Apple picking trip packs adventure

Slick roads and an immobilized bus could not keep Student Activities from enjoying Carter Mountain Orchard

A recent trip of more than a dozen students to Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, Va. nearly reached an abrupt end when a bus came close to overturning.

Students aboard the bus for the Student Activities Apple Picking Trip experienced an unexpected turn of events when the 50-seat passenger bus became stuck in the mud and nearly fell down the side of Carter Mountain. The incident caused a backup of traffic all the way down the road.

Liberty student Sean McDade and his group of friends decided to follow the bus up the mountain when they saw the narrow road. McDade said he was fortunate to have made that decision when he saw the bus tilted on the side of the road.

stuck — Students waited more than two hours for assistance while traffic halted. Photo credit: Tobi Walsh

Stuck — Students waited more than two hours for assistance while traffic halted. Photo credit: Tobi Walsh

“There was no way that bus was going to make it up that road,” McDade said.

Student Activities said that although approximately 12 students attended the event, the large bus was chosen in preparation for the many students who registered for the event but did not arrive for the trip.

Student Eric Keyrouze said that as soon as he saw the bus turn, he knew they were never making it up the mountain.

“When I watched the tires spin out in the mud, I knew we were going to have to walk,” Keyrouze said.

Keyrouze, who had hiked Sharp Top that morning, said that he was a little sore already. According to Keyrouze, it was a little annoying to make the trek by foot in the rain.

As Keyrouze walked, he said he stopped and told curious bystanders stuck in traffic what was going on with the bus.

“Yeah, our bus was stuck,” Keyrouze said. “They’re pulling out now.”

Keyrouze said car passengers encouraged him as he walked.

“You better get some apples out of this,” a man in a van told Keyrouze.

When Keyrouze finally made it up the mountain, he said he rejoined McDade, Laukaitis and Elizabeth DeMeo.

Though the rain scared off most of the participants, it did not keep McDade and his group of friends from picking apples.

McDade’s friend Josh Laukaitis said he never planned on going apple picking in the first place but decided to tag along when his other plans were canceled due to the rain.

“My favorite part of apple picking has to be the people you go with,” Laukaitis said. “They always make it more enjoyable.”

DeMeo said the rain added to the adventure.

“It made apple picking a little more challenging,” DeMeo said. “It was definitely a memorable experience because of it. I mean, the people on the bus won’t forget it either.”

The group hiked through the rows of trees as they picked Granny Smith and Winesap apples while observing the view of Charlottesville below.

“I just wanted to have an adventure,” Keyrouze said. “I was getting apples out of the trip no matter what.”

According to Keyrouze, after sliding around in the mud, the group emerged with a handful of apples.

Keyrouze, who is originally from upstate New York, said that even though they were not like the apples from back home, he was still glad to have walked away with a little reminder of home.

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