Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weeks 1-3

I wrote this yesterday (June 15th) afternoon but have not been able to post it until today.  Just FYI…

We survived our first week with campers!  However, I shouldn’t say survived because the group was wonderful and a lot of fun to work with. 

Week 1 kicked off on Sunday, May 29th with a group of 17 soon to be 10th graders and 3 of their teachers from Veritas Academy in Austin, TX.  They did a typical base camp week complete with team building initiatives, high ropes, rock climbing, rappelling, peak climb and white water rafting.  The group grew so much during the week!  A lot of trust was built among the group, personal fears and doubts were demolished, and many (if not all) of the kids grew closer in their walk with God.  Throughout the week clique lines became more and more blurred, and all of the kids said they wanted to bring the new found unity of their group back to their school in the coming year.  Overall, it was the best way I could think of to start of a summer!
Sunrise on the hike up Grassy 
Veritas hiking up Grassy 
Redcloud has been building a new shower house and yurt on our side of camp, but they have been leaving a lot of construction mess behind.  Because of that, our big work project so far this summer has been cleaning up the brush, concrete, and other stuff around the construction site. 
Fritz (aka: chainsaw master) 
Nick riding some of the larger chunks of wood out to the burn pile
A few weekends ago we went to Gunnison to climb at Hartman’s and get some groceries.  I was able to sport lead a climb and was doing just fine but then Nick told me to stop and purposely fall.  He wanted me to know what it would feel like to fall on a lead climb so I wouldn’t be afraid of falling anymore.  I was preparing myself for what would be about an 8 foot fall when all of a sudden I feel a strong pull on my rope and fall down unexpectedly.  Apparently Nick got impatient with me and decided to pull me off the rock.  It was for the better that he did it because now I’m a bit less afraid of falling on a lead climb but I did bang up my knee pretty good. 

Climbing the Pinnacle at Hartman's
In case you are wondering what a sport lead climb is I will explain.  There are four types of rock climbing: top rope, sport climbing, trad climbing, and aid climbing.  Top rope climbing is when the rope is put through an ancor point at the top of a climb and the climber is at one end of the rope and the belayer is at the other end.  In this style of climbing you do not fall hardly at all if you loose your grip on the rock.  Sport and trad climbing are quite similar.  They both involve attaching your rope to the rock as your climb up.  In sport climbing you attach quick-draws to bolts that are drilled into the rock.  In trad climbing you place things directly into cracks and holes in the rock.  Aid climbing is where you use things like nylon ladders to climb to the top of a rock wall.  This type of climbing is usually only used in mountaineering and rescue missions.  Here is a website that explains things a bit better and has pictures  

Week 2 we had no groups or campers in so we had several work projects and other training items to complete.  The favorite activity of the week was our peak hike training up Sunshine Peak (14,001 ft above sea level) and Redcloud Peak (14,034 ft above sea level).  We started on the trail at about 5:30am and got back to camp around 7:30pm.  Needless to say we were all worn out after that but it was probably one of my favorite peak climbs that I’ve been on!  The hike up was steep and long but the view from the top made it all worth it.  We spent nearly an hour at the top of Sunshine taking pictures and what not and then hiked across the saddle to Redcloud where we ceremoniously painted our faces with the red dirt that is up there.  The way down was made a thousand times better because of glissading (aka: sliding down snowy slopes on your backside).  I was able to get going the fastest which we decided was because I’m from MN and go sledding a lot.  However, it was most likely because I was wearing my waterproof pants that slide well on snow. 
Hiking up Sunshine (it's the peak on the left)
The men at the top of Sunshine with their ice axes
On top of Redcloud with red dirt facepaint
This week (week 3) we have three different groups in: ATC backpacking trip, open sign-up base camp, and a group from Family Life Church just outside of Houston, TX.  I was supposed to be on the latter of the three groups but because of the change of events I described in my last little post I am on the open sign-up base camp with 6 boys and 1 girl.  This group has definitely had its challenges but I know God brought each of them here for a reason and I’m excited to see how exactly he’ll use this week for his glory. 

Today the group is hiking up 13,811 (a peak in the area) and I just learned that they have summited.  Why am I not with them?  Well, I’ve been imprisoned in the infirmary the past few days.  When we got back from rock climbing on Monday I started to feel like my stomach was doing backflips.  I thought it was just some heartburn that would go away in a few hours but later that night my innards decided they wanted to be outards and I had a fever.  So, I’ve been hanging out in the sick ward with several other ill staff.  On the bright side, God has been teaching me a few things through this experience and I’ve been able to have some good conversation with a couple of gals from family camp.  I am feeling much better now, though, and I will most likely be going white water rafting for my birthday tomorrow!  J

Next week, our only group canceled on us so we will again be working on projects around camp.  Two of our guides will still be out with the 10 day ATC backpack trip, but for the rest of us we will have some more team bonding time and work projects. 

Prayer Requests:
- Health among Expeditions staff – over half of us have spent time in the infirmary
- The kids on this week’s base camp
- Safety for the guys on the ATC trip
- That we don’t get bored with work projects next week
- That the MN Twin's continue to win more games than lose!

Also… Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  You’re the best dad a girl could ask for!  Thanks for all you’ve done in my life!  I love you and I can’t wait to see you in a couple months out here!

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