Recently I traded the monotony of everyday life and school for a week and a half of peace and relaxation, away from most of civilization. We started out in the Uwharrie National Forest, where we put the newly modified and up-armored jeep through its paces, on 4x4 trails ranging from beginner to extremely difficult. While it experienced a few off-camber situations, the Jeep passed every test with flying colors. After 4 days of off-roading, it was high time we took a break (and a hot shower, lol). We did both as we stopped in to visit family near Boone, NC for the night.
The next morning we descended back down into the foothills of NC to make the start of the annual PWYP gathering, hosted at Chestnut mountain proving grounds. Each year, like minded people gather for 5 days of primitive camping, trading, learning, zombie slaying, and this year, even the joining of a couple in holy matrimony. The event is hosted each year in April, by Mr. Terril Hoffman, a professional knife photographer. This is my second year of attendance, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it each year. At the outset of the event, it is somewhat of a frenzied scene with the myriad of campsites being erected by all the participants. If anyone needs a hand, you never have to look far at this place. Anyone and everyone pitches in to make sure all the individual camps are setup and ready to go for the week. Interestingly, I observed ~¾ of the total camps using some form of hammock in their setup this year. While the hammock camping movement has always been strong with PWYP attendees, this is a notable uptrend when compared to last year.
With all camps set, PWYP can now begin. The options on things to do are wide open, with a variety of both organized and impromptu activities/events going on constantly. Go for a hike, attend a class/seminar, or just sit around and talk to buddies you may only see once a year. Each year a variety of classes are held by people attending, ranging from knot tying, to edible plants, to off-road vehicle recovery. There is also a “trade blanket” each year, in which everyone brings out things to sell and barter for. Think of it as a kind of outdoor enthusiast yard sale. And last but certainly not least, is the now annual zombie shoot, in which you compete head to head with other shooters for the quickest time and the most headshots while trying to avoid being eaten by the bloodthirsty Chestnut mountain zombies (YES I’m excited about this one…).
With all of the things going on at PWYP, I look forward to it more and more each year, and so should you. That said, be sure to check out the PWYP section of knifeforums a few months before April for the dates next year, so you can make arrangements ahead of time and attend PWYP 2013. See you there!!!