Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pat's backpacking trip with his brothers

Since he'll never get around to posting, I'm doing it!  He'll want to remember this, I'm sure.  Besides the blisters, and the mud, he and Rick and Brian had a great time.  Sometimes I think Pat is livin' the life! 

One last look at Dallas's Eagle project work.  It looks so nice!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Dallas's Eagle Project!

One Eagle Project is mostly done (just lacking final review and paperwork) and I'm excited to finally write about it! We've been collecting pictures from everyone and I'm excited to say, it went sooo very very well!!!

Dallas chose to fix up historic Beatty's cabin.  This would involve building a wrap around step, fixing up the horse corral, and the general area of Beatty's cabin.  It was a 2 hour drive to Jack's Creek Trailhead, and then a 7 mile hike into the Beatty's cabin area. 

They started out with these 10 volunteers (Conner, Trey, and Spencer, Garth, Jakob, Dallas, Tyler, Larry, Sam, and Pat), and the next day 5 others joined.  Mike our neighbor was one of them, and the McMurtrey family.  To think that everyone all had to take off work and school to help with this is just so humbling, and fills me with so much gratitude. We have such wonderful neighbors and that sure is nice when you don't have family near.  Not only did Mike come up, but Warren took Evan and Leia to school Thursday morning since I had to leave earlier than that to take boys.  He's one of my favorite people and always so fun to talk to.  He was in Vietnam and Korea and suffers a great deal from things that happened to him there, but he's always kind and helpful with anything we need; as is Mike and his family.

And let's not forget the Tuckers, our neighbors who gave Dallas this idea for an Eagle project in the first place, and helped in so many ways.  Watching them bring up their horses and all the work that goes into caring for them is astounding.  They are members of the Backcountry Horsemen of New Mexico, Pecos Chapter, and helped Dallas contact Mr. Kingsbury so he could arrange it all.  It took a lot of work to coordinate with the Horsemen, and the Forestry Service, and all the volunteers and such.  Dallas was always on the phone, emailing, typing up forms, details, packing lists, and getting permission slips, etc.  Lots of preparation!

The horsemen hauled up the cement and other tools and supplies needed on their pack mules and horses, and also offered to feed all the volunteers from Thursday night through Saturday morning.  (They even fed Brian and Rick and Pat dinner on Saturday night in Beatty's Cabin because they had extra).  I found out after it was over, that it was mostly our neighbor Nichole doing the cooking for all these men and boys.  What a girl!  She couldn't even eat most of it probably!  She has issues from the bearing of children like so many of us do, unfortunately, though hers are pretty serious.  But man she's a tough lady, and I'm so grateful to her!!!
Tyler and Charles checking out the worms

There was all kinds of silliness going on in the car.  The boys are hysterical.  And my shy guy Mr. Charles sang The Farmer in the Dell at the top of his lungs non-stop.  He got all the boys singing, until I told him enough is enough!
A car full of boys.  I was unable to make the 7 mile hike in, since if I did, I'd be solely in charge of Charles, Leia, and Evan, and our tents and gear, etc., and since I really like showers and beds that aren't wet, it seemed appropriate to stay at home.  That was hard for me since I wanted to make sure everyone was drinking water, putting on sunscreen, not fighting, comfortable, etc., but I just couldn't with little ones at home.  Nicole took over that, and really they are big boys who can mostly take care of themselves.  Though that first night they arrived at the cabin so soaked through, that they had to dry out their clothes and sleeping bags around the fire before they could even go to bed and it was a rough night.

So I was a driver and I made breakfast burritos for everyone Thursday morning, and lunches for everyone on Saturday when I picked them up. We could not have done this if Garth hadn't volunteered to help either, since he drove a couple of the boys home and helped keep the boys safe on the hike. 

After driving 5 boys up (and Pat driving 3 more), Charlie and I turned around and went back home (the long way since I got lost).  After that 5 hours on the road, I drove to pick up kids at the school, handled all the homework, meals, baths, cleanup,etc., and got to do it all again the next day.  Then cleaned the house all day Friday because Brian and Rick were coming, washing and buying fresh bedding, taping shut the bathroom so kids wouldn't mess it up.  Then I picked up Brian at midnight Friday, and Rick the next morning (poor Evan watched Leia at home) and I took Charles again.

On Saturday, we headed back out to the Pecos to drop Rick and Brian off and pick up the returning boys.  About 20 minutes after bidding farewell to Rick and Brian, the boys emerged in a fast moving line and I couldn't help cheering for their triumphal return!  This caused the very busy parking lot of backpackers to stop and stare, but I didn't care.  I was so proud of them.  It made my mama heart so happy to hear it had gone so well.  They didn't get rained on too much (after the first miserable day), and they accomplished what they came to do and then some.  The adults who didn't know these boys were so impressed with how hard working and respectful they were, and our neighbor said he had a lot of chances to discuss the gospel because of it.  Pat was so impressed with Richard (the horseman who was Dallas's main contact) for working hard all day, everyday, and also taking time to show the boys neat things on the side, like how to properly sharpen knives with all of his professional tools. One of the boys even stayed up there longer and arranged for his own ride home since he loved it up there so much.  I think some of the boys had brought fishing poles and were enjoying the small river.
Anyway, I am so proud of Dallas.  He is a self-starter, and sets goals for himself and gets things done.  He's not pushy, or proud, he's just constantly working at his goals in his quiet way.  He almost has his Eagle done and earned 14 Merit Badges at the last Court of Honor.  Crazy!  He's only 13!

Now here's a crazy amount of photos for your viewing pleasure, collected from many people:

 There they all are!!! Minus the horsemen.

 Started out nice, but man o man did it rain on Thursday.

 Removing the fallen tree that had broken the corral.  They created a watering hole for the horses too.
 Dallas making additional repairs
 Replacing the horse-tying-up-thing

After the project was over, we got a call from Mike up the road, saying he had something for Dallas.  He had found this huge antler laying near the trail and carried it out and brought it home for Dallas to commemorate his Eagle project.  How cool is that!?  It is now gracing the top of our bookcase in the living room.  I just thought this was so neat!

Pat hiked most of the way out with the boys until he ran into Brian and Rick and then they hiked back to Beatty's cabin as the start of their 3-day brothers backpacking trip.  I thought it was neat that they could see Dallas and Sam and all the volunteers and view the project.  I was stressin' but it all worked out so well!  I'll have to have him do a post of their trip.  All in all I didn't see Pat for almost 5 days!!!  And then when he got home he immediately got sick, and then I did, so it's been quite a recovery since this took place!  Making up work, and school... another reason we are just so grateful to the volunteers who also have to make up work and school and other things!  God bless them.