Saturday, November 24, 2012

October 12, 2012 - Dalton Schaller

Yosemite is an amazing place. Where else in the world are you able to wake up and have the first thing you see, be a giant rock face shrouded in fog. There are so many beautiful and interesting things to experience in Yosemite. From looking at all the incredible rock faces, that are various shapes and sizes, to seeing all of the wildlife that Yosemite has within its borders. You can see animals as small as the many ground squirrels and stellar jays to the larger mule deer and black bears. Going around in the day you can see all of those things that all of the other visitors see all the time, but then you can go out at night and Yosemite appears to be an entirely knew place to experience. The same fog covered cliffs that were admired during the day look even more miraculous when pressed against the starry night sky. It is what some would call a picture of a picture. Looking at the clear night sky alone can seem too incredible for words with all of the bright and glowing stars and the faint signs of the Milky way mixed in with them. All of these things are so much to behold and can be witnessed in just one day at the incredible Yosemite National Park. I can’t wait to see what another day there can offer to our group of travelers.

October 11, 2012 - Jessica Sauer

I woke up this morning before my alarm even went off thanks to the many obnoxious ravens that were cawing and flying around. This type of bird was like nothing I had ever seen. With their dark black feathers and extreme size, I couldn’t help but think of 15lb overweight cat Shadow, who waddles just as much as they do with each step. Waking up to the ravens wasn’t that best alarm clock, but the sooner I got up the sooner I would be able to see more of Yosemite. Just driving through the park yesterday, I had seen enough to know this was going to be my favorite stop so far. The rest of the morning started off great when I woke up to French toast, my favorite breakfast made by chef’s Sarah and Kelly. After a quick clean up the group was ready to hop on a bus and head towards the Visitors Center. Once we were there almost all of us watched a movie about the spirits of Yosemite which gave us a brief history of all the beautiful places the park had to offer. After seeing the portion of the video about the giant sequoias in Mariposa Grove, I knew I would be satisfied staying in this place forever. Before I could get to the sequoias, I knew that I had a lot of work to get done so the other girls and I headed to Yosemite Lodge hoping to find a nice place to do some work. On our way, we ran into Cody and Jon and they continued with us to the lodge. It was strange seeing animals so comfortable with humans in their homes, Ruby almost ran directly into a deer and it didn’t even seem to notice. After walking through crowds of people we finally decided the best spot to plug in would be a small little lounge that had a few baseball fans watching a game. It started off as a nice quiet place but by the time the afternoon was over it was packed with die heart fans. No longer thinking it was a good place to study, I headed back to camp with Ruby, Jeremy, and Dalton to get in a quick nap. After a quick meal and clean up, the long day of homework ended in the best way possible, with a long hot shower.

October 10, 2012 - Cody J Presny

Didn’t wake up last this morning, maybe I’m getting better at this early to bed early to rise nonsense. I did wake up in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Death Valley, though the name might seem a bit menacing, Death Valley is a wonderfully salty place. I rose to find a one legged grasshopper in my boot, I picked him up and he promptly sprung toward my face, striking me square in the forehead. Of course, I took this as an omen, a spiritual sign if you will. I have been reflecting on the matter on and off all day, but still don’t know what role this phenomenon plays. What I do know is that the obviously weak and injured creature saw my boot as a temple; a place where he would be safe from the imposing threat of death. In finding him, I damned him; I cast him out into the world, a world not fit for a dismembered grasshopper. I most certainly sealed his fate, and for this I feel remorse. If I could have done more I would, but dwelling on things like this is fruitless. I can only take solace in knowing that my boot was a leather sanctuary for this little piece of life, even if it was only for a brief while. I can not dwell on the bad fortune of this sorry soul. I must smile, hope for the best, and carry on his legacy to another day.

October 9, 2012 - Jeremy Naberhaus

(To the beat of the Fresh Prince of Bellaire theme sone) -West Illinois born and raised In Macomb is where I spent most of my days -Reading and studying throwing the Frisbee outside of school. -When an outdoor guy who was up to no good said you want to leave your neighborhood? -I paid the money and my mom got scared She said; “why you only bringing three pair of underwear?” -I whistled for the van and when it came near I finally realized a whole semester with no women or beer. -If anything I thought this van is where? But I thought forget it, yo Jeff give me fresh air. -we pulled up to Death Valley about 60 days later What I am doing now is nothing greater. -The outdoors is my kingdom and I’m finally there I’m out y’all the name is J-bear Jeremy J. Naberhaus

October 8, 2012 - Jon Manuell

Today started quite hectic to say the least... Cody the chef of the day decided to sleep through his alarm like usual and the entire group as well were late to rise. With a professional visit quite early in the morning we had to abort the original and settle with cereal instead. Also with such time restrictions Cody did his best to throw together a canned ham salad sandwich for most and a mayonese, onion, and celery sandwich for Kelly. After a great quick scat lesson by Sarah we piled into the van. We headed into the tiny town of Enterprise to check out what Red Cliff Ascent had to offer. We were greeted by a recent WIU alum and we jumped right into a drum activity that was extremely interesting. I must say Jeff and Dalton were very enthusiastic. After that we were lucky enough to be driven out into the back country where the wilderness therapy took place. We broke into two groups and went our separate ways. My group was first introduced to the antelopes which were mostly girls and introduced ourselves and our program followed by a demo of setting up a tarp that would withstand snow fall. We said our goodbyes and headed to the eagle camp consisting of the boys. There, my group was able to make fire by hand using a bow and spindle; i think it was a first for all of us starting fire by friction. Lastly at the end of the visit we were shown the beauty of a keva, which is a underground ceremonial chamber. It was a truly unique experience and i loved every second of it. Back on the road towards the Red Cliff headquarters Jeff and "Medicine Bull" shared old troubled youth stories and before we knew it were back to our van and continue down the towards Death Valley. On our way we stopped at an In and Out Burger just outside sin city. Never been to Las Vegas, it was very cool seeing to lights in the night sky. We stopped our journey that night slightly early just outside the city. Well its late and time for a much needed shower and another nights sleep under the stars.

October 6, 2012 - Kelly Bauer

The ECOEE tribe had a very different start this morning; their first meal was to to be had until 9:30 which gave most of the tribe some much needed rest from a late night of hunting and gathering. The tall one they call He Who Flies With Birds was appointed chef for the day and He Who Dances With Bears also awoke with the sun to assist in preparing a meal that would fill our hungry bellies. However, the great cook book went missing when the white horse was taken this morning for an early ride by our mysterious leader He Who Sits Like A Rock. He Who Flies With Birds followed the old ECOEE Tribe saying and chose to instead adapt, improvise, and overcome. The old saying held true and they prepared corn bread, eggs, taters, and fruit for the entire tribe. After the tribe filled their bellies it was time for the weekly ritual in which leadership is passed from three chosen members to the ext chosen group. The one they call Dragon, the Fisherman, and He Who Dances with Bears spoke to the group and shared with us the wisdom they gained from their experiences. They also voiced their concerns with the tribe’s development. He Who Sits Like A Rock, the elder of the group, led a discussion and many of the group members also voiced their opinions and shared their feelings about our group’s development. In order for the tribe to progress through the ancient stages of development, communication is essential and after today the ECOEE tribe can again move forward. After the meeting the tribe split up for the afternoon to explore their new surroundings. Some went hiking, others used the time for self-reflection, and the girls use the time to explore the cultural significance of Ruby’s Inn and eat some ice cream. The group met after for a last view overlooking the Hoodoos before splitting again. I joined the Dragon to learn about the stars above from a wise man of the area they called Dark Ranger Ron. The tribe has all retired into their teepees and so will I, Goodnight Moon. -Kel

October 4, 2012 - Jon Manuell

Waking up this morning was a truly unique experience. It was my first night sleeping under the stars. The weather was brisk, the air was dry, and my spirits were high. The desert land in Utah is a mysterious place full of exotic wonders. I cant help but truly appreciate the ever changing history around me of thousands and thousands of years of always changing rock formations, arches, and natural landscapes. After a wonderful breakfast we were back on the road towards Escalante. The drive was long flew by at the same time. The views around me were constantly changing around every bend down the road. Our first stop along the way was Capital Reef National Park. The visitor center was very neat but left me yearning to explore the land around me. Back in the van we then drove to our next surprise stop was at Anasazi State Park Museum. It was an incredibly small park that crawled cultures from the past. The museum did a great job of putting you into shoes "or lack of shoes" of where and when the natives lived. Once we departed the last stretch of driving was through beautiful mountainous desert land that sprawled miles and miles across the horizon. We finally made it to the Escalante campsite where we set up our kitchen and prepared for the nights meal. I felt extremely lucky to get some free time with Cody to explore our home for the night. After our adventure we retuned in time for a fitting hispanic meal cooked by Kelly and Sarah. As the night came to a close I am extremely excited to fall asleep once again under the majestic Utah sky.

October 3, 2012 - Jeremy Naberhaus

I awoke the morn under the empty sky’s, the smell of sage still strong on my hands. Who am I you ask? I am the hunter. What do we hunt you ask? My tribe and I hunt for information and knowledge. Today we hunted for information on the National Parks and how to interpret. My tribe and I hopped on the white stead, we named it Ford E 350, and it had power of many horses. Our first hunt was a bountiful one. Full of facts, advice and information. The best part was we did not have to ride far on our stead to get there. This was good for the stead was pulling a heavy wagon. The tribe and I went to continue the hunt for interpretation. But before we did we had to change the stead’s oil. The tribe and I had to go to hunting lands that we have never been to before. The tribe’s elder has told some tales of this hunting land before, but when the tribe asked specifics , the wise one would say; “what do you think?” the new hunting land was a strange and beautiful place. We found our prey for interpretation it was found in the form of Stephen. The tribe knew from the beginning that this prey would be weak and not fulfill their interpretation appetite due to the fact that his name was spelled with a PH instead of a V. After that we hopped back on the stead, and picked up the wagon and went back to camp. At camp we had a meal that tasted as if the gods themselves made it, and for deserts we ate cake of cheese made by the small funny talking one of the tribe. After that the tribe had a meeting then went to bed in the wig-woms Jeremy Naberhaus.

October 2, 2012 - Cody J Presny

Let’s talk about the desert for a moment. Top to bottom, there is no greater setting. A place where the coyote’s howl breaks the midnight silence, and the hallow wind sweeps and slithers through the cracked earth below. The feet of the prowling fox silently stalking a desert hare. Creeping closer, mindful of each footstep, careful not to cause a sound, careful not to misplace a stone, lest she lose a meal, and return to a den of hungry pups. For centuries, sages and shaman have traveled to these places. Release the clutches of ego before you enter. Free your mind, and I promise, your body will follow. Take off your shoes, feel the soft sand between your toes, it’s like nothing else in the world. You can take the forests, the oceans, the Plaines, the jungles, the snow, the sleet, the ice, the rain. I’ll keep the deserts and sit atop them. On amber cliffs that rise to see the heights and horizons from years and years ago. Where the sun rises over the eastern ridge and casts shadows longer than the rocks have lived. With a sudden burst, and last calorie burned, the mother pounces. With one fierce strike, her jaw wraps around the now helpless hare. Victoriously she raises her head, prancing, one paw in front of the other. Desert dawn and the land is awake. Find shade, the sun can be cruel this time of time, she will take everything from you and return nothing. Respect and don’t take for granted the desert, the desert, the desert.

October 1, 2012 - Jessica Sauer

Our group woke up this morning to a delicious breakfast prepared by Jeremy and Jon. It was liked so much that some people even went back for sevenths and eighths. After we all got the sites cleaned up we packed the van and trailer and we were on our way to Colvig Silver Camp. After many twists and turns down beautiful farm roads we made it to our destination. Right off the bat Jamiee, our tour guide for the day gave us a better introduction than we could have asked for. Giving us pamphlets and charts, and answering most of our questions before they were even asked, I felt well educated on the way Colvig Silver was run. The biggest part that stood out to me in her introduction was that the camp was privately owned and I was curious to see if that would make any significant differences. We started our tour around the 650 acres of land and it was one of the coolest summer camps that I had ever seen. The layout of the camp was open and hilly which had to give the campers and staff and great workout each day. A few people seemed like this could be a possible summer opportunity to help build up resumes while enjoying the beautiful wilderness around them. As we said out goodbye’s we headed towards Durango to spend some much needed time in the library. After lots of typing, searching, and printing our time at the library was up and we had to continue our road trip. We had a slight change of plans, and the LOWs decided to drive straight to Hovenweep National Monument. The climate changed once again and I do have to say, it was very nice knowing that I wouldn’t be waking up to frosty grounds. The desert was warm and dry and it seemed like everybody loved it. After a great cowboy stew and cornbread dinner followed by debrief, I prepared for bed eager to wake up and learn about the next portion of our journey.