Category Archives: Staff Stories

Guides in Greece

Brendon and Kelly are two of our guides at NROC and also work as guides on Seneca for Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides. Currently, they are spending a month in Greece doing some rock climbing guiding. The beautiful photo above is one they took of the area in Greece where they are staying. We can’t wait to have them back so we can hear all of their great stories and see more amazing photos of their adventure!

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!

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!

Gatan’s Story 2

With the end of Daylight Saving Time, Gatan reflects on the end of the warm weather season and looks ahead to the wintery days at Nelson Rocks.

As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, our season slowly winds down. This time a year is often bittersweet for us.  As we look back on the year and the work that was done we also look ahead to the next great adventure. Many of our fellow guides journey elsewhere for the winter season, and we thank them for all of their talents and dedicated work.

We say good-bye for now. We hug and thank one another for a wonderful past season. We depart and wish one another well and to have a safe journey, perhaps we’ll see each other again next year; perhaps not. Life’s adventure will take some to warmer climates on an endless summer in pursuit of rocks, others will find colder climates and embrace the deep powder snows, some will return to school and academia.  Wherever they go or whatever they do, we thank them.

Our guides are an amazing bunch, full of life and passion, always supporting and encouraging one another to continue on with their chosen dreams. The dreams always differ but the common thread is adventure and a remarkable ability to embrace life.

Our guides and fellow co-workers do for one another what they do for our guests. They support, encourage, keep safe, and congratulate one another on a job well done. Truly remarkable in many ways, it is always a pleasure to work with such an inspiring team.

We will keep everyone updated as to the whereabouts of one another via Facebook and our blog throughout the winter. Feel free to drop us a line or stop in. A small handful of us will stick out the winter here in the North Fork Valley and we will continue to offer Via Ferrata climbs and North Fork Valley Canopy tours, weather dependant of course. So, dress warm and come on out for a visit.

Thanks to everyone for a great season.

Margie’s Story

On Sunday, Oct. 9, my family and I ventured to NROC to enjoy the Via Ferrata. The trip began at 8 a.m. The start of the day was beautiful –a crisp fall morning, with mountains and trees poking through a fog that settled along the banks of the North Fork River. Soon the sun was breaking through the fog, illuminating that magical palate of vivid fall colors.

The climb was spectacular, challenging and rewarding. The intensity of focus that the climb demands, the varying terrain and the breathtaking scenery would make the trip one for the memory books. But meeting and hearing the story of a fellow Via climber was even more inspirational than the perfect weather and peak fall scenery.

The climber, an art teacher from the Winchester area, decided to climb the optional vertical headwall. Once she reached the top, she shared that she was climbing with a prosthetic leg. Turns out she had a bout with bone cancer at the age of 12, and surgeons removed part of her leg and replaced it with an internal prosthetic. A large scar running down her lower leg gave evidence of her cancer experience. But she also shared that she had also broken her neck (same vertebrae that left Christopher Reeves a quadriplegic) during a nasty car accident later in her young life. Suddenly the awe I felt as I scanned the incredible landscape that stretched before us as we sat atop that impressive rock fin paled in comparison to the awe I felt for this courageous young woman who, despite setbacks in her life, embraced adventure, physical challenges and the lure of the outdoors to tackle a trip that so many people simply could not or would not do. Like the Via Ferrata, she was truly inspiring.

Gatan’s Story

This past weekend, NROC saw quite a bit of snow! One of our site managers, Gatan, wrote about his thoughts during this unexpectedly snowy day in late October:

Photo by Jason Cain

Mother Nature, in all it’s winter wonder, is upon us today.  Perhaps a tad bit early for some of us creatures that call this place home, perhaps right on time for others.  Nature and weather are forever unpredictable.  The laws of nature and weather revolve around the sun.  It is our relationship to the sun that is the only constant truth, and yet the sun itself is volatile and unpredictable.  So, perhaps there is no constant.  Perhaps we’re just along for the ride, adapting to the ever- constant changes of time and season, temperature and moisture.

What an awesome thing to behold, awesome not to shy away from, but to change with and accept.  Like the trees that shed their leaves to accept the heavy snow, we too change our outward appearance. We grow with each passing season.  Bearing the weights, swinging and swaying in the wind.  We bend, we adapt and we grow.

The creatures of the North Fork South Branch are doing just that today.  Waking up to a severe change in weather saying , “ Wow, check this out. Guess I’ll change my clothes and get on out there.”  So, lets go check out the Canopy Tour and see what the trees are doing to adapt.  Let’s  change, let’s bend and let’s grow. 

Tammy’s Story

Tammy Rose, of the DC/VA/MD Adventures Group, wants to share her experience with NROC. This is what she had to say:

We at the DC/VA/MD Adventures Group have been coming to Nelson Rocks for over 7 years. We have experienced climbing, zip lining, and have taken on the swinging bridge. We must say it never gets old and the views are more amazing each year. How do you choose between spring, summer or fall views?  YOU DON’T, you do them all!!!

One thing united both seasoned climbers and first-timers: the amazing experience and thrill. Whether you are young, old, in-shape, out-of-shape, or have a fear of heights it doesn’t matter because this is something for everyone.

We normally make it a weekend event, camping or bunking in nature under the stars, grilling and chatting with friends while zip lining, hiking and climbing. We have all talked over and over about the thrill of walking the planks of the swinging bridge and what an amazing, heart pounding experience it was.  As for climbing the Via Ferrata, it’s truly a unique setup that anyone can do.  As we follow each other up the face of the rock wall, stopping for amazing pictures and chatting it up with friends, we say, “I can’t believe I’m standing on the side of a cliff doing something so cool!!!” Also, I can’t forget to mention zip lining through the jungle like monkeys, screaming to let out that stress….Woo Hoo!!

We thank Nelson Rocks for letting us have an unforgettable experience and for all the years ahead. We’ll be back bringing old and new souls to experience a little piece of heaven and get a great workout in the process.

Via Ferrata — You Gotta Do It!

-Tammy Rose (Adventure Girl)

If you are interested in booking a group trip to the Via Ferrata, click here!

Aaron’s Story

We recently encouraged everyone to share stories about their experiences at NROC. One of our staff members, Aaron, wanted to express how the changing season affects his personal experience. His story is one of many that we will tell, and we urge you to contribute your stories, as well.

Here is what Aaron wants to share:

As it nears the end of the season, it’s easy to look around and see how things have come full circle here at NROC.  As the days go by the trees look more and more like they did when I first arrived here in February, gradually losing their leaves.  It brings back the feelings I had back in the winter, when everything was new and fresh and all the guides were in preparation for the upcoming season. 

Since then we’ve seen the leaves come and are now going, still giving us an absolute spectacular and constantly changing color show ever day.  Along with the leaves we’ve seen countless people; both guides and customers come and go, as is part of the life we have here, and every day we see more and more people coming out to experience the rocks and the canopy tour. 

It’ll be amazing to see what the next few weeks will bring, the colder temps will stay for good, and the leaves will soon be completely off the trees, the rest of us guides that have stuck around for the fall season will go off to our winter jobs at the various mountains both in the Canaan Valley area, as well as out west to various places.  Only a few will stay the winter here in the North Fork Valley, but as usual, this place will never disappoint anyone with all of its natural beauty.

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