Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Jerry and I are members of the Backcountry Horsemen of California (BCHC). The purpose of the organization, in part, "shall be to perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America's backcountry and wilderness". The group is made up of regional 'units' involved in education, service, and the love of the backcountry. The yearly state Rendezvous combines classes, training, contests, clinics and competitions all in one busy weekend in March.
We made it our first camp out of the year, packed up our tepee tent, grub, some clothes and headed to Merced.

Jerry enjoys being camp cook and that's fine by me. He gets up first to get the fire going, and by the time I crawl out of my bedroll; hot, strong, camp coffee and a hot breakfast are ready.

The last time we went to rendezvous, we took our horses and entered a few contests. We decided to go without animals this trip. I had forgotten how much simpler camping is without having a string of horses to care for, I enjoyed it.

We both entered some of our photographs in the Western Art Show. Amateurs, we enjoy photography and take a lot of pictures. Three years ago, Jerry entered one of his photos and was awarded a third place. This year he entered one photo and ........ drum roll please....

He was awarded FIRST PLACE in the photography division. Yeehaw.

I earned a THIRD. woo hoo!

also an honorable mention.
Just in case you were wondering, yes there were more than our few photos entered. If you can see the little green sticker on my black and white, you'll see entries already numbered in the 30s when we brought our pictures in.

It was not our typical camp out, our little camp was squeezed between campers at the Fairgrounds. We were in a perfect spot to watch the Trail Trial Classes in the Arena.

There were groups competing in the Dutch Oven Cook Off. It sure smelled good out there.

These very cool Iron Mules were used to teach packing techniques. Jerry hung out here a bunch, sharing yarns with the 'old timers', learning a new knot or two, and sharing a few tips of his own.

We both completed enough 'Gentle Use' classes to earn our first pin. There were great classes and awesome speakers. The core classes I took included, Gentle on the Trail - with Campsites - Concepts - Stock Management - With Plants and Animals. Mostly common sense stuff but with so many more people enjoying the backcountry, we feel it is so important to be very gentle on the land so it can be enjoyed for generations to come. We learned camping concepts as kids in my family; don't pick the flowers, leave things cleaner than when you arrived, no littering and pick up other's litter, a big thanks to my Mom and Dad.
It was a fun weekend. We came home and Tristan had a new Science Project from his teacher.... find, pick and identify 50 California Wildflowers. yep, that's true, pick 50 wild flowers... we discussed gentle use of wild plants and I loaned him my digital camera to capture images instead. I offered to write a nice letter to his teacher, he passed on that.
Enjoy your trails, but please don't pick the Wild Flowers.


Karen Deborah said...

This is great I would have entered some of your pictures from last year when you wnet camping with all those guys. Remember that "kitchen"? The scary dirty one? That could win something, it tells a story.
I'm amazed that a teacher in modern day Cali now less would assign a whole class to each pick 50 flowers. What is the purpose they are so fragile you can't keep them. Capturing photos is awesome. I hope you can save a day in June. Maybe between the 13th and 16th? I may extend my ticket if it gets to cramped. debbie has offered her place for a pow wow. If you aren't to far though I'd love to come to where you are and meet everybody in person--like the dogs...hee hee.

di :) said...

i like your aspen trees (3rd place) better than the snowy (1st place)
and ditto karens comment, why would the teachers want 'em to pick the wild flowers :(

amy said...

Pressed wildflowers are lovely, and it is a great way to collect and identify flowers for a biological study. The kids can also draw or photograph them, but I think her driving force (besides learning about flowers, identification, collecting, categorizing, etc.) is to get kids to actually go out into nature to participate in a nature study. Too easy to draw from books or steal other people's pictures online and never truly experience the wonder of a field of poppies! She has good intentions, maybe she should have told the kids to limit it to dandelions or only flowers that are growing in a patch of millions :)

lov ya, mom said...

enjoyed reading this, fun you had. and saving the wild flowers.

Jenn said...

How very awesome! Grats on the photo recognitions and wins! You've always taken very nice photos.

I wish we had a group like that around here...alas, no one really cares if you are gentle on the plowed field or not...not very many really wild places around here at all.

david said...

I knew I shouldn't have looked at this blog. City life is really getting pretty boaring. It is so cool to be able to identify personaly with pictures. sept, there was no snow when I was there. Any picture taken from that camp is a BLUE RIBBON. When I get rich I would love to go back. I should put some of my pics. in frames.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Glad you offered the camera for faux-flower-picking. I adore wildflowers. When we put our pool in the tractor work destroyed a wildflower meadow and NONE of my favorites returned! I still have lots of beauties to enjoy, but some just vanished. I keep looking . . .

Congrats on the awards. : D