Today, we can happily report that — following the trials and tribulations of last month’s bullseye hurricane confrontation on our Wilmington, N.C. campus — we here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) are back in action. In fact, just a week after our return from evacuating, everything was cleaned up and looking like Hurricane Florence had never visited our 17-acre outdoor education campus.
But no matter how experienced you might be at preparing for, evacuating from, and recovering after a natural disaster, you can never fully anticipate what Mother Nature might toss your way as part of her standard repertoire of weather. And while today, with on-campus and field courses back in action, it certainly didn’t look that way on the morning of Friday, Sept. 28, when a thunderstorm completely unrelated to Hurricane Florence rumbled over our property.
That’s when a massive bolt of lightning hit the window of our director of operations’ office, sending a bolt of energy through her keyboard to her fingertips while she was working. A second bolt of lightning hit a tree adjacent to our gear shed, traveled down the tree, through its roots, blowing a hole through our property’s water line and sewer line, and cooking the conduit that houses our property’s power line.
The central panel for our