Free Falling

September 4, 2018

Written by: Katy Ward

       I am not typically afraid to try new things. There isn't much that scares me. I tell people all the time, "God will take me when and how He wants me, so I'm gonna keep living my life". That's the mentality I have whenever I am considering something with risk, or when someone questions a stupid decision I made. And I fully believe in that statement! I do not know when Christ will come down to take me home, so I try my best to live my everyday the best that I can, including trying as many new, exciting things that I can.

       These past 2 weeks I have been in training for my job at school. I love my job, absolutely love it. I get paid to be outside and hang out with people who are my family when I'm away from my family. In these 2 weeks, we have learned a lot of new things and recapped a lot of old information. This year, I was determined to go off the zipline for the first time. I pumped myself up, told everyone that I was going to do it. I was ready. Then I got to the top of the podium, everyone said "Go Katy!" and I froze. I couldn't do it. I just stood there, looking at the ground thinking "what the heck did you get yourself into?!". I knew for a fact that the zipline and the harness and the people at the bottom were all safe and that none of them would let me down, they would keep me secure. I also knew that I would love it after I did it, after I just jumped off. But I could not make myself jump. I trusted the entire system, I just didn't trust myself. So, I chickened out. Now, I was not embarrassed to back out, I felt no shame for it because I have told myself that I will never go through with something that makes me feel unsafe, insecure, or uncomfortable (in most situations). I walked down, took off my harness, and left the situation as if it hadn't even happened. Of course, I kicked myself a little bit for not just doing it, but I do not regret my decision...


Read the rest of Katy's story from staff orientation on her blog!

Summer in the 'Burg

July 23, 2018

Written by: Danielle Ledgerwood


Summer in Lynchburg has a certain flair to it.  

Once you get used to the Southern summer trifecta: insanely frequent thunderstorms, the sweltering combination of heat and humidity, and the relentless hordes of mosquitos, it’s actually quite nice. 

There’s a stillness in the summer. Time slows down, days feel longer (especially when there’s light until 9 p.m.) and thoughts of school drift from your consciousness. That is – unless you’re one of the lucky few still in town for intensives.

During the summer, the majority of the Liberty student population is mostly absent, meaning the restaurants and local attractions in town aren’t nearly as crowded with college aged kids.

The most frequent question I find myself asking: what is there to do?

When the weather cooperates and the air is not sweltering, there are a lot of things do outdoors that are both physically active and fun.

After a day of adventuring, you can always support the local minor league baseball team, the Lynchburg Hillcats, by going to one of their games at Lynchburg City Stadium. If you just want to unwind over good food, the patios at Bootleggers or El Jefe, or the rooftop at the newly reopened Virginian Hotel, are all perfect atmospheres for a quiet sunset dinner with good company.

               When the weather is inevitably unbearable and you just need a break from it, there are a few things that I found keep me entertained indoors:

  • If there’s one thing Lynchburg has in abundance, it’s coffee shops. Whether you stop by The White Hart or Dublin3 downtown, 5th Street Grind or the new Bedford Ave hotspot Golf Park, or just stick to a local staple like The Muse, Bean Tree, or Third Wave, you’ll never find yourself very far from your favorite caffeinated beverage.
  • Summer DIY projects. Build a desk, paint a canvas, or sand and stain your coffee table. Get your living space ready for the school year or just reorganize your closet.
  • Get yourself a Movie Pass. Trading off between the Regal Theater at the River Ridge Mall or the discount Venue Cinema, it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon and get out of the humidity for a while.
  • If all else fails, get in your car, blast the AC, put on some good music, and cruise down the Blue Ridge Parkway.

There’s lots to do in Lynchburg if you give it a chance. Get creative, get together with friends, and find something in this city to make your summer days fly by.

Small Steps of Stewardship

July 6, 2018

Written by: Asia Allen

Recently I have been researching popular hiking trips and camping locations, and one article in particular has resonated with me. The Path More Traveled by Wally Smith was featured in the Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, which I might add, has some great reading and information about life in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Smith talks about one of his favorite swimming holes and how in the recent years it has become so popular and even over-crowded on most hot, summer days.

"I think it is beneficial to adopt a sense of stewardship in our small adventures, as well as our daily lives."

The tone of his words struck me as one conflicted by emotions. He speaks about the recent boom in the outdoor industry and how that has significantly helped the economy of local small towns near popularly visited sites. Yet, he also communicates how many national forests and local natural attractions have been swarming with locals and tourists.  It is not hard to look around and see the negative impact on the natural environment – a plastic water bottle laying alongside a trail along with its companion or a food wrapper a few feet away. 

While I am a strong supporter for being outside experiencing the beauty and simplicity of nature, I also share the hesitant feeling of wondering what impact these large groups will have on that same beautiful landscape. As we start to experience our natural surroundings, I think it is beneficial to adopt a sense of stewardship in our small adventures, as well as our daily lives.

There are a few ways that one can practice small steps of stewardship:

John Muir once said “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

I think it is equally important to enjoy the outdoors, as well as let others enjoy it after you. Consider how your actions affect not only the hiker behind you, but also the generations to come.


Summer Hiking

June 21, 2018

Written by: Linda Galvez

Summer is by far one of my most favorite times of the year and there is nothing quite like a Virginian summer-time hike. There are several hiking trails within an hour of Lynchburg including Cole Mountain, Humpback Rock, Spy Rock and many others, we really are located in a great section of the Blue Ridge Mountains! This summer the Outdoor Rec department did not waste any time in scouting and planning new trips to these areas. One trip that stood out to me was a day-trip to the Moorman’s River.

The trip started off great, Lynchburg had just gone through several days of non-stop rain and we were excited to get outside. We started our hike from the second parking lot just beyond the Sugar Hollow Reservoir where the yellow-blazed trail begins. We came to the first crossing and it was completely flooded with what looked like class 3 rapids! We took a few minutes to assess the situation and after deciding we did not have the proper gear or experience to cross, we turned around and headed back to the parking lot.

We didn’t want to waste a beautiful day so we researched other hiking options that were nearby and wouldn’t take too long to complete. We headed 20 minutes west to Humpback Rocks near Afton Mountain. We chose the 1 mile loop as we were pressed for time and it sounded easy, but quickly learned it was a difficult 800ft ascent to the top! There were several park benches scattered at the beginning if you need to rest, but those seem to disappear once you begin the final half-mile ascent.  The trail was rocky at times, but there were wooden and rock steps for the more difficult parts. As it had been raining, the path was slippery and muddy so be sure to watch your footing if you head out after recent rainfall. Once at the top, we had great views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west and the Shenandoah National Park to the north. 



From the top, the view is truly breath-taking. I found myself a little nervous, but with the help of our staff, I felt a lot more secure to take the memorable picture. 

Here are just a few reminders for you while kicking new trails off your summer check-list:

  • Be sure to take a few friends that have hiking experience even if it’s a new hike to the whole group. This was my first hike to Humpback rocks and I felt encouraged by going with experienced hikers as company and they were able to lend a hand if something happened.
  • Pack a lunch, extra snacks and plenty of water!  You never know if that short day-hike may turn into something more extended or rigorous.
  • Disconnect from your phones for a few hours to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.  It can be all too easy to “miss the moment” if you have music playing or are taking breaks to update your status.
  • If you are ever in a situation where you begin to doubt or hesitate your abilities, it is probably best and safer to just turn around and find another hike. Virginia has so many options, so be ready with a backup trip in case of bad weather or if you encounter problems. If all else fails, take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop at a pull-off for lunch!


Summer Reading

June 8, 2018

Written by: Mike Ellsworth

Life as a student can be tough and reading through textbooks, discussion posts and countless lecture slides all year long can become draining.  It sucks the joy right from reading.  Which is sad, right?!  But, summer is the time to break that idea and read a book…for fun!  Usually this is the season for “pleasure reading”.  But, that can hard to initiate.

Well, how about we help you out.  Are you looking for something with a flair of adventure and outdoor-minded to read this summer?  I love going through long extensive reading lists and picking out a great selection to dig through in those few short months.  But, scrolling through those long lists can be intimidating and we want you to be successful.  So, here are just a few books to choose from.  Hopefully, there are some titles that you’ve never heard of and that sound interesting or exciting.  So, pick one.  Just one to tackle this summer.  Let us know how it goes!


Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Alright, so this one you have probably heard about.  But, this is one of my favorite books of all time.  It is the tale of a young wanderer who takes to the sea in pursuit of adventure.  The majority of the story, as we all may know, focuses on the struggle of Robinson Crusoe after being shipwrecked on an isolated island.  Crusoe labors to grow crops, find food, build shelter and protect himself from constant dangers of the island.  Though, cut off from humanity, Crusoe finds God and is comforted in his faith in a way that can encourage any modern Christian.  He finds a peace, despite his depressing situation, which surpasses all understanding.  Away from the comforts of his time, he finds comfort in God and is driven to a spirit of thankfulness and appreciation for Divine Grace.  It is a great story that ultimately points to the nature of Providence in the Christian heart.



Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine by Jason C. Anthony

This book is one of the most interesting books on food you will find out there.  Jason Anthony takes a historical look at Antarctic cuisine.  He discusses classic Antarctic adventurers and how they relied on the lousy, rotten rations and various unlikely animals for nourishment.  Be warned, that it is not for the weak stomach, as he discusses that survival often depended on the slaughter of penguin, seal, sled dog, or even pony.  He tracks these historical tales to his modern experiences at Antarctic science stations.  He spent over 8 seasons in Antarctica and shares his stories of food, company and how it all comes together at one of Earth’s final frontiers, the South Pole.


A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans

Are you looking for a nice, feel good story of dog and man?  Well, look no further than Nick Jans’s true story of an Alaskan wolf, who returned again and again to the city of Juneau.  Living on the outskirts of what appeared to be “Romeo the wolf’s” territory, Nick enjoyed a unique relationship with this animal.  His story is one that invokes respect for nature and what is left of the wild of the world.  Nick discusses history and biology of the Alaskan Wolf and how it has led to the modern struggle between wolf and man.  He also discusses the political climate of Alaska and how America’s great frontier is always in a struggle between conservation and inadvertent neglect.  Though he discusses all these in depth, the main tale is of a special bond between wild animal and an understanding individual.  It is a remarkable tale for any animal lover.




Shackleton’s Way by Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell

This leadership handbook is a must-read for those interested in leading or managing people.  Morrell and Capparell, two veterans of business and leadership, took the classic tale of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance expedition and used it to create a modern summary of management “How-to’s”.  They include historical application of Shackleton’s life and habits to create lasting principals.  If the heroic adventurer were to write a book today on how to lead, I believe it would look very similar to this one.  This unique blend of biography, history and experience tested advice is a great one to prepare to lead other men and women in any capacity.



Grand Adventures by Alastair Humphreys

I’ll be honest, this book is on my summer reading list.  I haven’t read it yet, but it comes highly recommended.  Alastair Humpreys is a professional adventurer.  He has cycled, rowed, walked, climbed all over the world and was the 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and patented the term “Microadventures” in his 2015 book.  Grand Adventures takes the time to discuss all the things that keep us from the adventures we hope to have.  It can be difficult to overcome planning hurdles, time or money before embarking on grand adventures.   Humphreys shares stories of people who have had once in a lifetime experiences and discusses how each of us can overcome the commitments or hurdles that keep us from exploring the world around us.  I hope to use this book to bring enthusiasm and curiosity to my trips and take me somewhere new.  Maybe this book will help you take that mind-blowing summer road trip that you have always planned.


There’s 5 books for you to choose from.  Pick the one that interests you the most, get yourself a copy, hang that hammock up at your favorite campsite and do some summer reading!