. Dubai felt like a little piece of America and there were many westerners throughout the city. I saw the indoor ski resort from the outside but have not been in there yet.

Once the two other guides arrived we hopped in the car and made the 90 minute drive to Dibba where we are to live and work for the next 3 months. We arrived at night and could not get a sense for the the scenery until the next day.

Upon waking up the next morning I was blown away by the epic view of the sea and mountains from our house. This is truly an amazing place!

Pendleton County’s Most Magnificent Towers – Nelson Rocks

Penned by Charles S. Nelson  :  Nov. 28, 1903  –  Oct. 22, 1988

Born a half mile from these towers, he enjoyed their beauty most every day until a stroke in 1985 confined him to a nursing home. Edited and condensed by his daughter, Lorella Lee Nelson-Mitchell, who took the Dec. 1973 background photo of her father on top the southwest find of Nelson Rocks. The extract below if from Charles nelson’s “To be an American and other poems.” More information about the book can be obtained from Lorella Mitchell Nelson at or you can contact NROC directly at or 1-877-435-4842

Much has been written about the historic and scenic spots in Pendleton County, and appropriately so.  But in the praises, spoken and written, of places of interest and beauty, one most beautiful and lofty massive structure has seldom been included.  This point of magnificence is Nelson Rocks, less than three miles northeast of the village of Circleville, and just across the North Fork river valley from the highest point in the state, Spruce Knob.

These rocks change from a cold gray color to lighter gray to red mixed with yellow as the time of day and position of the sun changes.  Behold them in the morning before they have been brightened by the sunlight, and they appear as statues, standing cold and dumb, without even an affable glare.  Then turn toward their friendly side when light brings out their changefulness of color, and see the perfection of beauty reflected from each pinnacle and crevice; through every cordial sunbeam they speak silently a message sublime.

The massive formation of their walls, columns, and peaks presents a display of grandeur.  Two solid walls, two or three hundred feet apart at their bases on each side of the creek that comes rippling and sometimes roaring down, extend almost parallel for about a half mile toward the summits of two mountain ridges.  One ledge on either side of the creek extends across the top as part of the chain of formations seen through the valley, the loftiest of which I can only faintly describe.  Some of the columns stand as if careful monumental arrangement had designed them to mark the spot of earth’s only paradise.  Other towering columns extend so high as to become artistically sloped pinnacles, pointing in devotion to an infinite Creator.  To stand in the winding road at their base by the stream, and gaze in wonder and amazement toward the top of the perpendicular columns, makes the head grow dizzy and the eyes glimmer as they transfer to a longer-range focus.

An idea of their height may be had from the fact that it took a full double-charge of powder from a hunter’s rifle, in the hands of a skilled marksman, to bring down from his perch on one of their peaks, a wild turkey loftily resting there.  When paralyzed by the musket ball from my great-grandfather Job’s rifle, the bird tumbled into the abyss below, and was picked up a mangled mass, but an enviable trophy of the challenge.  Sometime between 1970 and 1985, this pinnacle was named Job’s Turkey by the rock climbers.

Large boulders are abundant at the base of these rocky walls, having been broken during some great upheaval or by pressure of flood waters centuries ago.  Bits are often shattered from their massive sides by violent strikes of lightning and the breaking fingers of frost and ice.  Roots of trees and shrubs also pry into their crevices and break away an occasional mass.  Against their sides and upon their tops grow the pines, ferns, and lichens, making a perfection of decoration.  In springtime when the laurel blossoms, it appears as a fairy queen’s garden, and is one of the most beautiful pages in God’s great book of nature.  When snow caps hang upon their pinnacles and each offset is pure white, when the evergreens against their sides and upon the slopes below bow beneath their new white array, one would call it a Christmas fairyland.

These majestic monuments have stood through multiplied centuries.  The eagle has built her nest and reared her young among their crags.  Foxes have sought refuge from the hunter’s dog in their cavernous openings, or escaped with nimble feet through some well known crevice.  Birds have warbled forth their songs from the bushes against their sides.  Flowers have grown and died upon their very tops.  Schoolboys have scaled their walls, and lovers have confided their most profound secrets in their shadows.  Many, including six generations of my ancestors, have beheld them.  But there they tower still, from earth toward heaven, monuments to those sleeping upon the hilltops just in sight.

Admirers of beauty everywhere, come to this picturesque glen in summer, winter, spring, or autumn.  Behold these colossal towers, these monumental columns which tarnish not with age; feel that sometime in the millenniums of the past there was present in this part of West Virginia a Master architect who perfected His work and stepped aside to smile approval upon the generations of human worshippers at this majestic shrine.  As you gaze, long and wonderingly, upon and toward the summit of these statues standing in unmistakable silence, you will hear a voice from somewhere speaking to your soul, and there will be no doubt as your footsteps trace homeward that “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork – Psalm 19:1.”

Charles was the son of Cecil (1871-1962), grandson of Elijah Stewart (1846-1931) and Joseph (1853-1928), and great-grandson of Job (1817-1895) of Isaac (1773- abt 1850) of John (abt 1750-aft 1820) of Thomas (abt 1730-abt 1789), the first Nelson in Pendleton County.

Melinda’s Story

Smiles, smiles, smiles. Everywhere you look people are smiling. Is this simply a random occurrence? Or are the men and women that comprise the staff at Nelson Rocks Outdoor Center really just that happy? The staff members here are truly unique. Fluttering to and fro like butterflies, in the constant search for worthwhile experiences and an honest day’s work.  Luckily for us, the two go hand in hand down at Nelson Rocks. This eclectic cast of characters comes to you from far and wide, from a diverse array of backgrounds and interests. All of these people share one major thing in common; one thing that unites the most contrasting personalities. This being a most undeniable force lurking deep within us all, oftentimes, the force goes unnoticed and unheard. That is until the moment, when you embrace your passion and allow it to be free. Working at Nelson Rocks did just this for many of us guides. It has allowed us the opportunity to showcase our enthusiasm and love of the rock. It is an art form if you allow it to be. Each one of us lusts for the beauty held within this forest, from the fins of quartzite, to the plants and critters, all play an integral role in comprising a beautiful and perfect little community. We long to share its charm with anyone who will listen. It is our hope that upon leaving NROC one will crave to have experiences like it again.

Go home and explore, take more walks through the woods. Go fish, go bike, or do anything outdoors. Embrace each and every moment you have reveling in the beauty of the natural world and remember to share it with family, friends and pets. It becomes an obsession and addiction. Once you have it, you’re hooked. You have to have more, and you will do anything to get it. This may even include packing your life into your car and moving to Pendleton County, West Virginia. That is how it happened for many of us who now call this place home. With so much beauty all in one area it would be impossible to see it all in a day: Seneca Rocks, Spruce Knob, Smoke Hole Canyon, Canaan Valley, Dolly Sods, to name a few. So take a long weekend, or heck, quit your job and inquire here instead! This is what brings the guides here. We don’t do it for fame, glory, or even the big bucks. We do it because it is our lifeblood. It is what makes our hearts tick, even on the darkest of days, in the coldest hours, the ever-present knowing of this beautiful force lurks within and calls us home to the woods, to the rock, to this place.

If Melinda’s story has inspired you and you decide that you want to experience being a part of this amazing staff, we encourage you to send your resume to We are currently hiring for seasonal positions and we are excited to have new individuals join our unique NROC team!

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