Saturday, October 14, 2017

Different Lifestyle

Ashley Demers

It’s the middle of the night, I’m awake and staring at the ceiling…confused…asking myself what’s that dim light I see, I look around more I see more lights, I’m hearing this noise oh yeah I forgot I’m in a building. That light is the fire alarm and the other electronics. Waking up to not having to make breakfast and to just walking down the hall to the continental breakfast was so odd, I still can’t believe it’s happening and the day is over. Most of us got our fix of waffles that we sadly cannot make on ECOEE. After we fill our bellies with food we did not have to make, we started our debriefs of our old LOW’s, of out tent groups and how the Teton expedition went. While in my tent group evaluation my stomach was aching, it started bubbling and I knew if I did not do anything about it soon I was going to puke. I ran and got tums that I hate so much stood there a second and went back. Long story short don’t down handfuls of M&M’s in the matter of an hour, it’ll make you sick to your stomach. After that and after our expedition debrief we all learned that the cold is not really for us besides Chris he functions well in the mountains and the cold. A few of us had to go shopping and most ended up going. On our way back there was a rumor of a really good huckleberry milkshake in town. Jeff stopped for us and we ran indoors. My mouth salivating, I bought myself a purple monster, which was huckleberry and Oreo ice cream. Let’s just say I wanted like 50 of these shakes. We ended our night with a great meal and a nice dip in the hot tub.

            “When we open our eyes to nature, we discover new things with their own stories to tell…” MB

Friday, October 13, 2017

Out of the Cold

Sean Dowling

After wiggling my way out of my sleeping bag I couldn’t help but notice something strange, something different from the other mornings I have woken to in the Tetons… I wasn’t shivering! It was both strange and fantastic since a kind hiker warned us that a snowstorm was heading for us either today or the night before. Unfortunately, my excitement didn’t last too long because after climbing to the top of our large rock to cook breakfast I could see out in the distance about the mountains that he was right… Winter is coming. We quickly ate our hash browns and oatmeal, packed our bags, and retraced our steps out of the Tetons. Though our time was short in these mountains we did get to see two fantastic views, a moose taking a leisurely stroll, and plenty of evidence of a grizzly, who may or may not have visited our tents a couple of nights. When we made it out, it was time for some overdue cleaning of our kitchenware, trailer, and a mouse hunt that felt more like a wild goose chase (For some of us the thought of finding a mouse was more frightening than a grizzly bear.) When all our chores were done my fellow LOW, future Low, and I got a wonderful idea from two little birdies. What was the best way to get a shower, do laundry, wash our clothes, and get Wi-Fi to work on our assignments… A hotel! But on an Outdoor Education Expedition!? Can’t be, couldn’t be, shouldn’t be… Why not? So after one last meal from our rations that’s exactly what we did. We got four rooms for our group at the nicest Super 8 we had ever seen, or maybe that just what almost two months of camping does to our perspectives. All I know is that this seems like a dream. Comfy beds, carpeted floors, T.V.!!! Wasn’t I just waking up in the Tetons? If this is a dream and do wake up back there I just might cry a little.

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in play. Use both and overlook neither.” – Alan Cohen

Hike Log:
            Start: 10:19
            Break: 10:34
            Break Ends: 10: 39
            Check-In: 10:54
            Break: 11:06
            Break Ends: 11:13
            Check-In: 11:28

            Hike Ends: 11:39 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mount Wantahachaloogie

Ashley Demers

The day started off with Kara coming into the tent and telling us her story about her night of no sleep and a dark shadow believed to be a bear, as well as the truth of how stinky Tracy, Chris and I are in our sleep. After that we tucked Kara in and began our day and of course we struggled with our stove but coffee was made with the help of the other tent group, so all was good. We started our long hike trying to make it too sheep steps. Along the way we had some slips and about two hours into the hike my legs gave out and I fell deep into the snow, its safe to say that the snow ate me. As we got further along the trail less footprints were to be seen. We got to the point where the snow was so deep we looked like cute little corgi’s hopping in a line through the snow. We started racing with the clock and 2:00pm came around so we stopped where we were, and climbed to a rock and looked out at the view. Trying to catch my breathe from awe, looking out you could see all of the valley and even more. While enjoying the view it sank in more and more and it’s safe to say I’m in love with the mountains, and I never thought I’d say that. While being up there Tracy said to us, ‘Hey guys I’ll say shark bate, you say ooh ahh ahh’, so Tracy says ‘Shark bate’ and Emma panics and just screams instead, while the rest of us say ‘ooh ahh ahh’. Okay writing it down wasn’t so funny but to us it is. As we made our hike back down we all told our stories of one another, which was hysterical! We made our dinner slowly and struggling, while also making a lot again. As I’m now sitting in the tent the mega lite, with it nicely tied down and all of our stuff along the edges, Tracy nuked Kara and I to the point where we were dying. On the bright side the bear won’t come and visit this stinky tent.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Hard Days Night

Kara Sahagian
October 11, 2017
I woke up this morning to the realization that I had forgotten to take out my contacts. Then after forcing myself out of my warm sleeping bag into the cold, mountain, air I went to put on my frozen boots. It took me a half hour to pry them on this morning. Partially due to my sore heel. Once I got my bear bag in order to make breakfast, my tent group and I struggled to get our stove working. We finally did it though and we ate a hearty breakfast of coco wheats. We tried getting the stove working again for coffee but it would not get started and we ran out of time. I wasn’t sure how we would make it through the day without our most important morning drink. We started our day-hike up Devil’s Stairs trail rather groggy and sluggish due to our coffee deprivation. My heel was in a lot of pain again and I did not understand why my little blister was hurting my heel so bad and sending a pain up my tendon. The thought of turning back raced through my mind but I quickly chased it off. I kept on trucking and when we reached the top, I saw one of the best views my eyes had ever seen. My heart was racing. Not because of being tired or the elevation. It was racing because I was in awe and wonder. I still can’t believe I am on the greatest adventure of my life with the greatest people to share these memories with. I hobbled back down the trail and when we got to camp, I found out that my pain was not my blister at all but it was in fact tendonitis. Now I have to take the hardest test of ECOEE so far and probably the one that will make me grow the post and that is learning how to take care of myself.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 10, 2017

Chris Friday
October 10, 2017
This morning began exactly how last night ended, in complete disarray. Our entire tent group had slept through three alarms and awoke to Sean telling us it was almost eight. Him and I our trek back to the van in search of new stove parts. We had hoped to reward ourselves when we got back to the van with a lovely outhouse poop, but sadly none of them had any toilet paper available. On top of this, one of the stoves had a wrong part to it and the other has proven to be a massive pain in the butt thus far. This was due to some aspect of it needing maintenance. It took much pumping, but we finally got it to light. Shortly thereafter, Ashley decided to try and eat some white gas and let out a shriek, causing Boz to come and see why she was dying. During all this, Tracy, Kara, and Ashley were all saying how they better not be scout or smoother for today. Of course, Ashley ended up being scout and Tracy ended up being smoother. At the start of our journey, Ashley was assaulted by a branch causing her face to bleed. She left the blood on all day as a reminder of how tough she really can be. Our hike was not nearly as long as it once was planned on, which is probably a good thing considering how tired we all were by the end of it. My group of misfits is now making a dish of ramen surprise.  After this we will begin our quest to hang our bear bags again. If you all heard us last night, you know this is a struggle for us. Hopefully we can do it under an hour and half this time. I’ll let you all know in the morning on how this task went for us four this time around.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Tetons: Day One

Emma Ngati
October 9, 2017

Today was not the most grateful start for our group. Although we started the day with a heaping plateful of warm pancakes, bacon, and eggs we ended up being two hours behind schedule. It didn’t help that when we arrived at the trail head Sean and I didn’t know where we were on the maps. We headed south into the Tetons and shortly thereafter realized we had taken the wrong route. We decided to cut across the creek to get to out campsite which ended up being a really interesting endeavor. Unfortunately four of us ended up with soaking wet feet and it was only day one. But it couldn’t get any worse right? WRONG… Once set up at camp we found out that two out of three of our stoves were not working. How convenient.  Hanging up bear bags was quite the challenge especially for me since I cannot throw anything to save my life. I better start working on it since a bear bag could very well save my life in the mountains. Tomorrow lies a fresh start and hopefully I will learn from my mistakes today and not make the same ones tomorrow I missed falling asleep to the sound of running water and tonight and for six more nights I will have the sound of the backcountry singing me to sleep. I can only hope everyone’s toes stay warm tonight, tomorrow we are headed straight into the mountains and I cannot wait to find out what they have to teach me. As Gary and I’m sure many others have said, “Never underestimate the healing power of nature”

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Limbo Teton Day

Chris Friday
October 8, 2017 

This morning I awoke to the sound of snow pirates bombarding my vessel, trying to get me to surrender my booty. They knew I was vulnerable for I was alone in my tent for the first time on this trip. I didn’t budge though. Today marked the first day going at this expedition with only eight members, as Bob had made his departure the previous day. I must say, it was weird going to bed last night to an empty tent, but then I had my own tent so that was pretty sweet. When I finally did emerge from my snow-covered tent, I found several of us creating a mini snow man dubbed Winston. He bore a striking resemblance to our president, although he was a little less orange than the Trump critter. After the completion of Winston, we ate some biscuits and gravy prepared by the Emily creature. After we had  a lengthy meeting on what exactly had occurred with Bob and the rest of the group. Much needed light was shed on several situations throughout the meeting. The snow had begun to pile up and the cold was beginning to settle into many of us, so we decided to take shelter in the nearby town for the day. Due to the Mormon lifestyle, much of the town was closed up. We found a nice little bakery place where the nice owner lady let us set up home upstairs, which was probably the most comfortable place many of us had been in the past few weeks. Austin may or may not have been served a mimosa and I had the best coffee cake I have ever had. I licked the plate clean because of it trying to get any remaining crumbs. Sadly, we could only stay until two, for it was closing so we moved onto the town’s recreation center to mooch off of their wifi for a while. I didn’t stay there long though, for I set out to find some food with a few companions. We found a bar called Royal Wolf. Of course, as soon as we left and got back to the rest of the group, the rest of the group decided it was time to eat themselves. Even better, they decided to go to the bar we had just left. Once the rest of the group had been fed, we made our way back to camp where we made hot drinks and cleaned tables off. I am sorry I couldn’t clean off more of the ice, I tried my best. Tomorrow we embark on our journey into the mountains. I for one, and may be the only one, am very excited for this portion of the expedition. I have been looking forward to this since the first draft of the itinerary was made. I wish anyone who struggles with the cold, good luck and keep your feet dry. Let us begin!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Jackson Hole Food Coma

Kara Sahagian
I woke up this morning having a whole eight hours of sleep.
I am hoping this will become a normal thing for me. It feels nice and refreshing. Today will be the first day that I did not have to be a leader of the week in fourteen days. I am both excited and sad about it. I learned so much about myself in the last two weeks. Once we ate our bomb (aka: amazingly good) breakfast, we did LOW debrief and then headed out to drop off one of our fellow ECOEE 2017 members at the car dealership to head home. We will all miss our Uncle Bob. Before we headed back to camp, we shopped for warm gear and quickly realized that I wish I won the lottery to afford one pair of pants from that store. I also learned that Jackson Hole, Wyoming can cook up some mean Mexican food. We enjoyed our van ride back because it was filled with music of the Beatles. My food coma is so strong right now that once I put this pen down, I will hardcore sleep for eight more hours tonight. Goodnight.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Traveling To The Tetons

Austin Orr
The morning was a nice slow start as we got to sleep in. This was a nice change especially since I got little sleep the night before. The drive to our first stop in Rexburg was short. We went to Walmart to get the final items for our rations, which was surprisingly not much, and any personal items. We then loaded up after finishing shopping and eating lunch to finish the drive past Driggs to reunion flat campground. After arriving we unloaded and relaxed, or at least some did. After Sean and I finished setting up our tent I grabbed all of my bags to find all of my dirty, smelly, and food covered clothes and put them all in my 40 liter dry bag. During this, the realization that we have no water spout sunk in. We are soon going to be getting back into the routine of filtering water. It might be more rewarding but I still don't like it. Ashley and I went exploring just to be sure that none of the spouts worked. While walking Ashley thought she saw a man but we kept walking. After backtracking we saw a trail. When we walked down it we discovered the man wasn't a man at all, it was just Bob. We checked out the creek and found little shelters built up and down it. Chow circle was an interesting one as when I sneezed I didn't quite cover my nose in time and a few boogers flew across and landed on Boz. Many laughs were had and I was red in embarrassment. Boz and I couldn't look at one another. After we got ourselves under control we had manwiches for supper as we were reminded manwiches are a meal.

Almost forgot that we had lost our beloved Papa Jeff who had to go find someone to jumpstart the van. Lesson learned don't charge electronics when only the heat is on.

After his return we all slowly calm down from our sugar highs of frosting, graham crackers, and chocolate and started finishing cleaning up camp. I sat down to work on this journal and could feel the breeze picking up. Only too my surprise it wasn't the breeze but a mouse running up and down my thigh. If I had to get up close and personal with any Wildlife I am glad it was that Mouse and not a bear or a wolf. I personally can't wait to see what the Tetons bring us.

"Being called weird is like being called limited edition. It means you're something people don't see that often. Remember that."  -Dr Who.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Mt. Washburn

Sean Dowling

Today was a special day, even though it was our last full day in Yellow Stone. Not only did I get to sleep in a little later this morning but I also didn’t have to expose my hands to the bitter cold while cooking or cleaning dishes. What a Great start! Instead I sat in the warm bathroom, charging my phone and reading my assigned book while waiting for a hearty breakfast of cinnamon toast, bacon, and cuties… sweethearts… tangerines… or whatever you want to call those tiny oranges. This fueled us up for a nice long hike to the top of Mt. Washburn. Not sure what we were getting into we zipped up our coats, put on our mittens, and pushed forward. It was long before we realized how important breathing is and how easily it was to build up a sweat even when there’s snow on the ground. Before reaching the top we came across a strange Earth Child who taught us to think differently about the fires in Yellow Stone. At this point a few of us decided to finish off the hike to the top where we took some fantastic pictures of the view around us and checked out the visitor center inside the Fire Watch Station. Then it was time for the easy part, walking back down where we came. On the way back down we came across another stranger was also eager to share some knowledge and a story about a trapper named John Coulter and why we should never get on the bad side of a Native American tribe. When we finally made it back down to the bottom of Mt. Washburn we braked for a well deserved and delicious lunch before heading to Canyon Village where most of the group got ice cream. A strange treat after walking through snow. We then got then got some more great pictures at the Grand Canyon of Yellow Stone. At this point you could tell it was getting later in the day because our group was beginning to get a little goofy… well goofier than normal. On our way to our last stop we noticed a large gathering of tourists seemingly looking at nothing. Thankfully we stopped to ask because apparently they had spotted wolves! We all quickly grabbed our binoculars and began looking with them, but after short glimpses of their heads behind cover we moved on and got yet another lesson from a stranger about Indians, white men, and National Parks. On the drive back we stopped one more time at the wolf sighting where only a few tourists remained. And then it happened! Those who were patient enough to wait and lucky enough to stop were blessed with the sighting of at least 7 wolves walking in a line way out across an open field. Though they were still small, almost blobs in my binoculars I can still take away this Yellow Stone trip as a complete success because when we get back to school we can really make our classmates and professors (Hemmingway) jealous of our experience.