Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Macombie Homie

By: Emily Maze
November 21, 2017
We woke up reluctantly because of the late night, but luckily Santa Emma bought us all Monsters and a Redbull for me so we could stay up working on homework. Austin and Tracy gave their last outdoor education lessons and we headed off to Macomb.

            Along the way, I mostly slept while others worked on homework. When I was awake, Tracy, Kara, and I were talking about the challenges and differences Kara faced going to Western when she lived in Florida. Tracy and I laughed at how 75 degrees Fahrenheit is considered cold in Florida. One of Kara’s first posts at Western say, “Yes, the leaves are extremely pretty here in the fall but don’t be mistaken. I’d give my left hand to be in the Florida warmth right now; especially since it’ll probably fall off this winter anyways.” She also worried about not having enough to do in Macomb because of how busy Florida life is.

            Kara has grown a lot since then though. She has survived the Tetons, come home and wore a t-shirt when others thought it was cold, and she has learned to relax and enjoy the fun simple times with friends.

            Here we are entering Macomb with mixed feelings. It feels so surreal. It’s hard to describe but I think the closest I can get is we are big fish back in a small pond again because we’ve seen, done, and grown so much while others are in school and stagnant in growth.

            Here we are on our last day of travelling together on ECOEE…

            Tomorrow afternoon, we will split ways for Thanksgiving and have to constantly describe ECOEE to friends and family. When we get back together for the last two weeks, it’ll be evaluations and cleaning. We’ve all heard that this’ll be the toughest two weeks, but I know we can push through it as a group. I know we will get together in the future.

            Peace out,

                        ECOEE 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Broken Trailer

By: Chris Friday
November 19, 2017
This morning we awoke in the freezing cold yet again.  I wore three layers and wrapped my feet in a coat in an attempt to stay warm and it still didn’t work. I still like this cold better than the heat of Baja California. We ate a breakfast of biscuits and gravy before we left for our car ride to Colorado Springs. We stopped at a Walmart for some supplies where we learned the door to our trailer was jammed. No matter how much we jimmied that lock, it wouldn’t budge. We decided to stop at a Home Depot to try and get some help with the unlocking of the trailer. Jeff went in alone to try and find some help. He came out with a saw and an extension cord. He said nothing upon his return with his new purchases. We heard rumors throughout our remaining car ride, but nothing was confirmed until we got to our Super 8 in Colorado Springs that yes, he would be sawing his way into the trailer. He sawed a hole in the back of the trailer and then sent Emma in to unlock it from the inside. This was quite the event to see as we all gathered around to watch her crawl through. At dinner everyone seemed to think I had disappeared. Luckily I was found in the front of the building, safe, talking on the phone. I’m sorry for running off everyone. It was a rather late of homework for me as I’m writing this at 3 in the morning. As I’m writing this, a rather drunk lady named Lily came and sat with me to talk about divorce with me. What a town Colorado Springs is. Tomorrow we head off to Kansas on our journey back to Macomb.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Grand Canyon

By: Kara Sahagian
November 18, 2017
I woke up in tears. I dreamt about our end of the semester ECOEE celebration.  I pushed that thought out of my head because I did not want to think about how our greatest adventure is almost to a halt. It was a good thing that we woke up in the Grand Canyon so that I could fill the cracks of my heart with gorgeous views and precious memories. My mind was blown when Jeff told us that Lake Michigan could fill the Grand Canyon 10 times over. My favorite view was the Desert View Watchtower. While there. We saw a spectacular view of the Colorado River. Several of us had out last Outdoor Education lessons. Chris explained how the Grand Canyon was formed, Emma taught us about the planets in our solar system, I covered characteristics of reptiles and amphibians, and Tracy shared her knowledge of leaves with us. I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery-- air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, this is what it is to be happy.

Friday, November 17, 2017


By: Austin Orr
November 17, 2017

*Tink**Tink**Tink* What is that strange noise? *Tink**Tink**Tink*it can't be but sure enough it was. Sean and myself were awakened by the disturbing sound of rain this morning. You may be thinking “it's only rain. No big deal.” Right? But what you don't know is that we did not put the rain fly on, so we got up, put it on, and went back to bed. After I heard my alarm go off I went off to set out to see if the rumors were true. The rumor that the only source of water was a trek and a half away. After getting turned around and lost 3 times I found a map. It sadly showed me the truth to the rumor. It wasn't until I returned that I realized our jugs were already full. After breakfast we loaded up and started making our way to the Grand Canyon. On this long drive we all started talking about what Dundee awards each one of us should receive. I can't wait to see what we all come up with or receive. I took this time to map out my trip on an assignment and then it hit me. Time energy control plans are not my friend. As time went on I took the time to go through interviews I have done and got them ready for my video. It's hard to imagine that this is coming to an end. It feels like only yesterday we were in Canada and in Mexico the next. Three more weeks and this chapter in our lives will come to an end. We have learned a lot but not all that we need to know the best educators we can be. When one door closes, another one opens.

“When it rains look for rainbows, when its dark look for the stars.” Me, myself, and I

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Adios Baja California

By: Emily Maze
November  16, 2017
We all groaned as Austin’s alarm went off at 4:30 AM, but we had to be on the road by 5. Our breakfast was at the famous Mama Espinoza restaurant. After we bought them out of their jars of honey, we were on our way to Ensenada. Today is the start of the Baja 1000 which is a huge off-road race that boosts the economy but destroys the environment.

            Jeff and Francisco dropped us off to shop while they got the trailer. The first purchase for most was ice cream and then we wandered up and down the streets. Lots of souvenirs were purchased and then we had to be on our way to Joshua Tree.

            Everyone was sad saying farewells to Francisco. Tracy and I gave shirts and mugs for him and his wife but unfortunately a mouse ate holes in the one in his size. Francisco is a very inspiring man. He started a program called Hands that Talk (like and support on Facebook) for the deaf, grows and sells organic food, and gives tours with lots of information on culture and the environment.

            I will never forget the lessons learned from Baja California. Don’t take things for granted. There is water scarcity in Baja California and most of the people are in poverty. Happiness doesn’t come from money. The people have less, but relationships mean more than being materialistic. Know the history of your last name to make it more meaningful. Communication is way more than just words; we communicated with three non-English speaking guides through gestures and facial expressions.

            This reinforces my goal of wanting to become a minimalist and reducing my impact on the environment by doing simple things such as, not wasting so much water, looking for glass instead of plastic to re-use, and unplugging cords more often.

            Two hours later, we reached the bittersweet crossing of the border. Bitter because we all love the ocean, culture, and wildlife, and sweet because we are back in our comfort zones not having to panic to order food and because Ashley needed a bathroom to not pee her pants.

            Unfortunately Joshua Tree is just a stop for camping and not a sight-seeing stop because we need to keep on trucking.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Adios To New Friends

By: Ashley Demers
November 7, 2017

An early morning it was for us but that was not much of an issue because Ramón came to the rescue with his super strong coffee. After I grew some chest hairs I was ready to tackle this long hike out of the canyon. I really didn’t want to do the hike, not because of how extraneous it would be, but how I did not want to leave. I fell in love with the way of life down here, by learning about the culture in the canyons through the cave paintings and the stories told by Ramon, Ricardo and Gertrudis. We hiked our way up, with the heat on our side and our sweat pouring down our backs, it was no match for us.

We kept our brains pumping with ideas to solve the riddles given to us from Jeff. Some of us were also worried about Boz, she started just a few minutes before us but we did not find her along the way. Until the end, guess we are slow hikers. We made it back to Guadalupe, and we packed our belongings up. We picked out any food we could not bring and gave it too our guides, it made me feel good seeing their eyes light up when we said that the food was theirs to keep. We took a picture with them all and said our goodbyes; of course Ramón had to be a jokester and pretend to sob while giving me a hug as well as everyone else. I’ll truly miss that goofy man!

I hopped in Francisco’s awesome and gorgeous old school suburban which reminds me of my brothers but way cooler. We hit the bumpy road and we were slowly off. Along the way, Emily and I had some good conservations and interesting at that too. I found out she has two joints in her pinky toe… odd right. After the long drive we finally made it too Casa Azul our home away from home.

As I sit here and write this all I can think about is how grateful I am to be on ECOEE, to enjoy it with everyone here and to experience everything that I have. Through learning skills, going places, meeting new people, just seeing what the world can offer us is a great opportunity. Writing this is reminding me to be happy and to not sweat about the small stuff, like me losing my ECOEE USB. Always remember to not dwell on the past or worry about the future. Just live in the moment and that moment is ECOEE. (Laying on a cot in shorts and a tank, on the patio of Casa Azul, in Bahía de los Angeles and its 70 degrees at 10:30 at night in November.)

Adios Casa Azul

By: Ashley Demers
November 15, 2017

As I lay on my thermarest once again, looking up to the stars and making the connection that my thoughts are just as lost as my eyes. They’re just wandering. Today I woke up on a cot at Casa Azul for the last time. Which I never thought a cot would be so comfy. I sat there and watched my group; some up and in the kitchen, some waking up slowly and all I thought to myself was that this is ECOEE 2017, and were in Bahía de los Angeles but only for a few more hours.

As our morning got started we did some lessons and then off we went to Biosphere Reserve Bahía de los Angeles. While there we learned that the whale sharks have decreased in size from 200 to about 40. We also learned that this area is home to many different species, especially the sea lions on their little island. We had some more lessons and then we were on our way to lunch at Las Hamacas. I got my fix of some amazing Mexican food and of course chips and salsa. Sitting there watching the third judge aka Emily eat the salsa that was a bit spicy and just thinking how proud I am of her for eating that salsa, she’s grown a flavor of taste buds. As we left we gave some loving to a cute little gato with gorgeous blue eyes. Then we were off.

 On the drive I sat there for a while just in thought of what I have learned so far and how grateful this opportunity is.

If Mexico has taught me anything, it’s to not take life for granted. Too cherish every moment, and too make the most out of them. To learn from your experiences and teach what you know to those who are around you or who you may encounter. Tonight is our last night in Mexico and with Francisco, and I will never forget this opportunity. They’ll be a special place in my heart for Baja California, Casa Azul and of course Francisco.

Buenos noches, Baja California.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Last Kayak Day

By Chris Friday
November 13, 2017
Today marked our final full day on our kayak expedition. For this last day, we were left to fend for ourselves on La Ventana, our island for the night for Jeff and Francisco left us to go back to Casa Azul. Upon arrival here at La Ventana, an interpretation was held about Gray Whales and their rather long journey migration up and down the west coast from the Arctic seas to Baja California. After this, we had a day full of lessons that included: a scenario by Ashley, knots by myself, Austin, and Tracy, outdoor ed lessons by Sean and Ashley, and a book report by Austin. It was quite the day of lessons. For Ashley’s outdoor ed lesson, we learned how to move like animals. In Sean’s lesson we became mice in need of shelter from hawks, floods, an snakes. Sadly my group didn’t survive the snakes. Before Sean’s lesson we went on a bit of a hike trying to reach a cross that was in sight, but seemed to be unreachable. There was quite the debate held on whether or not to go down a hill or not. In hindsight, this was a rather silly debate that resulted in very little change occurring. We ended up at the start of the trail where we learned that we had to go back to where we began our hike. On our way back up the hill, a cactus somehow jumped out of nowhere and attacked Emma’s leg. It’s weird, I didn’t realize cacti could jump. We never managed to reach our final destination of the cross, but we took a really long route to reach a pretty cool overlook of the bay where we could see all the places where we had traveled thus far on our Kayak expedition. For dinner, we had spaghetti prepared by Emily, no lumpy noodles this time. This was one of our better meals I have had thus far on this kayak trip of ours. It has been a rather interesting day for our group today without our two Baja California instructors with us. Tomorrow marks our final chunk of our journey. Back to Casa Azul we go. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

New Day, New Experiences

By: Austin Orr
November 11, 2017

“The key to success is self-confidence, the key to self-confidence is preparation.” This quote from Arthur Ash is one that has lifted my spirits and challenged me to take on a new week as LOW. Today was the day I say goodbye to one LOW and hello to the new LOW. The day started with me and Sean discussing our views on the group and the plan for the week. Within transition over to talking about the day and what the group should expect. After a LOW debrief of myself and Emily some members of the group went to enjoy snorkeling while myself and Boz talked about my next interp video. After a chicken and beans tortilla lunch we moved on to our next campground on our kayak expedition. It wasn’t a long trek but it is only one stop on our way to our next. After arriving at Quamado Bay we put the kayaks asleep and enjoyed our Saturday off. We had a moon lesson from Emma who found out physics was not her friend. Afterwards we played in Uno and it got really intense. This expedition as a whole has pushed me to my limits and beyond. I have been challenged in ways I never expected. It's sad to think in only 10 more days we will be leaving for Thanksgiving break. Where has the time gone. It feels like only yesterday we were in Canada and now we're finishing our expedition in Mexico. Good night and see everyone at home soon.

Friday, November 10, 2017

She Who Must Not Be Named

By Tracy Ellis

November 10, 2017

            I am going to begin this journal entry with a short story about an unknown girl. We can call her, She Who Must Not Be Named. She once had the most beautiful pair of sun spectacles that matched the beautiful turquoise of the ocean. But then, a very large unknown force smashed them, and her heart was broken. After much sadness, she finally agreed to purchase new sun spectacles. And although these are not her best accessory, the corn rows helped her rock those new shades. Two beautiful sunny days allowed her to cherish the new purchase. Until, the same large unknown force took them away from her. She Who Must Not Be Named has learned a valuable lesson about how well she takes care of sun spectacles. End story. Dang, I don’t know who that girl is, but I hope that doesn’t happen to me. Today we left Gilligan’s Island…er…bay and took off towards our next destination. Our group did well staying in the diamond formation, and Emma did well peeing at every break. We made it to Punta Pescador in good time and were extremely anxious to get in the water and snorkel. But first, we discussed a book report, and a controversial issue. When we made it to the water the sun was almost behind the mountains, but gave us just enough time to explore the wonders of the ocean before it retired for the night. It was extremely funny to come to the surface and hear all the gasps of excitement coming from the snorkels. That was truly an experience that I will never forget. We then got a nice dinner after the sun went down. When we went to the water to rinse our food bowls we witnessed something amazing, bioluminescent algae! Every time we moved the shore line lit up with specs of green that reminded me of stars. It was simply amazing. Despite falling down a hill and ruining my favorite shorts, and some girl breaking her sunglasses, as well as cutting my hand, today was another good day on our ECOEE adventure. Francisco ended our night with a much needed and well said debrief that I am now going to stare into the stars and reflect on. Happy day 91, good night my fellow ECOEEANS.

P.S the finding nemo band aid on my cut is reminding me to just keep swimming.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

First Day Kayaking

By: Chris Friday
November 9, 2017
Our first day kayaking began painfully early with a 5am wakeup. The stars were still out and I don’t think I could have survived without a monster to assist me in waking up. When we got onto the water, I almost immediately had issues as my right Rutter peddle broke off. Ashley and I had to go back to shore to have Jeff and Francisco repair it for me. They got it back on rather quickly and off we went. We unfortunately didn’t get far however, as the same peddle broke off yet again for me about two minutes later. I guess I’m too rough on the peddles according to Francisco.  This time, Francisco got a whole new peddle to attach on and this time we really were off and on our way. Just barely into our journey and we got our first taste of ocean wildlife as an unknown shark made an appearance next to the boat of Sean and Emily. As we kayaked down the bay here in Bahia De Los Angelas, I couldn’t help make comparisons to canoeing in Canada. They are two vastly different landscapes, but match each other in how beautiful they can be. We approached a no wake zone where we encountered a Whale Shark. This is hands down one of the coolest things I have seen thus far on this trip. The massive creature passed right through our convoy of kayaks and we all stopped in awe until Francisco told us to keep paddling. The shore of our destination was in sight, but it never really seemed to get any closer no matter how much we paddled. Finally, we arrived at a nice little beach with the S.S. Minnow to greet us. We all devoured our lunch of PB&J tortilla wraps like we haven’t eaten in days. After a few lessons, most of decided to go snorkeling around some rocks by our beach. Kara taught us all the ins and outs of how to snorkel properly. We saw some fish and starfish, but nothing to spectacular. When cooking dinner, Emily so how managed to break a spoon while cooking spaghetti, something only Emily is capable of doing. Our spaghetti was a tad lumpy due to noodles sticking together. Right before we got together for dinner, Kara and Tracy returned from some nearby rocks where we learned Kara had hurt her foot, yet again. Her feet have really been in a bad way this trip. Luckily she has Tracy and her corn rows to help her move around. Tomorrow we begin our second day of our kayak trip, which I’m sure has some more interesting things in store for it. Our camp is currently being surrounded by coyotes as they plot to make their assault on our camp. I hope all of stuff is still here in the morning.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tik Tok

By: Kara Sahagian
November 8, 2017

(Read in the tune of Kesha’s song called Tik-Tok): Woke up in the morning feeling like K-ditty. I got no glasses or contacts in to see this city. Before I got off my cot, saw the time was wack. Daylight savings started Sunday so we set our time back…alright enough of that. I was not sure how to start this journal entry and that was what popped into my mind. I got a little carried away. We did actually notice we had been going three days without setting our time back for daylight savings though. Once we finally got that settled, we started getting our gear for kayak training. Austin, Tracy, Chris and I started out in the ocean learning kayak basics with Francisco. He taught us different paddling strokes and how to flip properly in our kayaks. Some of us even learned what salt water tastes like. While the other group switched with us for their training, we got to relax in the sun and soak up Bay of LA’s beauty. The diverse landscape is breathtaking. We are blessed to be a part of the few that get to take on the challenge of ECOEE and have class in the most amazing and adventurous places. When the second group got back, we learned that a few of them were great at flipping…a little too great. We were taught lessons on the importance of learning first aid, ethical issues within experiential education, as well as how to tie the timer-hitch knot. Once all lessons were taught, we decided to all go out to eat as a group for dinner. While there, Emily got a horchata drink for her 21st birthday (rice water). What a time to be alive. We got back to Casa Azul and hurried to get packed for our kayak expedition. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, it was a great day to be alive in Bahia De Los Angeles.

Monday, November 6, 2017

By: Emma Ngati
November 6, 2017

It is day 87 and the ECOEE sickness now had three more victims. The group left Chris, Boz, and I this morning to go see three more caves. Boz and I played an epic game of 100 dots. We slept, ate some food, and slept some more. When the group arrived back to camp Ricardo and Ramon let some of us ride their mules. We each got to be cowboys for a few moments. A little over halfway through the hike back to Santa Teresa. We stopped to let the mules pass. Ramon’s mule was freed up because he left to go check on his goats. They offered to ride one of us back. We continued on our way back to Santa Teresa and made it back a little after 3 pm. Once we were settled, Chris gave us a report on his book Outdoor Leadership. It is a good book for any aspiring leader and especially applicable for us folks on ECOEE. Leadership is an ongoing process, it does not happen overnight, which is something I must remind myself of on a daily basis. Chris left us all with a very important question of “why do we lead?” I hope all of us took some time to reflect on that, and maybe even give us the motivation we need to finish this trip. After an intense game of ninja with Sean, Kara, Chris, and Ashley, we ate dinner then got settled into our sleeping bags. Tomorrow will be a long day with an early start. I am so thankful that I am feeling better for this hike back to Guadeloupe. I am waiting patiently for my bedtime cheesecake then off to bed I will go.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Santa Teresa

By: Emily Maze
November 4, 2017
I woke up forgetting that I was under Francisco’s truck for protection from the light rain last night. French toast was the lovely breakfast we had before our hike to Santa Teresa. We hiked to Ramon, his two friends, and the mules and burros. While packing our food to go on the burros, we bought cowhide knife holsters made the same way as ancient ones. Jeff picked up our packs and deemed them too heavy, so most of us unpacked and left unnecessary stuff in the van. Then, we started our hike to Santa Teresa.

            We hiked about three hours on a narrow rocky dirt path before arriving. Along the hike, we unfortunately found out Chris, Emma, and Boz felt pretty sick. Hopefully they’ll sleep it off and wake up better. Jeff gave us some more riddles and Ashley solved her first one. The riddle from two days ago is in the eye of the “bee holder”.

            Tracy discussed her misadventure scenario on novice students kayaking seven miles across a wavy sea while the instructor pontooned too far ahead and lost sight of the students. I taught how to tie a double bowline and Ricardo joined in. He tied it on his first try and said they call it a neck knot for burros. Kara taught how to tie a bowline on a bight. Ricardo demonstrated the box braid with four pieces of grass and Tracy caught on. He also created a Chinese finger trap out of grass and proceeded to have all of us put our fingers in it.

            While waiting for our three pots of mac ’n’ cheese for dinner, I clogged my second toilet in Baja California. I tried at least five times putting water in the tank and flushing while the three guides watched me come in and out of the bathroom to fill the bucket. They had to radio a woman to come and fix it because there wasn’t a plunger there.

            Austin and I decided to give the group an early night to fight sicknesses. Right now, I am laying on my thermarest and looking at how the walls of the canyon glow from the unseen moon. I can’t wait for the cave paintings!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Casa Azul

By: Emily Maze
November 2, 2017
Today started with a hearty breakfast at a restaurant where most of us got a type of omelet, and then we headed off to Bahia de los Angeles, a ten hour drive. Along the way, Boz learned a lot of cactus names from Francisco. We almost hit a guy skateboarding with his earbuds in in the middle of the road. That was number one of three things we almost hit; number two was a coyote and three a jackrabbit.

            After a few hours, we pulled over for a bathroom break in the desert. Kara’s second time peeing in the desert had a similar result to the first. We heard yelling and Boz came upon a scene where Kara had a mini cactus stuck in her leg. Boz assessed the situation and pulled it out.

            We stopped for lunch where Austin got for the third time an American meal. First, quesadilla, then, pancakes, and now, a burger and fries. Chris had a huge chalice of homemade lemonade.

            For the rest of the trip, Austin and I planned out most of next week with some input from Boz and Francisco. After arriving at Casa Azul, yes it is blue, we went to Guillermo’s to eat. Jeff started what became many riddles. A bee’s in your hand; what’s in your eye? Tracy was the first to figure that one out two hours later with some hints. Austin ate his first true Mexican meal of chicken and cheese enchiladas and he loved it.

            Back at Casa Azul, most of us learned how to set up cots, and then fell asleep. Two more days and we’ll head to the cave paintings.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Border Bound

By: Tracy Ellis
November 1, 217
I do not even think that I can begin to describe the emotions I felt waking up at pyramid point, but I am going to give it a shot anyway. First, I opened up my eyes and was instantly unhappy because my nose was severely plugged, and I did indeed have snot everywhere. Second, I was in awe at the beautiful California scenery that we missed while coming in late at night. Third, excited to be driving through Los Angeles, especially knowing that the final game of the World Series would be happening there that very same day. Fourth, anxious to know that in just a few short hours we will be crossing the border into Mexico where we will be starting the final chapter of this amazing journey. And that is where my fifth and final emotion of the morning hit me like a bag of bricks. I felt thankful. I was thankful that all of these people came in to my life by choice (even if they don’t think so). I felt thankful for Jeff and Boz for bringing me to see and learn in places of the world that I can only hope I’ll visit again. And I felt thankful that we still have more time left on this trip.

            After running just a tad behind schedule, our newly reinstated LOW team pushed us into the van and we took off south through LA, along the coast, through San Diego, and finally to the border. With passports in hand, we purchased our visas, got the van checked, and happily moved forward. We had the beautiful pacific ocean to our right the whole time as we made our way towards our destination of the night; Ensenada. Once we arrived, I was almost instantly captivated by the busy lifestyle that I was seeing. Everyone was outside walking to their destinations and often waving and looking happy to socialize. I couldn’t help but feel that maybe socializing is something I am good at, and because of this, I am going to be very happy here. We then met our new group member/leader, Francisco, and together our new and improved group went out for dinner. I learned two things while at this dinner. 1. I can, and will, eat all Hispanic food placed in front of me with little to no self-control. 2. Emily will not. This is due to her delicate taste buds that do not do well with spicy foods. Which is totally fine, because that means more for me.

            After a long day of traveling we took a windy and bumpy road up to Francisco’s ranch where we retired for the night. Ashley and I found comfort on a bed, and I slept very soundly. Despite my nose still being plugged. And although we ate three meals, I only got the chance to say one quote. And this makes me feel very cheated. Cheated of the chance to bless your ears and eyes with another Harry Potter quote. So to make up for it, I will end this journal entry with one instead.

“It is our choices that show what we really are, far more than our abilities”


Monday, October 30, 2017

Day Of Change

Ashley Demers
October 30, 2017

Today we were blessed with some yummy sugar for breakfast! Crepes! That had some amazing cream cheese, cool whip and fruit filling mixture. We packed up the climbing gear and put it back away because we were done climbing. I am actually kind of sad about this I enjoyed climbing, although I definitely need some practice.

After that our plans got a little switched around, when it came to the leadership position. Jeff became our LOW. Our LOW’s were not withholding to the standards. So we packed up our bags and we left Bowler campground. To go to the famous town of Bass Lake where the Great Outdoors was filmed. After we got into town we went to Summit Adventure where Jeff worked here for ten years doing a variety of different positions. They let us so kindly soak up their Wi-Fi and for some of us do our laundry and of course I cannot miss that we were able to take a nice shower.

 Some of us went into a bigger town of Oakhurst to do laundry and buy whatever we needed too. I myself went to a few stores one of them being the dollar store to buy more razors to shave my head again since I don’t have an electric razor. With the help of Emma we were able to get my head shaved lets just say I am glad it is not my whole head, because it took so long. I also kind of bought five monsters, but two of them are not mine.

 While in town I found this cool coffee shop and had some really good pumpkin spice coffee and soaked up some Wi-Fi. They played some great music too, had me jamming.  While soaking up that Wi-Fi I was able to pick out my spring classes and send them off, so someone else could sign up for me. Then the rest of our night was monster and staring deeply into our computer screens. For some the night never ended nor did they ever blink.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Climbing Day

By: Austin Orr
October 29, 2017

Today is the day we finally got climb. We woke up, had breakfast, and divided the gear to carry to our climb site. Little did I know how heavy my pile I choose actually was. All of us were sad to hear to hear we had to leave Tracy behind as she wasn't feeling to well. We loaded up and drove out to a small lot and to my surprise it was only a few minutes from our campsite. As we started our hike I was excited with adrenaline, ready to take on the climb. As we walked up the hillside I was very unsettled walking on ledges smaller than my foot is wide.
After reaching our destination Jeff taught us enough climbing knowledge to be considered dangerous and advised us if we want to learn more to seek other training facilities. We learned how to set up anchors in the rocks and set up 4 different climbing sites. I took one look at the climbs and thought "how do you climb this?" Kara and I started on skyline and Kara manger to climb it with ease. I tied myself in after and couldn't get myself up. I was getting frustrated and soon Kara took another shot at it to show me her path. After that I finally managed to climb up and felt greater success underneath the trembling fear roaring through me. Kara and I moved to the next hardest one where she thought she was always falling. After coming down and we went to get some water and came back to track that was essentially a crack in the rock all the way up. I kept slipping barely getting myself off the ground and left with some battle scars. After Kara attempt I went and got my bag to patch up Sean's battle scars he got on his pinky using his finger strength to try and climb the overhang. After returning Carol was up on the wall attempting the same climb. I tried helping her and had some pretty good laughs from the fun. As we packed up my day was made when Sean found a common garter snake. This was the first snake ECOEE had seen. All in all the day was exciting and I can learn a great deal from the experience.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Greatest Adventure

By: Kara Sahagian
October 28, 2017

I have been overwhelmed by the amount of homework I need to get done. I have spent the last few days soul searching about where I am now and where I want to be by the end of the expedition (which is way too close to being here). I am thinking back to the beginning of the expedition. In many ways I have grown personally and created a new outlook on life. With a 120-day expedition, you are bound to have days that are not your best. Today was one of those days for me. I have learned to appreciate these days. They make me take a step back and try to look for a new perspective on things. They challenge me and help me grow. I am still extremely grateful for the experience of being on ECOEE. I would not trade it for the world.  I catch myself caring a great deal for my ECOEE 2017 family whether they know it or not. These adventures and memories will last me a lifetime.

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on the person you are.” C.S. Lewis

Friday, October 27, 2017

Getting to Bowler

Chris Friday
October 27th

This morning began with a quality breakfast from Ashley of French toast and bacon. Many of us thought we wouldn’t be getting out of Yosemite due to our van striking an illness and not wanting to start. Thankfully, a nice man with a pickup truck helped cure it. Before we left Yosemite, we stopped at Glacier Point, mildly illegally with our trailer attached. It was a truly beautiful view of pretty much the entire valley. What I thought to be the most interesting part was that we could see where the forest fire was occurring. We couldn’t see any sort of flames, but a large section of smoke was visible. After this, we made our way to Oakhurst to go shopping. Us leaving was slightly delayed as Jeff ran off to a sandwich shop with the card we needed to pay with. I must say it was quite amusing to hear “Jeff Tindall to check out” ring throughout the store. Once all the groceries were packed up, we went to a gas station nearby where Emma realized her phone was gone. She learned here not to trust technology as Find My Iphone claimed her phone was at a destination we had not traveled to, but in a grocery bag in the trailer. Better than in her backpack again I suppose. Once the phone was found and we got gassed up, we made our way through Bass Lake where we learned where The Great Outdoors was filmed. Now we have taken residence in Bowler Campground where Ashley had us create several different kinds of poop out of Plato. It was definitely one of the more entertaining outdoor ed lessons so far. Tomorrow we begin our climbing seminar. I hope it goes well for us

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Teton Science School

Sean Dowling
October 17, 2017

Today we woke up very early in the morning, around 5:30am, because today we were visiting the Teton Science School and had over an hour drive to get there. After shiver through our breakfast and packing things up, we headed out. on the bright side of getting up early, we saw some awesome views of the Tetons and even two moose, though it seemed like the sun was trying to blind us for looking in their direction. When we pulled into TSS, we were greeted by Jordan who gave us one of the greatest gifts you could give someone in the morning; coffee. After a brief description of what TSS does and how they design their curriculum, he sent us off to view how they work in their different groups. Today they had some middle school kids from St. Anthony's. Boz, Kara, and I saw the TSS instructor, Sam. He lead them in a lesson about Geology. He started them off by having them do a team building exercise called "chocolate river" and taught them one of my favorite games called "camouflage". Everyone then headed out to continue the lesson on a trail loop in the Tetons. There, Sam taught the group how old the rocks were and gave us all a dance lesson with Rockity -Rock-Rock while we learned the three types of rocks. Throughout the hike, students did a skit about the rocks types, investigated some scats and tracks on the trail, and made their own stories about rocks they had found and their journey to how they found them. We could not stay with them the whole day sadly but before we left they gave us "three cheers" and a heartful goodbye. Walking back to the van, the three of us got to see a huge bull moose while crossing a bridge over Glacier Lake, which made arriving back at the parking lot a tad late worth it. We then went back to TSS to finish the day with a more in depth discussion with Jordan. When we got there, he surprised us with even more gifts of coffee cake and more coffee! What a great guy! After a video, discussing our day, TSS, and our future plans, Jordan then introduced us to a wonderful lady named Dorris, who Boz was overly excited to meet. Dorris spun and dyed her own wool that she used to make a variety of things from colorful butt pads, tapestries, and even 3D animals like bison and sheep. She then let some of us try a team braiding technique that they spent a good time trying to do and having lots of fun doing it. Before we left, we had to give some gifts of our own to Jordan, Dorris, and the three instructors we followed before giving our goodbyes. We then headed to our campsite and to keep this short was a small adventure in itself.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Yosemite Adventures

Kara Sahagian
October 25, 2017

This morning Tracy and I woke up well rested, warm, safe, and free from falling pinecones. Why you might ask? Because we slept in a tent! We were blessed again when we all stuffed our bellies full of Austin's wonderful breakfast. Thanks, again, Emma, for making the fluffiest warm pancakes only an angel could make. We cleaned the kitchen up and packed into the one van to see some sequoia trees. I knew sequoias were big trees but I did not actually know until I saw them in person. My mind was blown. The rest of the day we had to ourselves. Some of us went to the visitor center and then the village store. Once we were done being typical tourists, Sean and I sat at the shuttle stop waiting for a shuttle so that we could take a glorious shower at our next stop. We waited and waited. I was getting antsy. I kept thinking about that shower. Why wasn't a bus coming? I went to look for times that the shuttles ran when I saw it...A white sign that said :This shuttle stop is closed. Please go to stop #4 for the next shuttle." I cannot begin to describe how stupid I felt. We successfully got onto the next available shuttle towards the marvelous showers. Once I got into the women's bathroom, my joy quickly turned into sadness as I saw around 15 high school school girls an their teachers waiting in line to get a shower. One by one, I moved up the line. I wanted to cry tears of happiness but I knew these ladies would not understand the struggle of how rare a shower is on ECOEE. I held the tears in as I walked down to the newly opened shower. The steaming hot shower did not disappoint. Thank you, Yosemite for your beloved, warm showers. ECOEE 2017 is grateful. I was so clean that I did not even care that I got lost on my back to camp. Thanks to our wonderful graduate assistant, I was rescued. This reason #43 on why she gets paid the big bucks.