The beloved fall break has already come and gone. All of my potential plans I concocted previous months slowly fell apart. So, I decided to see if the Bennion Center had anything planned- sure enough, they did! The Rio Mesa Center is a property near Moab in Southeastern Utah that is currently being leased to the U for ten years. Our objective in spending time down there was to complete/continue a series of projects that fall and spring break groups have been working on for a few years now. The photo above shows our "home sweet home" for the week. The Rio Mesa center is on a gorrrgeous piece of land.
This is the group. Twenty six of us total. Lots of foreign students. Lots of new friends- I didn't know any of these peeps before. And look at us here- one big happy family.
This is Kate. Kate and her husband Hau (pronounced Ho) are earth-loving to a T. They are married, met while working as park rangers (Bryce Canyon I believe?), and currently run the Rio Mesa Center.
This is Hau, the one I mentioned above. Here he is, demonstrating his favorite technique for slot canyon maneuvering.
This is Tim. Tim is THE man. Time lives in Moab and does research on bugs and critters. Tim has a mite named after him.
Tim also took the time (approximately 30 minutes) to inform us on the details of the red-spotted frog. And yes, if you were wondering, the spots contain venom. Yikes!
More lecturing on mites. From a beautiful lookout point.
One of the most comical portions of the trip- working our way through Moab country in Mini Vans. Hi-la-rious.
What better way to stay warm during a 30 degree evening than by huddling around a campfire??
Me and Go-Un (not quite sure of the proper spelling), working on ditch digging. We (as in everyone) also cleared a trail and completed the on-site solar showers.
A large chunk of the week was occupied with various guest speakers. We discussed topics from birding, to light pollution, to archeology, to honey. The honey presentation was my personal fav. (surprise surprise). There were a good 15 samples of local honey products that I tasted. I ended up enjoying a darker honey called Dudley's Mystery. I'm usually not one that's too big on honey, but mmmm this was good.
And, naturally, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to taste the actual honeycomb!
Normally, I'd probably be disgusted by the idea of 30 plus people poking their digits into this tray for a taste. But because I was camping, this seemed to be a great idea!
So, the week was great. I met a lot of quality people, the weather was wonderful, and we completed our projects within the week that we were there. I was so proud of some of the other volunteers- for a lot of them it was their first time camping (gasp). Some of them really enjoyed the aspects of a camping week, and others not so much. It made me think about my Dad, the person I can credit most all of my love for camping and the outdoors to. I remember my first backpacking trip- I was seven and begged him to let me come on the trip. He finally told me I could come if I was willing to work hard. So many of my best memories come from the many trips camping and backpacking while growing up. Thanks LGF!
Corriney and I, just loving life. What a chunk I was.
On the first (or one of the first) backpacking outings. I love this photo.