Sunday, October 31, 2010



Had our last morning at Summit Adventure, it was sad to leave. Thankfully we were able to get a few laughs in as Katy walked out in her nathingsuit over her leggings and leg warmers over that being an 80’s girl. All I could say is, OH Doolan… Summit Adventures was a pretty cool place, not that we saw much of the programming, but the facility was very nice. It felt as close to home as you can get on ECOEE. We got basically two whole days of comfy couches, am awesome wood burning stove as a fire place, a library, an amazing kitchen, bathroom with showers, and the ability to sit around and watch a movie with a MASSIVE bowl of popcorn. Granted we still did get some homework done…even that was relaxing.
Once all rested we left for LACOSS! The LA county Science School in Malibu. How freaking awesome. Come tomorrow we will be cabin leaders for a week hanging out with kids, studying all sorts of fun Environmental Science stuff and overall, just having a blast while learning a TON!
Thank goodness for these last two reboot days! I mean I have an idea of what we are getting ourselves into and let me tell you, you’re going to be greatful too.
Now, I end with saying, have fun this week. Put aside your stress, anxiety and funky moods and take this week for all it has to offer! It is going to be great! Tied pools, streams, mountains, kids and more! MUCH more.
You ready?! Because you better be!
Lets rock this week!

Peace and Love,
Kate Nelson

Saturday, October 30, 2010



Oh how I love free days!!! They are days to relax and get stuff done all at the same time; which is what I like to do best. Denver, Ryan and Evan went to Oakhurst, Jeff met up with friends, and the rest of us stayed back at Summit Adventure and worked on homework for a majority of the day. By the end of the day work got done, fooseball was played, laughs were had, jackets were purchase, and movies were watched. Everyone needs a bit of free time every once in a while and I feel that we made the best of it.

Ashley VanSpeybroeck

Friday, October 29, 2010


Once again I am more than impressed with our visit to an adventure agency. Summit had a great atmosphere a real cool campus and a great manager. Tom was a very energetic, humorous and overall nice guy. I find myself very taken in by the adventure Rec agencies and am pretty close to 100 percent that that is what I want to do. Since I never had a clue what it is that I want to do with my life this is good. My grades are not looking good for the future, this has gotten me down for some time now. Not to mention that the last time we had heard we were far from certifiable. The two things I was most concerned with coming into this I have royally screwed up. For the past couple two or three weeks this had put me down so much, a long with the daily frustrations, it has come close to ruining the this trip. Its been tough but I am coming around to seeing that all I can do now is try my best to get those two components up to par. What I am finding is that no matter how bad I want the cert or how desperately I want good grades it is not worth letting it ruin this trip. The trip that all of us worked so hard on, and were so excited for and so sure of, is not worth ruining because of those things. I am going to focus on the people here, the things were are seeing the people we are meeting, the kids we will be with and the many, many laughs we have had and will have. I said that “because of ECOEE I….” have found how hard you have to work and devoted you have to be to make a relationship work and how confident I already feel in holding relationships in the future and that is worth more than any grade or cert. Thank you FOLKS(haha), thank you Jeff and thank you Kim. I have gotten more than expected and anything else is a bonus. Live, try to love and for god sakes have some f’n fun.

Pat Croke

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010



Yo John Murr, I get you. Yosemite is beautiful valley trees and cliffs ‘oh my.’ Speaking of trees, we went on a tree walk today. Sugar pine cones are like the size of my arm! But that was all I really took home with me because I found myself preoccupied with watching climbers on the wall. I’ve never been one for climbing, but now I’m stoked to get a membership at Vertical Endeavors, and take a lead climbing course with Pat over winter break. Seriously, how cool would it be to climb Yosemite? Well, I hate to write such a short journal, but with the lesson monster approaching I need to run and prepare. Wish us all luck.


Sunday, October 24, 2010


As we pull into the Yosemite Region, the rain continues to fall for the third day in a row. Within a few days we each have seemed to experience the peaks and valleys of our own emotional roller coasters. In a world of constant activity and movement, a few rainy days confined to the van remind us of those long lost days called weekends. Speaking of weekends however, would you believe me if I told you we spent ours climbing mountains, hitting casinos, and standing front row at concerts?
The hump is over for ECOEE. With California comes our final list of destinations for the semester, and then we’re on our way back to Macomb. This once in a lifetime expedition is going to be over before we know it, and whether we leave with tears in our eyes or a chip on our shoulder is up to us. We all had our own reasons for coming on this trip, whether you were there from day one or joined with only a few weeks to prepare. If you have lost sight of those reasons for being on this trip, I sincerely hope you find yourself back to the path that brought you here. This trip is something that I at least plan on sharing with others for the rest of my life. I have no intentions of letting myself get stuck in these valleys, but rather rest on top of our peaks. Remember why you are here, and everything that has changed you since that morning sunrise on Highway 136 leaving Macomb. Remember the seven elements of love, and if you want a personal challenge try implementing them when it is hardest for you to do so. If you really can’t stand ECOEE anymore, suck it up and don’t bring anybody else down with you.
Just because the hump over does not mean that there are no more peaks to be conquered. Sure, the schoolwork is tough. But in no time we will be climbing in Joshua Tree, we’ll be sea kayaking in Baja, and we’ll be ending things with a bang. There is not much to be said about us that hasn’t already been brought up. Rather than picking each other apart, we should channel our energy into those aspects of love for one another. No matter how we feel right now, we all know that once we’re back in control of our lives, we are going to miss this chaos. Bangarang is not just our word, but a way of life. These past few days have been gloomy, but the sun is still shining, the birds are still singing, and it’s still a great day to be alive. Cheers


Saturday, October 23, 2010



I am so ecstatic! We are back to the Van, gas station stops and long travel hours… HA. But in all honesty excitement is the word to describe my feelings, California LOVIN’. This state has always been on my bucket list to explore and discover, before it falls into the ocean of course. We are spending many a hours on this Western shoreline and what better way to start with CHRIS’ BIRTHDAY! HAPPY B-DAY TO YOU! We had a buffet style dinner in an Indian Casino, on a reservation. The town was “Chicho”, doesn’t that sound exciting?! Kim, Ashley, Kate and I even went to an old theatre to see Petty Theft (an amazing cover band to the all powerful Tom Petty). We were pointed out for our young age in the crowd by the skinny, top hat wearing lead singer  how could the rest of Cali top this? Well tomorrow we will be in Yosemite. If that doesn’t do it I’m coming back to Chicho.
Farewell for now, the raindrops are making me sleepy.

Friday, October 22, 2010


As I awoke all warm and cozy in Me and Sal’s natural shelter, we remember we had to follow LNT protocols and tear it down. So in the dark we had to tear apart our masterpiece, so we didn’t feel we had to do it quietly. So everyone’s alarm clock became the snap and thuds from the destruction of our home. We started our day on time which is surprising because our instructors are not here this morning. Fields peak our destination is only a distant peak jutting out of the horizon. Some of us, the night before did not think we were going to make it all the way and still be sane, but were all crazy enough to at least give it our best. In three hour and fifteen minutes we made it to the peak, quicker than any of us thought it would take, so we thought we should celebrate with a barely warm drink. As we descend we see our long lost companions Kim and Jeff. Kim is running towards us with a camera like a mom at graduation and we all snap back to E.C.O.E.E life as we knew it before Oregon trails. But with a few more bits of knowledge and a stronger bond between us all.

“The earth and myself our of one mind. The measure of the land and the measure of our bodies are the same.”
-Nez Perce Chief Joseph


Thursday, October 21, 2010


I’m baaaaack…..
Captains log – Earthdate, October 21st, 2010 AD. Blue Mountain Range.
It is cold. I stuff the clothes I am wearing tomorrow in to the foot of my sleeping bag before crawling in to my liner. While sewing some repairs in to my hat, I prick my cold index finger with the needle (twice). The sting, along with the tightness of my back and the blisters on my feet, remind me of how human I really am. Under a full, silver moon, I write this journal with barbershop songs streaming through my head. They slowly lull me to dreamland as I think about the day and what lies ahead. Today we learned how to make a natural shelter in this sort of habitat before taking a nice hike to Packsaddle Gap. This is something I have always wanted to do – as I tried and failed once long ago when I was a wee young laddie. Even though getting water to our campsite was nearly an hour round trip down and up a wicked drainage – it was a fine test of navigation skills. The group was in high spirits tonight as a potluck made for a fest of pastas and brownies. Not long after awarding “The Skirt” once again to ‘Kee-Nay-Nay’ (Keenan Sturm), it was back to business after the REA instructors informed us that they were leaving – leaving ECOEE 2010 to hike approximately 6.2 miles solo tomorrow. God be with us….
Denver Murphy

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


“To Sugar Creek”
What a long day! I feel incomplete if I go too long without pushing the limits of my body. It’s weird how I feel some sense of accomplishment after beating myself up all day, but it is perfectly normal to feel accomplished after an eight hour day of navigating through the backcountry and summiting peaks. I can’t stop thinking about how awesome it is to be footloose and hopping around the country for a semester of eighteen credit-hours. I always remind myself of how lucky I am (we are) to have this opportunity when I get overwhelmed with work or find myself missing the many great people in my life. Our time with the Rare Earth Adventures Team has been nothing short of amazing. I hope that I will remember everything they have taught me so I can further develop myself as a professional and drop some technical knowledge of the outdoors on my buddies that are into this kind of stuff. Backcountry navigation is by far the most challenging of the skills I have started to learn, and especially in this gnarly terrain. We have been working hard together to refine our skills and learn new methods along the way. Learning technical skills from experience is key, and that is exactly what we are doing. Until next time, excuse me while I go curl up under my ranger diamond tarp setup. Goodnight.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Malheur Nat’l Forest w/ Rare Earth Adventures
These are the days that (we all) I have been waiting for – putting technical skills to the test as we backpack through the Blue Mountains. Our official day started at 8am – just after everyone had heir hot (or cold…) breakfast and packed up their individual shelters (yes, everyone slept under a simple one-person, five dollar tarp from Wal-Mart. And, if you must know, it’s been the best sleep I’ve gotten in the Backcountry.) We began the day by discussing maps, compasses, time control plans (which are a general description of the routes and times for the day), and group roles (such as scout, logger, smoother, and of course – sweeper.) There was also some trail techniques covered to aid in trekking up and down an incline, such as a rest-step and zig-zagging to conserve energy and save the knees. We also briefly discussed how to use a GPS. After miles and miles (or kilometers, rather) of hiking, I realized hat indeed, I haven’t gone for a run since August. Oregon is absolutely gorgeous, Mindy and Andy are fricken awesome, and I can now identify St. Johns Wart. More to come – probably mostly good things. Shoutout to my fam and homies!
“Your mission is always bigger than your current role.”
Denver Murphy

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010


“Life Experiences Shaping Me as We Speak”
(My seven word response for Denver’s debrief question of how we felt)

All I can think about is how awesome everybody will think I am once I tell them about this. When we first got here, I introduced myself as a kid on Christmas morning. I couldn’t be any happier right now. So far, I’ve done a great amount of complaining on our schoolwork. This break from our academic responsibilities is a real treat for me. I’ve always found survival training like this fascinating. I bought my little SAS book to flip through while in the van, asking Keenan and Pat if they want to set up a snare trap once we get into camp. I can’t believe this right now- we’re about to head into the mountains of Oregon with a bunch of military survival instructors. I have always said that I would love to take a survival course if I had the time and the money. I just pray now that I retain even half of the knowledge I gain within these next few days.
Like I said in debrief last night, we’re doing a great job of finally implementing everything we’ve been talking about for the past two months. We’ve just got to make sure we run with this experience as a group. The next few days I’m sure will hold a skill set and methods of teaching it that are plenty different from what we’re used to. I couldn’t be happier to see how great of a time everybody is having here. Talking to some of you guys and getting the same vibe as me that this is our niche is a great feeling to have. I have been having so much fun that it hasn’t crossed my mind to be anything but happy. I’m not homesick, I’m not bummed about missing Becky, and I’m not the least bit stressed. If I said that I weren’t becoming increasingly interested in joining the service after this, I’d be lying. Not knowing what to expect at all, I still find myself fascinated by the unique set of circumstances that have lead me to be at this place and point in my life.
I had no idea what to expect for this week, but in many ways I had no idea what to expect going on ECOEE either, even after a full semester of preparation. Of course, it’s easy now, but it makes me think about how important attitude is with the unfamiliar. Hopefully this one will last for a while once we’re out of here. After this, we’re hittin California. Mind you that it slipped my mind that Oregon is on the coast, but I can’t believe we’re this far along. So again, try your best to soak it all in, especially while the pace is a bit slower. I love all you guys, even when you all piss me off like crazy. I wish I could write so much more to record this once in a lifetime experience. Cheers


Saturday, October 16, 2010


Day 2 of REA- First Full Day with X-Military Survival Experts
“On Cloud 9,” never understood why this is always referenced when people are really happy but as a result of its definition it works for today. From being able to drink from a water source on all fours like an animal, to hearing an enticing philosophy on fire building, finding natures gold (pitch), chopping wood without an ax, and building shelters in way more ways than one. We were all overwhelmed with happy thoughts and new knowledge. I mean I know I was. Not only was the knowledge there but so was the possibility. The possibility to do something only talked about. Today I drank bleach in a good expectable way. I got to split wood with a really big knife, was able to use my personal pocket knife for more ways than just cutting food or rope, and also got to freshen up on my knots.
This is my third time attempting to write this entry. So much has happened I feel my words can not give it all justice.
One thing I know I can talk about and get on point is the fact that I filleted and scaled a fish today. I have never considered myself a veggie for the “normal” vegetarian beliefs. More precisely I am a veggie because I hate the idea of meat. So much so that I swore up and down I would never touch, let alone scale a fish! But I did!
Once again ECOEE has pushed me to something I have never done before. Of course I have to also give credit for this one to REA. Their idea to smoke Salmon for the veggies that eat fish is what got me to suck it up and just do it.
Today I think it is safe to say that everyone got a lot out of all that happened. Some of the boys got their survival gods they have been dreaming about. Some got the guts to sleep under an open tarp even with a fear of the dark and all got to explore new methods of madness and show strength with different tools…both physically and metaphorically. All gained knowledge and comfort in the back country.
Way to go folks!

Peace and Love Always,
Kate Nelson

Friday, October 15, 2010


Undisclosed Campsite

“One’s mans wilderness is another mans theme park”
If this is true I feel like I am at six flags right now with a fast pass to every ride! Waking up this morning the group is alive. Knowing just enough to make our minds wonder. Rea will pick us up at nine am, we wont need our tents for the first 3 days, oh and…..there X military. You all know what I have to say about this…..WOOF. Upon arrival I see to my delight 3 new faces and they all bear a smile. Josh, Mindy, and Andy take the lead in a way of which none of us are used to. No complaints from this girl, I am one happy camper! Yet it seems like everywhere we go….people wanna know, who we are. Sooooo im going to tell ya! WE got Ryan, Pat, Sal, Denver, Keenan and Kate. Evan, Jess, Ashley, Chris, Katy….oh that’s just a taste. Ashley she’s our baby and little rugrat too, but don’t you let that fool you she knows more than many of us do. Sal in other words the candy man, typically seen hopping through the forest in the most unique of way. Unless that is he is missing his precious Beckita. Evan is our computer nerd and without his math skills I would surely be in a world of hurt. Ryan ever so precious he may be. Loves what he’s doing and the woman in his life. Don’t worry if he doesn’t like it he will be sure to tell ya. Jessica oh Jessica thank goodness for her, our resident hippie not only bringing great smells but lots of laughter too. Kate is the one who hates the hate. Peace love and happiness and lots of giggles to go around. Kennan may be one of our smelly ones. Yet he adds a secret spice that makes things oh so nice. Pat is very loud and yet oh so quite. He is the boy that’s brainy and a goof ball. Then there’s Denver Murphy our song master, bringing harmony to the group and always makes sure to point out when our energy is high. Chris deserves the nickname of silent but deadly in so many ways. Speaking not so often but when he does it packs a punch. Then there is me Katy, I’ve been told I’m the mother hen. Leaving one word to describe my behavior, DOOLAN…
There it is ECOEE 2010 as brief as I could make it. Mind, Andy, and Josh we are putty in your hands all eager to learn new things. Take our minds and fill them with as much knowledge as possible. Take our bodies and give us the technical skills that match. Lastly take our hearts back into the world we love to be in. The Wilderness calls!

Please and Thank You
Katy 

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Preparing for Another Backcountry Journey
Words cannot describe the emotions Giddy, anxious, excited, nervous… another venture into the unknown. As we begin another preparation, packing out backpacks, I glimpsed back to the first days at HFC. Although we had much more bases to cover (preparing for the expedition as a whole) the feelings I have do not differ.
This makes me wonder if they will ever change. Years down the road will the butterflies in my stomach subside to the new experience s I have? I could only hope not for I will never want to lose this sense of uncertainty. It not only makes me feel alive but reassures me that I’m living.
May this new chapter in our ever long adventure be full of surprises (not the kind that slime their way into your shoes), expand our knowledge, and help us enjoy being displaced from the noisy confusion we call “life”.
Check List
• Make some good BC glorp
• Break in my hiking boots (for realzies)
• Re-amp my BC bod
• Learn some new tech. skillz
• Meet some new peeps
• Explore some coo places
• & do things we can’t do when Jeff and Kim are here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Welcome to Oregon!

After a long day of visiting the BLM and driving basically across Idaho and into Oregon, I have pretty much gotten nothing done. Yeah I read a little, wrote a little, slept a lot and watched the landscape go by, but I also did a lot of thinking. After writing a letter home I suddenly became pumped to do my trip plan. Something just clicked that this could be awesome and I could develop a bomb lesson plan! I had wanted to find a way to really get my mind prepared for the intense work that it will entail, but something about today sparked my fire. Could it have been the man at the museum who was so passionate about the program that he paid for us to go look at it? Or could it be the fact that we are going back to the backcountry in a day? Whatever it is, I am pumped! There are so many different ways to do things, and like the BLM and the NPS at Craters of the Moon, we need to find the best way to make those techniques work and be capable of working with other programs, problems, and what not thrown in the mix. This trip plan will put everything that we are learning into the mix and whether we do a backpacking trip in Oregon, or a kayaking trip in Poland, we need to have a passion for it; Just like that man at the Museum.

Ashley VanSpeybroeck

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Craters of the Moon

What an early day! Chow at 6:30 and in the vans by 7:30 woof: Good thing I’m journal and I got to sleep in today. After breakfast, and finally half awake, we cleaned up; let Jeff negotiate the treacherous road leading up and out of the KOA, then piled into the van to head westward still. Although the frontier was closed long ago, us Midwesterners might as well be pioneers in a wagon train judging by our wide eyes after we pass the mountains dotting the horizon.

The sights changed again as we entered the violent landscape of Craters of the Moon. Lava flows, pumice, half blasted apart necks of volcanoes. I’ve personally always wanted to see a landscape like this, so that’s one more thing to check off the bucket list.

Being able to talk to John, a ranger here today was a time for us to finally get some insight on the differences between the NPA and the BLM. On top of that, we also got an interp lesson on the whole formation of Craters of the Moon. I learned we’re 100 years overdue for an eruption, pretty cool to think about.

Jeff and Kim have been in pretty high spirits today, which makes me question,” is the end nigh?” But seriously, it’s good to see them happy. Jeff even joined in a game of hopscotch. This, I thought to myself, is good, this is very good.

Now, after our beautiful sunset, we hunker down to do our work, and maybe tell some jokes. A few of us meander to our tents to sleep, still wiped out from the early morning. I realized these days are kind of rare out here, no chaos, not a lot of bickering. I think that’s something we all understand and appreciate. I mean, when’s the next time Jeff Tindal will be coaxed into a game of hop -scotch? If it’s never, then I’m glad to have seen it now. I know that we’re all glad to be out here, not only for the play, but the experience and the learning.

Thank you Paul, thank you Doc Lupton, Paula, Dale. Thank you Jeff and Kim. Thank you everyone who made it possible for us to be here. And finally than you to the group, for we are ECOEE.


Monday, October 11, 2010


I slept-in till nine
So I though I’d make this rhyme
Out of the tent I rose
And this aroma hit my nose

The scent of a feast meant for a king
So I followed my nose without hesitating
But its only a dream because Evan is cook
So as my head shook I still had to look

The dutch oven was hot
So I opened the pot
Eggs, cheese, taters and bacon
Evan! I say, what are you makin

He said, “eat as much as you can
This is a meal for a mountain man
So I had a few plates
Then put away coolers and crates

All aboard the van, destination Jack Hole City
As we stagger into town locals look in pity
Some wandered, others pondered
In our clothes freshly laundered

Food, coffee and gear
some of us even had deer

a relaxing day to go shopping
but for Jess there was no hopping
Jess feels no good but refuses aspirin
Sal’s sick too in the same Mocosin

So gear shop to thrift store
Until the last coffee was poured
Homework got done
And others had fun

It was nice to be free
But with this comes responsibility
Im talking about Albertson’s grocer
Where communication could have been closer

However, E.C.O.E.E’s glass is half full
But we all just took a big pull
And now we have an empty glass
Adapt! Adapt! Bleed, tangle and thrash.


Sunday, October 10, 2010


No Tetons, what a bummer. But the showers and clean close will suffice for now. Seeing the Mountains from the road was quiet a tease. As I stared out the window I pondered the many things I would like to do on those mountains; climbing, packing, sleep, stare, breathe, slide, fall, trip and recover. Yellowstone had some amazing sights. I love the waterfalls the thermal features, but seeing those mountains reminded me why I decided to take this path in my life. Nothing can compare to the mountains. Their size only shows a small portion of their power and I am blown away. Growing up I’ve only seen scrapers that size, man made wonders that really to me aren’t wonders, just massive accomplishments. But the mountains, those are wonders, with their unforgiving faces and soaring high, it’s a reminder of how small we are and how much is out there and uknown. But they are not real to me, not yet, a glance is not good enough, a picture will not suffice, I want to touch, I want to feel and I want to accompany their peaks, if only for a short moment of time. I am not upset that we are not staying there because I will be back, and bet most of us will. There are things bigger than me, than you, than all of us together. So all we can do is strive to reach their height, weather we get there or not, as long as we do our best and do it with those 7 aspects of LOVE then we can reach the peaks of our mountains within ourselves.
Until then I will stay up all night doing class work and filling my head with more information than I know what to do with. As long as my two comrades (Katy and Sal) hang on I think I’ll be able to manage.
And How!

Pat Croke

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I never thought that writing in the journal would be so time consuming. Now that I have officially stared at this piece of paper for five minutes, I have realized that I do not have the super power enabling me to will words onto paper.
Being at Yellowstone has helped me come to the conclusion that there is a line in a lot of things that we do. There is a line that separates overdevelopement and having the means of generating funds to keep up one of our nations treasures, as well as a fine line between what we say we are going to do, and how we do it. We all learned last night that we have to step it up if we want to become outdoor leaders and we need to take initiative and do what needs to be done to accomplish that. Kind of how Yellowstone does what needs to be done to make the park more accessible to the general public while still maintaining a sense of wilderness. They need to make money for upkeep but at the sacrifice of the land, just like we need to take initiative even with the sacrifice of feelings and toes. I feel like the meeting we had is going to open our eyes, so that we can become who we need to be while still realizing we can have the vast wilderness that still exists in the background.

Ashley VanSpeybroeck

Friday, October 8, 2010


Location: Yellowstone National Park

The Elk with the Chandelier Antlers
While driving to Mammoth Hot Springs this morning our group managed to get a glimpse of a bull elk whose antlers were an enormous chandelier, watching over his does and fawns of his harem. One of the fawns had a gimp leg and was walking with a limp. Sadly, a predator such as the wolf will most likely target the fawn and... well...that's the circle of life. The students were at professional meetings all day while I caught up on grading. I couldn't stop thinking about that little fawn with the gimp. In some ways it applies to ECOEE. Every group will have a scapegoat or what we call them, "the weenie". This person may be different, misunderstood, or vulnerable in some ways like the fawn. The wolves will attack when the others aren't watching, when the fawn has strayed from the group, and when defenses are down. However, if that fawn is always protected, watched out for, and surrounded by it's family...the wolves will go up against a heck of a fight and that little fawn may have a chance to become that bull elk with the chandelier antlers.
~Kimberly Janus
Spay and neuter your pets!

Entry 2 of the day (Since Jess was not around to write in the Journal this day Jeff and Kim got their turn!):

We are almost to the mid-way point of ECOEE 2010 and I haven’t killed anyone yet- not even my grad assistant who constantly tries to annoy me and tries to assist me in losing my patience!!
Everyone we meet along the way talks about what a good group this is- patient, interested, helpful, considerate and so on. Little do they know what goes on behind “closed doors”!! Farts and burps sound different butt smell the same!! Front Country clothes look and smell like back country clothes. The multiple repeating of feedback until someone (and it is usually only one someone) finally gets it!
Sometimes good food and lots of it, but I am tired of eggs!! Almost always cold food after long announcements in chow circle, and even longer debriefs.
But this is the life of ECOEE- every ECOEE. People I neat think I have the greatest life, little do they know!!...with all the complaints here…They are pretty petty compared to all I get to see and experience with all these folks, even with ADHD grad assistants! I really do love my life!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


As we continue on the road of ECOEE we are constantly interacting with different ways of life, cultures, interests and more. Each place we visit has history, traditions, and qualities that are quiet different than back home. Emerson puts it well, “The good thing about going into the mountains is that life is reconsidered, it is far from the slavery of your own modes of living and you have the opportunity of viewing the town at such a distance…” Along the way of ECOEE we are all taking in what we see in the people we pass by. As for what everyone else is doing with what they see I do know that I am always attempting to place myself in the worlds we pass. “Would I fit?” is then the question that comes to my mind. This is even so when I think of the people like Native Americans that have roamed these parts. I am constantly reminded that there is more to life than that of the one we grew up in. Our job now is to find our happy medium, find our piece of the puzzle and the picture on it. Who are we as an individual? Where are we? What are we doing?
I hope we all find our piece of the puzzle.

Peace and Love Always,
Kate Nelson

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Badlands/Wind Cave
“Out west is where it’s at!”
Native Americans-I look back on what seems to be an eternity ago that ECOEE made its first stop for the semester-Dickson Mounds. At that point, visiting that Indian burial site was my greatest connection to the American Indians. I’ve always had a thirst for more of a thirst on the subject, but nothing has struck me hard enough to spark a fire.
Since our trip to the badlands, that has all changed. The scenery screams cowboys and Indians, and gives me the spark I needed to dive into our countries past, as well as the genocide that took place here nearly untouched upon by our education system. I feel like I have overturned a rock of knowledge and I’m excited at what I’m finding.
I think about our upcoming itinerary and am almost speechless, literally. Wyoming, Yellowstone, Tetons, Oregon, and that’s not even getting to our list once we hit California. It brings me to my title, out west is where it’s at! Like I’ve said to so many before, I don’t understand why so many people want to leave this country without checking it out first-it boggles my mind. You only want what you can’t have. Our country doesn’t have an impressively long timeline compared to most, and thousands of people travel to Europe to see and experience the great history behind buildings that have stood long enough to tell their own stories in the history books. But people come from all over the world to see and marvel at our one of a kind National Park Service. They come to see the incredible beauty of this country. While we marvel at our Badlands sunset, or while I eat my breakfast watching the sunrise over one of the longest cave systems in the world, people are sleeping on dirt. People are wondering where their next meal is going to come from. People are committing crimes to get that meal. People are dying in wars, and going through the next scenario that pops into your head. But don’t let these thoughts bring you down, let them bring a smile upon our fortunate situation and a reminder to soak everything in that you possibly can.
With each journal entry I have better and better things to say about our group’s improvement. We’ve got plenty to work on, and there always will be. But we’re starting to hold each other accountable for each other’s actions, and I see us moving forward as one unit, despite some personal nuts and bolts to be tightened, so let’s keep it up! Cheers

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Mt. Smilemore for Mt. Rushmore    
“We shall all be changed in the twinkling of an eye.” Or is it an “I”? This is my second visit to the Badlands of South Dakota. Before we arrived to our campsite we had the opportunity to visit a Lewis and Clark Museum. The landscape here is absolutely amazing. For me the visit has already enhanced my opinion of this place as we are situated next to a small but quaint amphitheater that is used for park events.
The bugs are playing the strings, a cool wind is blowing, and the sun is beginning to set over the horizon. We’ve had a good chunk of van time over the last couple of days but it’s an evening like this that will make you forget it all. I am reading a book where the author claims she always has had a hard time “clearing” her mind and instead she prefers to “lose” her mind. I am beginning to understand where she is coming from.
Journals, lessons, chores, and the like continue to keep us busy while cat naps and the sweet sounds of Marvin Gay and John Butler keep us sane. Today I learned what a “Prairie Pothole” is and the sort of role it plays in the environment. You should look it up – they’re actually pretty cool!
Denver Murphy

Saturday, October 2, 2010


“Rules are for fools”

It seems that people think that following all the rules will always come with a bit of security, and maybe success. Sure, it is comforting to know you are following a certain set of guidelines or rules, whatever it may be. Is it not? Maybe following the rules is comforting because of the fear of failure. One thing I can assure you of is that there are an endless amount of reasons people follow rules. It could be because of a past experience, a risk, danger, or consequence. I think that the word rules involves more than just a standardized set of words that explain limits or expectations. Rules, or an expected way of doing things, acting or reacting, become programmed into our brains through a number of experiences. Getting hurt, breaking something, taking all the blame, staying safe, doing it “the right way” because you know it works and will avoid failure. Well, there are times to follow the rules, but beware of being trapped inside these metaphorical boundaries. There is more than one right way of doing things and there are plenty of new experiences to be had. So, step out of the boundaries and you comfort zone when you see fit, expand your mind, learn from mistakes, and learn from success. Harness new experiences and use them to your advantage. A wise man named Paul Petzoldt claims, “Rules are for fools.” Make that your own.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I’m writing in the van so this looks terrible, it’s much harder to write in than I thought. Yesterday was hectic but we all muscled up and did what we had to. Free time Friday night and Badlands Saturday morning, what a schedule. It’s hard right now to put thought into this entry cause we are all crammed in this van, and even though it will probably stink later down the road right now I feel great and the energy is really high! So its short and simple, but right now I just wana hang with my ECOEE crew.

Pat Croke