I arrived at FMA later than the other students, so my first expedition was their second. We took a hike up beautiful Gentry Creek to the spot that would be our home for the next six days. After reaching our campsites, we ate lunch and went to look at the task we had to accomplish.

Our main mission was to build a footbridge across Gentry Creek using only the tools the pioneers had. The first afternoon, we cleared a path where we wanted our bridge to lay. When we were done with this task, we went back to our camps and cooked supper – lentils and rice. At 7:00 – 7:30 p.m., we had a compass class and then headed back to our campsites to sleep. I slept outside on this expedition because I like the outdoors at night (and I don’t like sleeping by other people, because if they snore I get really angry.)

The next day we had to clear out some trees that were in the way of the main tree that we had to cut down for our timbers. We did this, but it got hung up, and as we tried to wedge it, Mr. Kevin showed us the danger involved by getting clonked on the head. We cut down all of the trees we needed with bow saws and axes. Once they were on the ground, we had to move the enormous trees up to where we wanted them to go by hand. It took a huge group effort, but we finally managed to get them into place. While I was cutting, other people were splitting the planks, after which we went back to our camps.

On the 3rd day, we worked the entire time putting both huge timbers into place and shoring them up on the large pilings we had constructed of rock. The 4th day, we put the planks on the bridge and it was complete. We were rewarded by Snicker’s bars after a job well done!

We are the first FMA class to finish a bridge in 4 days. Later that day, we hiked up to Gentry Falls. It was a spectacular view (but not quite like the falls in Colorado.)

The 5th day we learned to rappel, on a small rock face, using the Dulfersits method for emergency descents. This was very interesting to me, even though I found it to be a piece of cake (chocolate, of course.) After the rappel, we went back to our camps for the last night.

The next morning we hiked out and returned to the school, where we had hot drinks, hot showers, and a refreshing meal. FMA IX built a great bridge and beat all the former records too.

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