Fifteen Years Ago… and a few Days

I have to continue the story from the other day
the day A. and I spent dusting off our vintage memories…
sharing them with her husband V. …
(Their blog of this is at
that Girl Scout camp meant SO MUCH to me and so many other girls!
I bawled and bawled when National decided to close this camp.
I wrote letters and called and was ignored.
So now those memories are all I have…


Pow Wow:  The site of Dig Mankind, the first Girl Scout event I remember reading about… it helped me decide to stay in Girl Scouts, so I could go on a Wider Opportunity… I ended up going to one in Colorado Springs!  The day as Archaeology Consultant I lectured to over a hundred Girl Scouts here.  Native American flute music wafting along the wall… my mom in the audience who made me cry as she said my father would have been so proud (he had just died that spring).  My miniature reenactment of an atlatl and dart that *worked* in front of a similar audience… and my use of a full sized atlatl (with much smaller groups!)
Semi-secret Cave:  My choice spot for an archaeological dig… pictographs are eroding fast in this shelter.  I bring only close friends to this one… A., V., and Lucas on this trip!
Wilkes’ Cabin:  As I recall… I got bucked off near here once… landed between two patches of cactus!  I always felt like I could easily live in Wilkes’ Cabin.
Though the Nature Conservancy’s lodge is much more fancy than anything we had at our National Center West… the highlighted map is the same…  our little program building was the central fixture at Saddle Straddle.  We sang songs there, and cooked, and had “bruise contests” and showered off our tans and made a friend or two along the way.
The Red Hills and Marguerite Mesa:  We took our girls on week long horse pack trips up the Mesa.  Pack trips could fill their own book of memories!  The Red Hills hold my favorite memory… the times we trailed our 200 head of horses across them to the Ranch corrals.  It literally would become a flowing river of horses, manes and tails a testament to Catlin.
Little Red Man Pictograph:  The girls’ first exposure to pictographs, since this one was right next to the road… Sometimes I feel like the ghost next to him… being called back over and over to this place… I belong here.
Even places out away from camp have their special moments:  T. and I took one group of girls out to the Leigh Creek Monument where as I’m demonstrating, we tied all of our bandanas together for a flag to wave to the tourists on the highway below…  the monument sits on the highest 90 degree angle on the skyline.  Were we crazy?? Possibly!  Though from up there, it didn’t look that bad!  A. and T. spent time after camp together as well… in fact, we were lucky enough to reconnect with T. just this weekend.  After 30 years apart, our friendship was renewed!
That middle tent… on the right hand side… was mine.
The trees have grown.
The girls are long gone.
The songs we sang whisper in the needles of the green pines.
The friendships lay waiting for memories to stir them into life again.
We came from Wyoming and Pennsylvania and Tennessee and Minnesota and Vermont and every other state.
Some came from other countries like New Zealand and England.
We came to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong.
We were responsible.
We respected each other and authority.
We used resources wisely.
We made the world a better place.
We tried to be a sister to every Girl Scout.
We left here knowing that
“My honor is to try and my duty is to love.”
Thank you National Center West… you changed my life.
Thanks V. for more of your pics…
tune in tomorrow for the best of the lightning photos!


Fifteen Years Ago… and a few Days — 1 Comment

  1. Wow this brings back memories. I too attended Saddle Straddle. I was at Wrangler in Training during the last summer. Do you have the conservatory phone number so that I may visit next summer?

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