Waubonsie State Park December 17-19, 2010

On Friday night, December 17th, I met up with Troop 25 of Lincoln, Nebraska. I had been offered the opportunity to teach the Wilderness Survival merit badge. We made way for Waubonsie State Park in Iowa. There were no other campers in Waubonsie for the duration of our time there. Friday night I slept out under the stars. It was 16 degrees. A little after 4:00 am I woke up, too cold to sleep. Venus was as brilliant as I've ever seen it. At 5:00 am I ventured out of my bag, grabbing my fathers planisphere which I recently found. As I walked about to warm up, I studied the chart and in doing so, doubled my knowledge of constellations, memorizing the locations of Bootes, Virgo, Corvus, Crater, Hydra, and Leo. The first half of Saturday, the 18th, was mostly spent lecturing on wilderness first aid, survival priorities, survival techniques, etc. The second half was spent constructing shelters. Three boys made their shelters around a central tree, while mine stood alone. We returned to the cabin for dinner and peach cobbler and afterwards returned to the shelters, where we slept for the night. It was 26 degrees outside that night and, tucked into a wiggle-room only leaf hut, it was quite warm. The 19th was mostly an uneventful return to Lincoln and the end of a productive weekend.

Lecture portion of merit badge

Beginnings of the shelters
Skeleton of my shelter begins to take shape over leaf bed

Woods are covered in light layer of massive snow flakes
Making cocoa for the boys

Southwest Conservation Corps - Fourth Hitch October 16-27, 2010

This was our only "backcountry" hitch, doing maintenance on Major Creek Trail. We saw nobody on the trail until Friday rolled around, 5 days in). Photos start with organizing provisions on Sunday night before hitting the trail the next day. On Monday morning we broke camp, packed provisions, gear, and tools, and made our way to our first trail camp, 2.75 miles in. On Tuesday morning Mike, Paige, and I scouted out the full trail, hiking through last nights snow to treeline. Finding outfitter tents, open to public use, we moved camp at the end of our work day. The use of warm canvas tents with fireplace, lanterns, cookware, easy water access, and even an enclosed latrine was definitely a morale boost. On this trail we cleared about 4.5 miles of corridor, including the removal of about a dozen 8"-14" deadfalls. At the end of our last hitch we made our way to Salida and further on to Mountain Princeton for "graduations." Our final destination was unknown and there was grumbling about having to camp in the snow for no good reason, but we were delighted to discover that a large cabin had been reserved for us when the snow began to gather. Crews indulged in hot tubs, showers, pizza, ping pong, fussball, and movies for the night, gathering back at SCC in the morning for final de-rig.

Clare gets right to work on her rations

"Tools of the trade"

Scouting out the trail, going from the valley, up to snowy heights

Followed wolf tracks briefly

The first dinner in the outfitter tents

Trail-drunk, only a few days in

Where the hell are they taking us?

What?! A Cabin? You mean we're not camping in the snow?

And there is a hot tub and showers?!

A brisk morning