Saturday, May 19, 2007

Day Seven

What a busy day!

I got up around 5 am and went for a run. It was a beautiful cool morning, and I saw some lovely sights, including lots of antelope

and this moth, which appeared to have been painted by local Indians.

I figure I ran about six miles.

When I got back, everyone was getting ready to head to breakfast. I refused the many kind offers of a ride down to the cafeteria, and instead took my time showering, having breakfast out of the food I had brought with me, and getting ready to start the day.

My first class was Field Dressing Big Game. I know it sounds like a strange class for a non-hunter like me to sign up for, but I figured it would be good knowledge to have for my fiction writing, since my characters butcher both wild and domestic animals. The class was just down the hill from my cabin, so it was a pleasant morning stroll.

I had been worried that I might get messy in this class, and my concerns were partially justified. We certainly had the option to put on gloves and help with the gutting and skinning as much as we liked. But it was fine to just watch, too. I opted to stay out of the fray, since I wasn’t going home on Sunday, like the other participants. I wouldn’t have laundry facilities until at least Monday night, and if I ruined something, I had no closet of other things to wear. It was hard at times, to just stand by and do nothing, especially when everyone was skinning the hog. In my dissection experiences, I got good at discerning fascia vs fat and muscle, and there were many times I came close to jumping in, anyway. But it was just as well. Some people got pretty bloody.

Our class ended around 10:30, leaving us an hour of free time. I walked back to my room, puttered around a bit, and then walked to the cafeteria. Lunch was soup and make-your-own sandwiches, but since I had a cooking class in the afternoon, I just had some soup and ice coffee.

My next class, Wilderness Cooking in Foil, was a blast! And I was so glad I didn’t eat before I went, because we had chicken cooked with hot rocks, nachos in foil, egg and toast cooked on a coffee can, chicken dinners cooked in foil, ice cream made in a baggie in a jar of ice, and bananas foster, cooked in foil. We would’ve also made biscuits, but a storm was in the area and the wind got to be too much. We were spending more time trying to keep our ingredients from blowing away than we were actually cooking, so we went indoors and finished up with a short seminar.

After class, I walked back to my cabin with one of my new friends here. It was a nice walk, and as usual for this place, we saw antelope everywhere. Then I got a ride to dinner with my roommate.

Dinner was brisket, beans and potato salad, and the brisket looked really lean and tender. But red meat doesn’t sit very well with me, so I went with the vegetarian option of pasta alfredo. It was surprisingly good. And I steered clear of the peach cobbler and ice cream after dinner and had grapes and bananas instead.

After dinner, my roommate and I went for a walk, then went to a talk given by Ron Lautenbach, the world’s oldest active mountaineer, a member of Kodak’s climbing team, an internationsl speaker, and a former professor. He has been on Discovery Channel four times and showed us his pictures from a climb up Denali (Mt McKinley). He had fascinating stories to tell, which were only slightly marred by the stupidity of some of the questions that were asked. Ron was amazingly patient, though, and he wound up the talk around 9:30.

In the morning he’s leading an early morning hike, which I hope to go on. It will depend on if my roommate or someone else around here decides to go, because the starting point is too far away for me to walk. Or rather, it’s far enough away that I don’t want to have to get up an extra half hour early just to walk there.

Tomorrow I have Tracking and Sign Cutting class (another I’m taking for my writing), and then Dan is supposed to be here at noon to pick me up after lunch. Neither one of us has been able to get cell reception, so I hope everything works out. I hate not knowing the exact plan.

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