Spring break came and went in a blink of an eye. I love the break don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly nice to relax, reboot and prepare for the final six weeks of classes. But, it is also a tease. One week with little to no responsibilities or worries only comes around so often and with summer break peeking around the corner, getting the mind rolling again can be tough! Sunshine and warm temperatures in the 60′s (in Montana I consider that balmy for this time of year, apparently that is considered cold in other places…) means it almost time to bring out the bikes, shorts, t-shirts, and hammocks to celebrate.
But, before the break started I finished up an eight week program with the Eagle Mount Ski Program.Eagle Mount provides therapeutic recreation for all seasons through outdoor activities. This was my second year with the ski program up at Bridger Bowl. This year I had the opportunity to control what is known as a “bi-ski” using tethers to manipulate speed and turning of the ski. Eagle Mount participants all have some type of “disability” that sometimes impairs their ability to ski on their own. With some participants, it is simply skiing with them one-on-one. In the case of a bi-ski, participants are usually without the use of their legs and sometimes arms as well. The participant will sit in the bucket strapped in ready to go. Next, a person on each side of the ski lifts it up onto the lift as well as off, and then the fun begins! Here is what a bi-ski looks like as well as someone tethering one.
I went to Bridger Bowl and tethered the bi-ski once a week on Tuesday afternoons for eight weeks, but some volunteers may ski a few times a week depending on availability. I can’t express how much fun skiing with these kids and adults is, the joy on their faces at the end of each run and at the end of the day makes it all worth it. For most of these wonderful individuals this is the only opportunity to go fast and get a huge adrenaline rush. For example, a young girl about my age was on vacation from Wisconsin with her family. She was involved in an auto accident a few years back and lost the use of her legs. This young lady had never went skiing before, and was quite nervous before the day started. On the lift I saw her flying down the mountain with the biggest smile on her face and laughter that could be heard from the town of Bozeman. It is truly a incredible experience that I will continue to take part of as long as I can! Eagle Mount also has volunteer programs during the summer and fall seasons as well: horse back riding, swimming, camping trips and so forth. Check it out!
While some of my friends were off in exotic places for break such as Vegas, Cabo, and Moab I decided to head to Missoula, MT and then my hometown Helena, MT for a few days before heading back to Bozeman. I put 750 miles on the ol’ girl (my car) and took in the beautiful scenery that our great state has to offer.
The Bridger Range in the background
On the road again
The Spanish Peaks lurking in the distance. Sometimes I have a hard time staying on the road gazing at these beauties. As John Steinbeck quotes from Travels with Charley “Montana has the kind of mountains I would create if mountains were put on my agenda” I could not agree with Mr. Steinbeck more!
On the way to Missoula
I think I was lost…
Views from Missoula to Helena off of McDonald Pass
My stud of a grandfather turned 75. He doesn’t look a day over 50 right?
Bridger the Yorkie, named after the Bridger Mountain Range
Yes folks it is MUSTACHE MARCH! Walk around campus and one can quickly pick up what month it is just in case it slips the mind.
Mykaylee and I saying bye bye to spring break!
So I didn’t go anywhere exotic and have a crazy time, but I saw some beautiful scenery and more importantly a lot of old friends. But for now it is back to real life. Registration for fall semester has already begun and I am nearing the end. By the end of next fall I will be all done with classes and begin student teaching the following spring. I must say it is pretty surreal, but the fruits of my labor are close to paying off! Cheers.