This expedition lasted for three days, and the campsite was on the FMA campus only requiring a fifteen-minute hike. We did woodlot management, trail building, and made other improvements in the woods. We set up our camp as a “tent city” and had an outside “cowboy kitchen.”

Taylor, Beau, and I had learned how to work in the kitchen back at the school and now learned the new useful skill of cooking in the “cowboy kitchen.” It wasn’t hard for me to get used to handling more than one pot at a time while cooking over an open fire.

During these three days most of us worked in the woods in the morning and afternoon. The three of us on kitchen crew did both, as we switched between working in the woods and working in the kitchen. We had some rain and thunder, and it was mostly dark and cloudy, but we did have wonderful sun rays coming in in the mornings. We accomplished many things. Taylor, Larissa, and Hailey built stairs leading down to the trail, and we cut a lot of trees to clear an area for next year’s students. Mr. Mike also cut some larger trees so we could have chairs near our campfires.

Life out in the woods was peaceful, and some of us actually wanted to stay there for the rest of the year. While I was working in the kitchen, on the last day, I had many thoughts, and I became honest with myself about all the things I had done. Being in the “cowboy kitchen” was like an escape and everything became more possible. I wrote this poem that morning:


Far in the distance, I see rainbows in the sky.

They catch my eyes,

In a single moment in time.

Peace within came forth,

A spark of fire.

I saw the blue, silver waters

Spill into a teakettle.

Golden stars from the sky trickled down.

Then running down my cheeks in silence,

Like a whisper barely heard

Even in the stories the wind had told,

Longer than I have been alive.

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