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Dak's Story

As we walked around the Glen Canyon Dam, I started thinking about power and water, the two main purposes of the dam. As I mused, I formed a plan for a dual-phase commitment. The first phase is the more personal one. As I am a large computer/technology user, my room is full of tech. My computer, my tablet, my scanner, my printer, and several miscellaneous lights, clocks, and other electrical items. Through my earth camp experience, I kept hearing about something called "ghost power". "Ghost power" usage occurs when items like computers or television draw power even when they're off. In light of my new discovery, I've resolved to run my whole room (an impressive amalgamation of technology) off of one power strip with the ability to turn off. That way, I'll never have to worry about "ghost power" again. The second phase of my plan revolves around water usage. On the trip, I found out that a lot of water ends up being wasted in the usage of traditional clothes washers. Your clothes are washed, and then the run-off, called "gray water" isn't used for anything else. But, as I found out, this "gray water" can be used to water a garden or a yard or something. So, I've decided to convert the washer at my house to be able to harvest the "gray water" for watering the many plants around my house. These phases, together, make up my commitment to make the Earth a better place to live. 


Journal Entry: Day 4

I wake early, as I often do in an unknown situation. Although the sun has yet to reveal itself, I can see a glowing eastern sky through the white mesh surrounding our sanctuary. This sight fills me with a hope strong enough to rejuvenate my characteristic joviality and bubbly demeanor which, I regret to say, had been diminished by an over-exaggerated sense of apprehension the previous night. Even the mosquitoes, emerging, like we, for the days activities, could not dampen my spirits completely, and it is with a wide grin on my face and a laugh on my lips that I leap over the side of the large raft, one of five that will carry us for the next five days. Soon, everyone has boarded, and we have begun the single biggest portion of our twelve days of life-changing experiences. As the motors purr, we cruise down the relatively calm waters of the Green River Put-in. Over the twenty-something miles we covered today, I saw things I haven't seen in a long time. I took time to notice the small things, such as the herd of intrepid desert big horn picking their way fearlessly along a precarious perch in the canyon wall far above, the calm, relaxed wingbeats of the great blue heron circling the waters, the unbridled joy of the water droplets that leap ahead as our rafts push toward the next adventure, as I never had before. But my day wasn't over. As we sat in a circle on the beach discussing the lessons we'd learned that day, and the coals of the camp, and other such subjects my pre-camp self would have found dreary, boring, and generally undeserving of my attention, my mind became filled with thoughts of how I could change, both my ways and the ways of others. So many inhabitants of western civilization are ignorant of the costs of overindulgence and waste; I realized that if we are to improve this planet, a planet we must share, then someone needs to shine a light in the darkness. While a common saying maintains that "ignorance is bliss", I find that the educated and fully aware mind is a far greater guide to happiness.


Making a Rope

Rope has always been an integral part of human society. From carrying things to holding objects together, it is used in different sizes and forms in almost everything we use, whether we can see it or not. These days, most of our rope is made out of synthetics, like nylon, or out of steel for industrial cables and small wires. We had several opportunities to investigate ropes all along our trip, including the thick, sturdy ropes used by our amazing river guides to secure the rafts and the beefy steel cables used during the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. But these ropes were made by machines, which, until camp, was the way I considered all useful rope was made. But, on our hike down Canyon de Chelly, I had my first encounter with legit, handmade rope. Jes?s, one of the staff members, used a long rope he'd made himself out of paper towels to tie his guitar to his backpack. The rope was surprisingly strong, especially for being made out of normal, bathroom-type paper towels. I was amazed that he was able to make a rope like that. Later on, he actually showed us how to make it. It was during a small respite as rain fell down on our Three Canyon campsite. Jesus decided to make more rope, and so we all gathered grass (yes, grass) off of the ground and he showed us how to make rope. The resulting rope was so long that we used it as a jumprope. We spent over an hour enjoying ourselves with our homemade rope; it was a while before we noticed that the rain had stopped!