Sunday, September 27, 2009

Memories of Anasazi

I don't know how many of you know this, but I used to work at a "Wilderness Rehabilitation Center for Troubled Youth", as the official types would call it. But for all of us that worked there we simply knew it as Anasazi.

I LOVED that place and still make contributions and support it to this day because I believe in it so much. It's heavily supported by Barbara Bush and Steve Young among others, and I heard that at one time it had the best success record in the United States for youth rehabilitation programs. I believe it's because unlike other programs for troubled youth, the parents went through rehabilitation at the same time.

Anyway, so here's some pictures that I came across as I was sorting through my archives recently. As an intro, the first picture is of me getting ready to head back out to the trail. I came in for a couple days to go to military drill and things, and then headed back out.

Ready to go, holding a bowl I made from cutting a knot off of a sycamore tree and blowing on a hot coal that I held in place with a knife blade to hollow it out-

Here's a picture of my pack from the back. You can see my "rabbit sticks" which kind of look like boomerangs, my fire bow that I used to make fire without matches, and my steel cup among other things. The cup and a knife were our only cooking utensils.

Here's a picture of my first beard. I took this picture of myself the first time I came back from the trail. This is from 3 weeks of not shaving (kind a big difference from what I get after three weeks now). I got a little sick from eating "normal food" after getting back off of the trail, so you can probably kind of tell in this picture. We only ate things like rice and lentils out on the trail, so when I got back and had meat and some kind of greasy food for the first time in weeks, it didn't sit well.

This last picture is my absolute favorite one. We weren't allowed to have technology out there, but since it was another Trail-Walker's (what the counselors are called that work at Anasazi) last week at Anasazi, she got special permission to take a picture on the last day. Since I was the other trail walker with her out there, I took a picture of her filling her canteen, and then she took one of me doing the same.

Absolutely no joke, this is what we drank. In fact, I was on my way to fill my canteen and she came with me, and that's when she told me she had special permission to take a picture. This is a cow tank, and those floating clumps on top isn't mud. The cows liked to wade in the water to drink and refresh themselves, and didn't care to go else ware to do their business. It's safe for humans to drink if you drop it with some Clorox drops, so that's what we did. I am out on a rock trying to get past the sludge that makes up the shallow parts to the water that's actually deep enough to submerge my canteen. There was also leeches in the water, so you had to be tricky in order to not get them on your hand or in your canteen.
I actually love this picture because it reminded me about what it was like to be out there. I can't even explain it. The idea sounds horrible: camping with troubled youth in the middle of nowhere, eating only things like rice and lentils, drinking water out of cow tanks, hiking all day long for weeks on end with no showers, but it was one of the most spiritual and happy times of my life! Second to the temple and on par with my experiences as a missionary, my Anasazi experiences are some of my most sacred and treasured times of my life.

Check it out!

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