Week 1


My first set of 9 days is done, whoo! Wow it went by fast. The first day we spent de-haunta-ing the cabin. Haunta is a virus carried by rats and mice, which, unfortunately, Head of Dean has plenty of. The next day we continued cleaning the cabin, and then in the afternoon we hiked to some of the trail camps in our AOR (Area of Responsibility) and checked water conditions and campsites.

Our spacious cabin

Our spacious cabin


View from the front porch

Good news! Head of Dean has cell reception! It’s terrible, but it’s better than nothing. Being able to call home when I need to is a huge blessing to me. It’s freezing cold in the high altitudes right now. HOD is close to 9,000 ft in elevation, and with all the rain and thunderstorms we’ve been receiving, I think we’re in for a cold summer. I have a blanket, 20 degree sleeping bag, a fleece liner, and a comforter on top of me each night. I also have to wear a beanie and fleece when I go to bed. The beanie is more to keep the bugs from crawling into my ears (I haven’t forgotten last years late-night bug incident), but it also helps with the cold.


My lovely tent

I was feeling a little down the first couple days at HOD, with it being so cold and me being far from my family and friends ‘n all, but as soon as the first crews arrived, I perked right up. The first crew we had was from Tennessee, and you would not believe the accents these kids had. They were such a riot during the challenge course. During one element, the crew realized that they needed to do a reset, and start the whole challenge over from the beginning. One of the participants said, in this thick Tennessee accent, “Well… If you don’t think you can do sumthin’, do it twice.” And the HOD staff has been quoting that ever since. Those participants really were a good example of not giving up, and they had incredible teamwork. I was very lucky that my first crew I got to take out on the course was so awesome! I felt like there was hardly anything we needed to work on with them. Day 3, and they were already super solid!


We had another awesome crew come through later that day, and I soon found out that their itinerary would take them through Whiteman Vega, where I worked last year. Another staff member and I were planning on visiting Whiteman on our next set of days off, and we knew we would run in to them. So, I told the crew to be sure to say hello to my twin sister, “Elizabeth”, who works at Whiteman.

As seen from our front porch, the Spanish Peaks (also called the Three Sisters) in Colorado.

As seen from our front porch, the Spanish Peaks (also called the Three Sisters) in Colorado.

Well today I was at Whiteman, and guess what? I ran into that crew. One of them saw me, and exclaimed, “I saw your twin sister at Head of Dean! You’re Liz, aren’t you?!” It was hilarious! I took them out on their bike ride, pretending to be Elizabeth the whole time. I’m pretty sure they thought Elizabeth was cooler than Emma, because Elizabeth is a mountain biker, and Emma just barks orders and makes you do hard things on a cope course ;)


Taylor reading to Ellen before bed

It’s been a busy, but fun first week. I’m excited to take out more crews, and hopefully see more of the ranch on my days off this summer. I’m back in 6 days, so I’ll update then!


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