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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Catherine Kiffe
Monday, September 23
Accident
Yesterday was Julie’s accident. It was a horrendous day. It started off so beautifully. The full moon, dipping downward toward the horizon, pale yet luminescent in the rosie dawn sky. The autumn leaves of the aspen flickered in the slight breeze. We slipped past the frosted knee high grass of the meadows. Cows grazed quietly, encrusted with frost of their own. Streaks of golden sunlight between indigo tree shadows played on the dirt road as we spun by, each of us in a world of our own on this, the last real day of journey activity. The other days would be easy, just riding in the Honda CRV and Pilot and even a motor boat ride across a lake.
We rode a quick 4 miles on the ATVs, to our first “walk around”. Less than a quarter of a mile, we walked through silver trunks and yellow leaves, scrub oaks and weedy grasses. Then we were back on the Hondas, our red four wheel chariots. The forest road that was our designated route was up the side of the mountain, rutted, sharp rock embedded, on the “edge” of the slope most of the time. I rode constantly aware. Putting my brakes on frequently, traversing the curves very slowly, comfortably faster on the straight-a-ways. We left the ATVs on the peak to be shuttled around to the end of the next “walk-around”. The route was to descend the mountain down to the road, around the private land between.
At first there was a slight trail, then our course changed and we found a game trail winding down the mountain. It was moist but not slippery. Mud with deer, elk and ….could be??? Mountain lion tracks enmeshed, different times, different days, or not?
We would not know the full story. Using aspen trucks as handles, we moved down. It is so much easier for me to descend than to climb so I was enjoying the hike. Half dollar sized yellow, coral, and orange leaves rested on the dark rich soil at our feet. The same leaves surrounded us still clinging to the trees before their fate to later be the same. It took us about an hour.
Back to riding again. Coming further down the mountain on the forest trail meant riding aware again. Another vehicle coming up the mountain appeared and startled me, another reason to ride constantly aware. I felt reassured with Paul, a veteran rider to say the least, riding patiently behind me. At the point of almost completing this part of the trail, Richard came back up the hill. Unusual, I thought. He said “Have you seen Julie?” Our usual lineup was the forest ranger, Jan, Julie, Richard, me, Paul with Cain and Dean intermingling, going ahead at different points to take pictures. Somewhere in between Julie had gone out of sight because of all the turns. Usually we would have thought that maybe she had taken a side trail. There were no side trails to take. It only meant one thing, the one thing no one wanted to face. She drove off the road, disappeared.
Cain, also an accomplished ATV rider, went to look for clues back up on the trail. Jan and Paul were close behind. Richard, Dean and I sat silently waiting. It is torturous waiting and wandering. After half an hour we decided it would be best for Dean to go try to meet the support team who would be waiting for us at a designated place. More waiting. Richard decided after another half an hour to join the others in the search. More waiting for me, alone this time. Unfortunately, as humans do, I played many scenarios in my mind that I do not want to recount ever again.
After another 30 minutes, Cain came back. They had found her about 15 feet off the road. She had a gash on her forehead, was dizzy, couldn’t move her left arm BUT she was going to be OK. The feeling of relief ran through my whole body. Cry when you don’t know, cry when you know and the news is good. I did it all. It was another seemingly long wait before Julie was brought down. She looked dazed with dried blood streaked across her forehead. Jan and Richard went to get the message to Bob so that the car could be brought to this point to pick up Julie to bring her to the hospital. We waited, trying to keep her comfortable in the shade on the ground.
An hour later, it was such a relief to be riding to the nearest hospital, 50 miles away. Bob drove, Julie rested, and I held her hand for comfort. It was a quiet drive that seemed very long. At Provo, we followed the easily marked signs to the hospital. I always took information signs for granted before; I am thankful for them now.
Julie was taken in immediately and the doctor saw her within 15 minutes. I don’t know who asked more questions, Julie or the doctor. Of course being a nurse, Julie had very specific information to give and request. After the initial exam, she was taken to radiology for x-rays of her shoulder. The news was good at that moment, nothing was broken. Back in the exam room, Dr. Murdock stitched above Julie’s eyebrow and then turned once again to her shoulder. Since she could not raise her arm, the consideration was that she possibly torn muscles in her arm and would probably need surgery. That information would come later.
Later that night we settled into the hotel room in Price, Utah. After taking care of Julie and making sure she was comfortable for the night, I allowed myself to think. We had accomplished a lot on the trek so far. This was the scariest. Being a part of this journey meant that each of us takes personal responsibility for our actions. When I had the stick propelled into my leg, I knew I hadn’t been as careful as I should have been. We were prepared with training and completely covered in the appropriate equipment for the ATV ride. This was an accident. Accidents happen in the course of life, here and at home. I am very happy as time goes along, Julie will be alright.
for Monday, September 23
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Catherine Kiffe
A new look for the teachers lounge: Cathy K gets suited up to go riding the dual-sport motorcycles.
Cathy is a Homebound Teacher for students in grades Kindergarten through 12,...
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List of All Journal Entries
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Sunday, January 5
Catherine Kiffe
Public lands in Mississippi
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Sunday, December 8
Catherine Kiffe
More Students Ask Questions
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Tuesday, December 3
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Student's Letter
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Monday, November 25
Catherine Kiffe
Gifts from Long Ago
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Sunday, November 10
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Gray and Beautiful
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Sunday, November 3
Catherine Kiffe
Using the Pictures
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Friday, October 18
Catherine Kiffe
Rush, rush, rush
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Wednesday, October 9
Catherine Kiffe
Home Again
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Saturday, September 28
Catherine Kiffe
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Friday, September 27
Catherine Kiffe
Together Again
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Thursday, September 26
Catherine Kiffe
Packing Up
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Wednesday, September 25
Catherine Kiffe
Across Strawberry Reservoir
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Tuesday, September 24
Catherine Kiffe
The Last Hike
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Tuesday, September 24
Catherine Kiffe
A Visit with Dinosaurs (or what’s left!)
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Monday, September 23
Catherine Kiffe
Accident
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Friday, September 20
Catherine Kiffe
Another Glorious Day on the trail.
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Thursday, September 19
Catherine Kiffe
Roundtable---a place to learn
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Wednesday, September 18
Catherine Kiffe
A thrilling ride!
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Tuesday, September 17
Catherine Kiffe
Fishlake National Forest
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Monday, September 16
Catherine Kiffe
Come for a 4 Wheel Drive
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Sunday, September 15
Catherine Kiffe
Swirls
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Sunday, September 15
Catherine Kiffe
Invasive Weeds
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Friday, September 13
Catherine Kiffe
I Love This Land
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Wednesday, September 11
Catherine Kiffe
Memorial Day
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Tuesday, September 10
Catherine Kiffe
Special Day
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Monday, September 9
Catherine Kiffe
How We Connect
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Sunday, September 8
Catherine Kiffe
A Visit with Bill then hee,hee, hee
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Saturday, September 7
Catherine Kiffe
Wilderness Explained
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Friday, September 6
Catherine Kiffe
A River Ride and Dam View
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Tuesday, September 3
Catherine Kiffe
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Monday, September 2
Catherine Kiffe
Headlamps
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Sunday, September 1
Catherine Kiffe
What's Roaring?
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Saturday, August 31
Catherine Kiffe
The River
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Friday, August 30
Catherine Kiffe
Beginning the Walk Down
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Tuesday, August 27
Catherine Kiffe
Watch that Step
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Monday, August 26
Catherine Kiffe
Passion and Information
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Sunday, August 25
Catherine Kiffe
" Listen to All"
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Saturday, August 24
Catherine Kiffe
Trees, more or less?
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Friday, August 23
Catherine Kiffe
Dirt and Treasure and Sharing
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Thursday, August 22
Catherine Kiffe
Be ready to change
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Wednesday, August 21
Catherine Kiffe
Biscuits
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Wednesday, August 21
Catherine Kiffe
Another Short Day
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Tuesday, August 20
Catherine Kiffe
A Short Day
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Monday, August 19
Catherine Kiffe
Questions
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Monday, August 19
Catherine Kiffe
A Great Day
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Saturday, August 17
Catherine Kiffe
A Scorched Land
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Friday, August 16
Catherine Kiffe
What? 30 miles??? Yes!
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Thursday, August 15
Catherine Kiffe
I Like It!
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Wednesday, August 14
Catherine Kiffe
Life changing
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Tuesday, August 13
Catherine Kiffe
Day "off"
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Tuesday, August 13
Catherine Kiffe
Step Back In Time
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Monday, August 12
Catherine Kiffe
Take A Deep Breath
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Monday, August 12
Catherine Kiffe
A Little Bit of Water
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Sunday, August 11
Catherine Kiffe
A Different Look At Burned Areas
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Saturday, August 10
Catherine Kiffe
Take a Leap
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Friday, August 9
Catherine Kiffe
Delightful Things
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Thursday, August 8
Catherine Kiffe
Not a Buggy Ride
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Wednesday, August 7
Catherine Kiffe
Ready for "hosses"
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Wednesday, August 7
Catherine Kiffe
Roundtable
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Tuesday, August 6
Catherine Kiffe
"Bag a Peak" and Fight with a Bush!
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Sunday, August 4
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Busy, busy!
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Friday, August 2
Catherine Kiffe
Third Day of the Trek
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Wednesday, July 31
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4 Wheeling
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Tuesday, July 30
Catherine Kiffe
Kickoff Events in DC
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Tuesday, July 23
Catherine Kiffe
First day...
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Wednesday, May 1
Catherine Kiffe
Public lands in Mississippi
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Wednesday, December 31
Catherine Kiffe
More Student Questions
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Wednesday, December 31
Catherine Kiffe
Gray and Beautiful
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