As The Wheel Turns: From Summer to a New Autumn at MPMS

Welcome to The Pathway, the semi-occasional "newsletter" that keeps everyone updated on the latest happenings at Mountain Pathways Montessori School. I'm Glenn, and I'll be your host and editor of stories from our classrooms. We won't try and 'blog' you down with too many details, but we do like to use The Pathway to guide parents toward a consistent approach to raising independent children, so we might get preachy now and then while we're telling our stories. The faculty of Mountain Pathways is committed to Montessori as the best way of educating and socializing children, and we hope you will soon understand why. With that said, let me also remind you that our school is entering it's second quarter century with some overwhelming financial burdens, and any tax-deductible donations you would like to make to our 501(c)3 non-profit are not just appreciated, they are essential.
On to business!...

Babies Everywhere!

Now, we are used to little people becoming a part of our community this time of year, but we've reached a new level this year. Sara, our 3-6 teacher since 1999, and her husband Christian welcomed their first -- and second -- new family members last week. Miles and Luke appeared a little earlier than planned, but they are gaining weight and have made their way home with everyone healthy and happy. Ellen, Katie and Annie are holding down the fort in the 3-6, and things are going along swimmingly in there as well.
Miles and Luke Drum... Welcome to the Community!

As if that much baby news wasn't enough, I found myself rushing over to cover the 9-12 class Thursday morning. Mr. Michael, who is teaching in there while regular teacher Kristy is out -- to have her, and 6-9 teacher Justin's, first baby -- because Michael had to go be with his wife... She was having a baby.
As the kids say: "I know, right?"
So, we are still waiting for our first Norwood House offspring, but in the meantime, let me tell you a story...

Summer Sessions End With A Great Adventure

If we wanted to wrap-up Mr. Matt's last summer with a story, there's no doubt that we succeeded. Let me tell it, as it was pretty much my fault...
The night before the last day of summer sessions, Mr. Matt convinced me to blow off my last day of planning and office paper pushing, and celebrate his sendoff with new toddler assistant Kaitlyn on the last field trip in the MP Bus. We loaded up everyone, except for the one we had to pick up from his mother alongside 105 because they were late (again). The bus trundled on toward Avery County, chugging up the mighty hill in view of Grandfather, and came to a stop at the Grandchildren's Mtn. Playground in front of the hospital in Linville. This place always makes it on to my agenda, because (as president of the Avery Co. Rotary Club in a the early 2000s) I had been up to my neck in debt and mud to get it built. And now it is awesome! Let's go to the images:

Camden heads up the spider web, he's not sure if he can make it...

He made it! All by himself...he didn't fall until later...

Jack at the bottom of the tube slide.

Olivia, Siah and Emma on the bouncy bridge.

Olivia and Dury head from the pirate ship into the maze of bridges.


Check out that view!... NO, I mean in the background!

Carrie... do we go up the slide or down the slide?

Siah and the Smith girls on the giant tire swing, and nobody threw up!
So, it was time to go if we were going to make it to Linville Caverns in time to see anything before we would have to head back home. We did, after all, have to be back at school before 2:30 for pick up. But then they got a few more minutes. And then we needed to have lunch. And then we had to play just a little more. And then we finally got back on the bus and it was after noon.
By the time we got to Linville Falls, it was pushing one. Matt and I executively decided to just head out the dirt road to check out the Linville Gorge from Wiseman's View, and save the Caverns for another summer. Now, I knew this road was notorious for erosion, and I knew that it had rained a bit over the last few months, but we ventured forth fearlessly.
If you have been on the road to Wiseman's View, you know it is only a few miles, and you probably also know it always takes longer than you want it to. With the end almost in sight, we came around a curve and stopped cold. There had been potholes, but this... this was a ravine... in the middle of the road, on the downslope. We really weren't in a spot where we could even back up and call it a loss, so I got out, found a decent path and we bounced over and down the hill. There were a couple of other small canyons after the final turnoff to the View, but we finally made it. And it was beautiful...

Staying on the pathway...

Group shot atop the Gorge


A bit of playtime (far from the edges) before we have to go

Branches with leaves on them make some fine playthings when that's all you've got.

Hawksbill in the distance as we get ready to go back to the bus and go home.
We left, with just enough time to get back to school for dismissal. I promise. However, that was not to be.
We got over the pits with some jounces and bounces and got back on the "primary" road, but it wasn't long until we got back to The Ravine. Unfortunately, we were now looking up from below it, and gravity was no longer our friend. We approached it slowly, too slowly it turns out. We started to spin a bit, the bus only gets traction in it's left wheel (if you've seen 'My Cousin Vinny' you know what was happening with our 1989 Ford traction). We rolled back a little to try and find a better start line, and then we spun, then we tried another spot a little farther back, and we spun, and eventually we were backed up to the bank and were still spinning. And spinning. And spinning. We were stuck.
Matt, Kaitlyn and I all checked our cell phones. Turns out, the cell towers are few and far between in southern Avery County. No one had a signal. Me and my aching back trudged up the road with my phone held high. Past the ravine and a half mile up the hill, I finally got a signal. I called the school and the teachers were there to help. They called the Forest Service, got the number for the information cabin, and finally called the tow truck. It was 1:30 when we got stuck. It was almost 4:30 when Bud's Towing of Newland got to us. He hooked up the chain, but we both realized that just getting us out of the hole wasn't going to be enough. We loaded the bus and buckled up, and Bud pulled us all the way over The Ravine and to the tip top of the hill...

I've never done this before... me neither... (That's a tow truck in the windshield, while Mr. Matt steers)
We made it the rest of the way on the dirt road with the wrecker still in front of us, just in case. We got back on 221 and stopped at the first convenience store for water and some crackers for our troopers. We got back to school at 5:20.

So, hopefully this won't scare you new folks off, but it's just a taste of life at Mountain Pathways. Don't be afraid of the adventure, shoot, we can't even go anywhere in the bus anyway because Mr. Matt was our CDL driver. That's why we want to sell it and get one we can all drive. So, somebody come talk to me about buying it for us, and in the meantime, we'll be collecting stories for the next installment of The Pathway.

--Papa Glenn out...