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: South
Jacob MacLeod
Saturday, September 28
National Public Lands Day
Woke up cold for the last time in a while, how I miss it! What I wouldn’t give to wake up freezing in my tent on some mountainside, knowing that my beloved team is near!
After crawling out of bed and packing up my stuff for the last time on the trip, or trying to, I was ready to head off to our National Public Lands Day celebration at This is the Place Heritage Park. There was so much moisture on my tent (most of it frozen) that I couldn’t even get it all the way into the stuff sack. “Oh well,” I thought, “I don’t need to keep it so impeccable for the drive back as I have on the trip.”
It was a glorious morning. I was so aware it was to be my last in the mountains for far too long, maybe that’s why it was so beautiful. The cold clear air in the mountains made everything seem crystal clear and perfect. The aspen were so perfectly golden, you could smell them! We of the South loaded our things up into our dear Hondas, soon to be crushed. They had really become part of the team, and every time I see a CRV it brings a smile to my face to fondly recall our faithful vehicles that carried us through whatever we asked of them with style and comfort to spare. We had to debate a little as to which cars the girls would take and which was left to us boys, we were all a little tense about being at the end, and sad that it was to be over so soon. I walked back and checked our last campsite twice to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind, and to hold on as long as I could.
We finally dragged ourselves off to Heritage Park where it was terribly windy. We all helped set some of our canopies up, and otherwise make ready for the historical day.
One of our first excitements was planting a tree with Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, one of the Public Lands celebrities with us that day, then walking the “Gold Medal Mile” with her. That mile long walk was started during the Winter Olympics out there in Salt Lake to try to get America off it’s collective couch and exercise! I believe it’s a disgrace that we’re the most obese nation on the face of the Earth, yet have more accessible public land than any other country. Too many people are living their entire lives without taking advantage of “Mother Nature’s gym.”
After our walk, we started the American Frontiers program. Many of the same speakers spoke from the day before, and we had many new speakers. They said so many wonderful and inspiring things, I can’t even begin to give a fair recollection of their words. I had carried a notebook with me the whole trip, and had taken many notes during all of our many talks, but I was empty handed! Some of the best talks from the whole trip and I was unable to record their words! I felt naked without pen and paper, but realizing the futility of regret, I just let their words sink into my ears, which was much too easy considering I was seated next to one of the speakers! I think their words were so loud they actually sank into my bones as well.
During the program, we were all recognized and presented with medals for completing the trek and doing our part in making this dream a reality. I think we were all a little flabbergasted at the amount of recognition we got, I know I was overwhelmed. I knew there had been people working on this project day and night for years! And all I did was drive a car, do some dishes, and have the greatest adventure of my life!
Both teams had people speak about the experience, and I remember something Jan said which I think is important for every American to hear. Before the trek started, Stephen Maurer challenged us to, “Let the land speak to you, so that you can speak for the land.” Jan said, as near as I can remember, “What did the land say to me? Just, ‘What’s over here? What’s behind this rock, or the next hill! Look what’s over there! Explore me! I’m here. . .’”
As a true “product of Public Lands,” Jan speaks true. I felt many things for the land, but to simplify them would be to say that they are there. They have infinite secrets, they can teach you whatever you want to learn, or need to learn. They ask only that you have the respect that is due them, and they will show you everything.
After lunch, the girls headed off to the hotel to get clean. The guys left shortly afterward, but we had to shuttle the vehicles to the BLM office, and got to the hotel about ten minutes before we were supposed to leave for the Snowbird Ski Resort, where our final banquet dinner was to be held. After some confusion, I got my room and got all of my stuff inside. Without time to even shower or shave, I headed back down to start “filling up cars,” as we had started the journey back at Tooele. I saw Stephen Braunlich from Team North on the way out and learned we were in the same room. I was very eager to hear more about the adventures from the Northlands, but we had a schedule to keep.
We finally got a car full, including Kay’s sister, Nancy, and we were off. I was back driving the Pilot, the vehicle I drove more than any other. I fondly turned on the GPS built right into the console to watch our route for the next to last time. Jessica took her place next to me to be my navigator. When Cathy said of us, “I would let that pair lead me anywhere, they never get lost!” I started to get choked up, wondering if i would ever be in a car with Jessica and Cathy after that night . . .
We had a pleasant drive up to the resort and had our car valet parked, a new experience for me. The resort was beautiful, I have never been downhill skiing, but if I do, I hope I go to a place as lovely as Snowbird.
We took a tram ride up to the top of the mountain, and took in as much of the mountain air, spruce, and aspen as we could. Jessica and I wanted to hike down, but decided we would miss too much of the reception, so took the tram back. Being at such a classy affair was so different from what we were used to, I would have been uncomfortable if I had been with anybody other than my fellow teammates. We had been with each other in our weakest, most embarrassing moments. We had stood together through thick and thin for 60 days, and there are no other people on Earth with whom I am more comfortable.
After a lovely time out on the deck, we were asked to head inside for the dinner to begin. I saw Bob seated at a table all by his lonesome, and we were joined by the Jessica, the Nessets and the McGraws. Getting back to the table after getting our food, there was a bottle of wine at our table with filled glasses at Jessica’s and my seat. We were too puzzled to notice if any of the other tables had bottles, I don’t think they did. When everyone else joined us at the table, and no one fessed up to bringing it, Bob shrugged his shoulders and poured everyone else a glass.
Towards the tail end of dinner, Ken spoke for a bit then introduced the entertainment. I explained the significance of, and recited “Excelsior” for everyone, Jess, Kay, and I did our line dance, Jan presented his “Off the Porch” awards to Cathy and Kay. I am so proud of these two wonderful women. Before the trip, they had never spent a night outside in their lives. Despite being introduced to the outdoors in their middle age, the word on the grapevine is that they are both planning to continue experiencing their Public Lands. I am so tickled that they have become outdoor recreationalists, and am so proud of what they accomplished on the trip. Their absence of fear in trying new things inspires me to push myself more and more. They are great people, and I know they have many adventures ahead of them.
Lorie sang “Call of the Wild,” and presented Bob with a collection of Robert Service poems which we had all signed. Lorie gets all the kudos for that gift, it was her idea and a wonderful one. Bob seemed to think so too. I sang “In My Life,” and the South Team all got up to accompany Kay in a rendition of the “Trekking Blues.” Team North has enough talent to go around as well. We got to see a couple great slide shows, stories, and Michele charmed us all with her lovely voice.
I missed saying goodbye to so many people that night, I’m a little embarrassed to admit. It was way past our bedtime, and the other people in my car were clamoring to leave. If I missed you and you read this, I’m sorry! I thought more people would be down in the lobby in the morning, but most people had later flights.
We got back to the hotel sometime between 10:00 and 11:00. I finally got to shower and shave, which felt great, but then I had nowhere to go, except Cathy and Kay’s room. I talked with them for a while, then walked Jessica to her room to plan our departure in the morning. Jessica had asked me a few weeks before if I wanted to drive back with her. She was renting a car and I live only four and-a-half hours to the Northeast of her. I thought that sounded like a good idea at the time and was so thankful later. On the last night, I realized it would have been far too much of a culture/climate shock to be on a plane for five hours and instantly be back in Illinois. It was much easier emotionally to drive back with a team member, and as Stephen Maurer pointed out, “When a beautiful woman asks you to drive anywhere with her, you don’t turn her down!” Well said.
for Saturday, September 28
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Jacob MacLeod
Jake hikes through the sandstone wonderland of the Wave formation in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Where's your hat, Jake?

   >> more...



List of All Journal Entries
•
Saturday, September 28
Jacob MacLeod
National Public Lands Day
   >> more...

•
Friday, September 27
Jacob MacLeod
Together Again!!
   >> more...

•
Thursday, September 26
Jacob MacLeod
Our Last Full Day
   >> more...

•
Sunday, September 22
Jacob MacLeod
Letter to My Family
   >> more...

•
Thursday, September 5
Jacob MacLeod
My Bird List for the Trek
   >> more...

•
Sunday, August 18
Jacob MacLeod
I Got It!!
   >> more...

•
Thursday, August 15
Jacob MacLeod
Exelsior
   >> more...

•
Monday, August 12
Jacob MacLeod
The Lesson at Eagle Peak
   >> more...

•
Sunday, August 11
Jacob MacLeod
Snow Lake
   >> more...

•
Thursday, August 8
Jacob MacLeod
"Attack of the Nine-Million Flies!"
   >> more...

•
Sunday, August 4
Jacob MacLeod
Backpacking at Last
   >> more...

•
Friday, August 2
Jacob MacLeod
El Paso and Back
   >> more...

•
Thursday, August 1
Jacob MacLeod
A Rocky Place
   >> more...

•
Wednesday, July 31
Jacob MacLeod
Day 1 Highlight
   >> more...

•
Wednesday, July 31
Jacob MacLeod
The Trek Begins
   >> more...

•
Tuesday, July 30
Jacob MacLeod
To the Mexican Border
   >> more...

•
Sunday, July 28
Jacob MacLeod
Training Week
   >> more...








TOP





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