American Frontiers PLIADOIBLMUSDA FSGeography Action from NGSHondaColemanCoca-Cola
Search
About
Dispatches
The Trek


The Trek

The Teams
Read bios about the team members and see photos.

Team Member Journals
Read online journals filled out by members of both Trek teams. Search by date, place and more.

Interactive and Downloadable Maps

Related Events

Trek Itinerary

Media Center



Exhibits
Lessons
Geo Action

PLIC Museum
Home

 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Michelle Williams
Monday, August 26
Oh, Happy Day
I am sitting in a conference room at the Birch Creek Outdoor Education Center. I bet itís a little different than most conference rooms. The ceilings are vaulted with exposed wooden beams, the windows are far taller than I, there is a cozy fireplace and several couches and the walls are decorated with furs and trophy heads of animals. The last part may be a little unsettling for the likes of me but the rest of it is just lovely. Iím looking out a window into the Beaverhead/Deerlodge National Forest, where this morning I watched a lonely moose amble his way up the mountain. Itís been a crazy 24 hours, and today, so far, even at 10 AM, has been exactly what I needed to center my head and heart.

Yesterday started at 6 AM. The trekkers had four legs to their journey, two ATV rides and two hikes. The support team met them at the end of each leg, to deliver or take away the ATVs and do some four-wheeling and hiking as well. This was actually pretty great because we got to ride the ATVs while the trekkers were hiking. The four-wheeling was my least favorite. Iíve never really done it before, always preferring my own feet or that of a horse. So I wasnít sure what to expect, but I happened to be in the back seat, and the terrain was really rough, so I was thrown around pretty badly and spent most of the time wishing it was over. We were going up a mountain, through some rocky, steep terrain, and I kept wondering if I could just climb out and hike. I was in the front seat on the way down, though, and that was much better. It seems to me that four-wheeling is probably really fun if you are driving, but as a passenger, all you can do is hang on. I think Iíll stick to my own feet, given the opportunity.

The ATV riding was another story. Great fun, and while I was doing it we stayed on mountain roads, so we werenít tearing up any ground and we could go fast! I got a kick out of that. In the middle of our short ride, we stopped in an old abandoned mining town. We drove through it on our way to meet the trekkers, and all I remember seeing was an old smokestack and two ramshackle structures. But when we got off our ATVs and actually explored, we found the remains of a town that once housed 1000 people. We met a recreation ranger who gave us some history on the spot. It was called Glendale, and in its heyday there were grocery stores, tanneries, banks, blacksmiths- every turn-of-the-century convenience you could think of, including 13 bars. Plenty of places to drink whiskey. The mines themselves were up the road a ways but the buildings that processed the ore were all right here in the center of town. The smokestack was in almost perfect condition, and remains of the smelting process were all over. There was a huge pile of slag, which is what is left over after smelting- mounds and mounds of man-made obsidian. At one point, there were five of us climbing over this mountain of black, shiny, sharp rock, looking for ore still embedded in the pieces and exclaiming at the shapes and sizes we found. This was a silver mining town, and its boom was during the 1880s. Now, rather than miners and their families, the site is heavily populated with wildflowers and magpies and rattlesnakes. It was such a neat spot to explore.

Next came the daunting 4X4 ride. We were going up this mountain to meet the trekkers for the last time of the day to take the ATVs back to camp as they hiked. I, sadly, didnít get to go on this leg of the ATV trip, which is how I also got to take the 4X4 ride down the mountain. I was headed back to camp to start packing up for our next move as I waited for the support team ATVers to ride their way back. When they finally came in, I learned of our second medical problem of the day. The first happened during the trekkersí morning hike- Rob had been picking his way down a mountain when he slipped a little and he put his hand out to steady himself. His hand crunched down onto a cactus. By the time he got down the mountain, he had picked many of the spines out, but there were still dozens on his hand. Luckily I was there to meet him and I spent about twenty minutes tweezing these fragile but painful little spikes out of his palm. Some of them were too small to see or tweeze, and some so deeply embedded they will have to work their way out. I swabbed his bleeding hand with alcohol and sent him on his way.

The next accident happened to Bob Ashley on his way down the mountain on the ATV. He was following the ATV in front of him when the dust got too thick and he went up on the left side of the trail. This might have been okay, but then he hit a rock on the left side, and the ATV flipped and landed right on him. Luckily, he scrambled mostly out of the way. But he hurt his foot, his tailbone and his shoulder. This really scared me when I heard about it because any spinal compromise can do serious damage and I wasnít there to check him out. But he knew that he shouldnít move until he did a full inventory of his spine (hard to do when itís you lying on the ground) and there was no major pain so eventually he pulled himself up. I guess it scared the beejesus out of Bob V. who was riding right behind him. But Ashley felt good enough to ride home, and when he got there I treated the road rash on his arm and later took a look at his foot. Itís pretty badly bruised but not fractured, and he can walk well, so he iced it and will take it easy the next couple of days.

Funny how I wrote just yesterday that weíve had no big medical problems. These definitely could have been worse, but Iím sure both Rob and Bob were in some pain yesterday. Late last night, Rob found more spines in his hand, and so right before bed I was crouched over his hand again with alcohol and tweezers. Iím afraid that we canít get them all out, and I hope the tenderness in his hand doesnít bother him too much. Certainly, it would take far, far more than that to slow that man down.

Last night was lovely. We got to sleep indoors, in this Outdoor Learning Center, in barrack-like rooms again, just like in Utah during training. I realized this morning that the only part of this trip that is annoying on a daily basis, the only thing about living outside that bothers me, is not having a place to change my clothes. I love sleeping outside, I donít mind the toilet issue, I donít mind the dirt and the wind and usually donít mind the rain and cold, but just getting dressed in the morning is a terrific challenge. Our tents are not exactly roomy, and so putting on a pair of pants requires some degree of contortionism, even for little Ďol me. Waking up, and being able to stand up right out of bed, and then walk to the bathroom and change into a pair of pants, now, that was extraordinary! AndÖ of courseÖ the warmth. Nice to be warm, for a night. Rob, that crazy kid, chose to pitch his tent and sleep just outside the cabin. I wish I could say that I wanted to do that, too, that I did not want to be indoors even for a night, but I canít. I was so happy to be out of the elements, particularly knowing that it is only day 27 out of 60.

So we breakfasted here in the center, with a host of wonderful people (and still under a roof!) and then sent the trekkers off on todayís hike and ATV ride. Two support folks are driving them, another is taking the ATVs to get gassed up, and three more are taking our trusty Hondas into town to get serviced. That left Cheryl and I here to explore this beautiful place, and by 9 AM we were on a nearby trail suggested by Paul, the director of this center. One of the first things we saw was a family of deer- three does and three fauns, breakfasting at the creek. And now I am deep in a couch, typing away. I miss my family. That is my only complaint about my life today. I really, really wish they could be here, even if just for a day, to see the mountains I hiked on this morning, to hang out Bob Ashley as he tells me about tectonic plate shifting, to listen to Bob V. talk about how smart ravens are, to hear Daveís stories about growing up in Iowa, to hear Cheryl talk about her social work in Alaska, to laugh at Paulís terrible and wonderful jokes, to be amazed at 18-year-old Stephenís dizzying intellect, to shake their heads at Charlieís unending fountain of knowledge about everything out-of-doors. Iíve been with these people every day since the 21st of July and I still have things to learn about each of them. But for now, Iím warm, happy, and good. And canít wait to see my family.
for Monday, August 26
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Michelle Williams
No rest for the wicked-- Michelle Williams spends a day at the office, typing up journal entries for the trekkers

   >> more...



List of All Journal Entries
•
Thursday, September 19
Michelle Williams
Back on the Green River
   >> more...

•
Tuesday, September 17
Michelle Williams
Two Days In A Canoe
   >> more...

•
Monday, September 16
Michelle Williams
Jammie Pants and a Wood Cabin
   >> more...

•
Saturday, September 14
Michelle Williams
Wild Horses!
   >> more...

•
Friday, September 13
Michelle Williams
   >> more...

•
Tuesday, September 10
Michelle Williams
Reflections, September 10, 2002
   >> more...

•
Sunday, September 8
Michelle Williams
   >> more...

•
Saturday, September 7
Michelle Williams
Saturday Night Near Jackson Hole
   >> more...

•
Thursday, September 5
Michelle Williams
Yellowstone
   >> more...

•
Wednesday, September 4
Michelle Williams
Is it Wednesday?
   >> more...

•
Sunday, September 1
Michelle Williams
Fall In Idaho
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 31
Michelle Williams
Saturday Morning, Day 32
   >> more...

•
Thursday, August 29
Michelle Williams
Hump Day
   >> more...

•
Wednesday, August 28
Michelle Williams
A Ghost Town, A Dug-out Canoe, A Birthday and A Compound Fracture
   >> more...

•
Monday, August 26
Michelle Williams
Oh, Happy Day
   >> more...

•
Sunday, August 25
Michelle Williams
Sunday, August 25th
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 24
Michelle Williams
A Better Day Already
   >> more...

•
Friday, August 23
Michelle Williams
A Challenging Day
   >> more...

•
Wednesday, August 21
Michelle Williams
Wednesday, August 21
   >> more...

•
Tuesday, August 20
Michelle Williams
Tuesday, August 20
   >> more...

•
Monday, August 19
Michelle Williams
Monday, August 19
   >> more...

•
Sunday, August 18
Michelle Williams
Easy Like...
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 17
Michelle Williams
More on Saturday, August 17th
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 17
Michelle Williams
Saturday, August 17th
   >> more...

•
Thursday, August 15
Michelle Williams
Thursday, August 15th
   >> more...

•
Wednesday, August 14
Michelle Williams
My Top Ten List
   >> more...

•
Tuesday, August 13
Michelle Williams
Freezing and Fires
   >> more...

•
Monday, August 12
Michelle Williams
Explore the River
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 10
Michelle Williams
   >> more...

•
Friday, August 9
Michelle Williams
   >> more...

•
Thursday, August 8
Michelle Williams
   >> more...








TOP





All material copyright ©2002 - 2018, Public Lands Interpretive Association except photographs where ownership is otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.