Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Break: Rio Mesa Center

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.


Si said...

Oh Brookie. Fun adventure. I so remember you going that first camping trip. I love that photo of you and Corriney :)
Yes def the love of camping comes from LGF, jr.

Erin Blake said...

Brooke, Can I just say something? I can't tell you how much I admire your spirit of adventure. You tackle things with confidence. If you want to do something, go somewhere, you find a way to do it. That quality is one that will help you your entire life. You find a way to say yes or I can rather than no or I don't think I can.
Also, you embrace new people, different types than you with love and a positive attitude. I have learned that early in life with my dad and now living in California. Many types of people to not only learn from, but to understand and love. It made me so happy to read yet another Brooke adventure in this post. :) love erin

Jocelyn said...

This is so cute. I love the picture of you and your dad. I am the same way about camping, my love of the outdoors also came from my dad.

I am glad that you had a good time. Tim looks like he's LEGIT. I want a mite names after me...

cole linnae said...

you were a TALL, but adorable seven year old :)

Natalie said...

looks like a blast. ahhh, fall break. never will see that again.

Lauren said...

The whole time reading this I was thinking about how sweet the trip looks and that I wanted to tell you so and then I got to the picture of you and Corrine and all I could think to say was , "MORE FOOOD"

Caridad said...

Brooke, I just found this blog post while Googling about light pollution+rio mesa center to see if I could get some of the information we got that time about that in other to share it with some friends. I have to tell you that the Alternative Fall Break is one of the greatest memories I have from my stay in Utah, your camping knowledge made everything more easy, thanks for being such a great host! And such a good driver too =D Hope you can come to the Dominican Republic one day, you need to hike to the top of the highest point the Caribbean, the Duarte peak and also to go to Haiti to see the Citadelle, these are just some ideas to bring you to this region. Love your childhood pictures, you look so cute! Thanks again!