Skip to main content

Field Program

[Image Description: Two MCC members taking a brief break; one is sitting on a rock, the other is standing nearby. They are both in their uniforms, looking out at the expansive, mountain view surrounding them.]

From Rough Beginnings

Crew members walk up a road

From rough beginnings lost in time,
We drove up to our campground
Flooded with snowmelt, and guarded by great horned owl.
Frustrated, we found Charlie’s final campsite,
And kept him company in the wintery snow of late June,
Warming ourselves by the fire we struggled to light,
Sharing legends and stories to a clay prospectors tune

We awoke in the morning with frost on our toes,
And prepared to begin our search for springs,
Lost somewhere between winter and summer.
With little sleep and sore feet, we worked our way up the mountain road,
Surrounded by tracks in the snow of great and majestic beasts,
Missing one companion but joined by another.

As the summer solstice dawned, the snow kept melting,
And we continued our quest to find sources of water.
The solstice sun warmed and warmed
Until sweat flowed from us like the springs we went searching for.
At our new camp, a dead tree had fallen,
And we worked on a new bench by the fire
Until a new face came by with elk jerky to entertain us
By the light of the fire and the full solstice moon

By dawn, we lost our visiting companion to his journey home,
And went up to Florence to begin flagging trees to be cleared,
Passing mines both new and old, we saw a glimpse through time,
To a time of prospectors and highwaymen desperately searching for gold,
But as our rolls of flagging shrunk ever thinner,
We finished what work we could and returned to camp

In the morn, we began our long drive back down the mountain,
Back to Grangeville once again,
To resupply on both flagging and areas to be flagged.
Cell service is both a blessing and a curse,
But we persisted through good news and bad news,
And before we left we stopped in the market
For an atlas and pan, catching prospector fever on our way out of town

We began a new day as any other with stretching,
Then flagging through dense forests and thick trees,
Down to Crowley’s Crossing, deteriorated by time
Till we reached a point too thick to continue.
We’ve been ready and waiting to saw all week;
Little did we know we’d be sawing our own turnaround
But finally, painstakingly, we climbed our way out,
With a water bottle and a bit of sanity lost along the way

At camp, we lost another companion
And the campfire became an odd mix of worry and humor
Keeping ourselves entertained with truths and dares over s’mores

We awoke the next day ready to drive
And drive we did, backtracking further back than ever
Retreating only temporarily to get our ill companion to safety.
We returned that night in a solemn mood,
Feeling shrunk down to size by the challenges of nature,
But four remained and persistent we were,
Ready to finish what we had begun,
And ready to return home to a shower

The barn smells sweeter the closer you get,
But we still had a road to clear of fallen trees,
And so we practiced our skills once more
Before driving down the mountain for the last time.
Eagerly we awaited our return as we drove,
Fantasizing of all the things we would do once home,
Till we reached the hot springs the night of our last day,
And the geothermal heat seemed to melt our stress away.

Like a roller coaster, we’ve been through our ups and downs
Such a beautiful experience with such a beautiful crew.
Although as we look forward there is still uncertainty,
Though shrunk down to size, our skills and relationships only grew.
As always, we look forward, preparing for a new week of hard work,
Never forgetting through our labors to have a bit of fun,
New projects, places, people and purpose await,
After all, the summer has just begun.