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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Jessica Terrell
Saturday, August 3
Location: Lake Valley, New Mexico

No one that I know had ever heard of Lake Valley, New Mexico. It may even be safe to say that many residents of the state have not heard of this little bit of living history nestled in the hills of this seemingly unforgiving land. When we arrived at the schoolhouse that was to be our base camp for the next two days, I must admit I was not immediately impressed with the area. A few run down buildings and one somewhat newer building stood in a clearing not far from the country road we had driven in on. I began thinking that the tarantulas we had seen on the roadside that morning were going to be the most exciting event of the next 48 hours. We waited until the site hosts, Wilma and Shelby, greeted us, and at that point we were led into the old schoolhouse that had recently been restored. My entire view of Lake Valley, which had just been formed moments ago, was changed as I entered the room. The creaking of the hardwood floors beckoned me to explore the schoolhouse from top to bottom. To my right was a classroom with about thirty wooden desks and chairs, a piano, and a teacher’s desk complete with books. Glass cases near the walls contained artifacts from the time period as well as some from the site itself. Books, pieces of glass, tools, and pottery were among the many treasures I discovered. To my left was an open space with a large table containing some maps, photos, and newspaper articles. Shelby stood waiting in anticipation to teach us about the history of the town. I was amused and intrigued by Shelby’s manner of speaking and looked forward to interacting with him. Shelby proceeded to weave a beautiful tale about the ghost town that made the remains, which had seemed so drab moments before, come to life right before my eyes. Lake Valley was founded by silver miners in the late 1800’s, who at times found such pure amounts of silver that it did not even need to be smelted! In no time at all, Lake Valley grew to a community of two to five thousand residents (accounts of the actual population vary), who all thrived on the silver industry. This continued until the early to mid 1900’s, when the government began regulating the value of silver (this is my interpretation and I do not have all the details on this), resulting in a decrease to the effect that mining silver was no longer profitable. Slowly, the residents moved on to other areas and the town became what it is today – a remnant of history kept alive only by those who are dedicated to passing along its story, a story I was glad to have heard. My thanks go out to Wilma and Shelby!!!

The highlight of our stay (for me) focused around a tour we received of one of the old silver mines by Homer Wilford. He gave a very comprehensive picture of the mining process, and even let us try our hand at hand drilling a hole in a rock! During the hey-day of Lake Valley, the drilling allowed a stick of dynamite to be dropped into the hole, thereby gaining access to more silver deposits. We discovered that it would have taken a lot of practice (which I am sure the miners had) to effectively create those dynamite holes for eight hours a day, every day. Mr. WIlford showed our group some of the buildings that were still standing, one of which was the church. Upon closer inspection, Jake noticed that there were bats in the “belfry” of the church! Later that night, Jake and I walked back to the church and were fortunate enough to witness over fifty bats fly out of the “belfry!” I was not able to identify them, but I can make a decent attempt to describe them. They were fairly large bats, with a wingspan of about a foot, with very large ears. They were medium to dark brown in color, except one that may have been an albino. Jake and I were standing probably ten feet away form the building, and to have bats swooping within three feet of our heads was quite an experience! The sound of their wings making the first flutter of the evening along with their high-pitched screeches completed the scene.
So many experiences along the trip are ones that can be preserved in some way, by journaling or taking photographs, but already I am learning that there are so many more experiences that can’t be described or photographed to be even close to capturing the moment. Cajoling with teammates, the first breath of pine when I wake up in the morning, and the vast blanket of stars above as I fall asleep are the things that will remain only in my memory. That is what this trip is all about as we explore the land, our land. The land can speak to us in ways that no human ever could. All you need to do is listen, and there is this seemingly endless treasure right within your reach that is ready to cleanse your body, mind, and spirit. Let it!!!
for Saturday, August 3
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Jessica Terrell
LM-jessicahorse04-08.jpg

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List of All Journal Entries
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Friday, November 15
Jessica Terrell
National Trails Symposium
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Sunday, October 27
Jessica Terrell
Meeting Team North
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Saturday, October 26
Jessica Terrell
The Finals Days...
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Thursday, September 19
Jessica Terrell
An Eye-Opening Experience
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Wednesday, September 18
Jessica Terrell
Days and Days of ATV's
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Tuesday, September 17
Jessica Terrell
My "Favorite" Day
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Friday, September 6
Jessica Terrell
Tour of Glen Canyon Dam, Hatch River Expeditions, and Lee’s Ferry (Lonely Dell) and the Houseboat!!!
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Monday, September 2
Jessica Terrell
Grand Canyon, North Kaibab Trail
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Sunday, September 1
Jessica Terrell
Grand Canyon, Phantom Ranch
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Saturday, August 31
Jessica Terrell
Grand Canyon Day 2
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Friday, August 30
Jessica Terrell
South Rim, Grand Canyon
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Monday, August 26
Jessica Terrell
Grand Canyon Sunrise
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Sunday, August 11
Jessica Terrell
Snow Lake
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Wednesday, August 7
Jessica Terrell
Silver City, NM
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Saturday, August 3
Jessica Terrell
Location: Lake Valley, New Mexico
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Thursday, August 1
Jessica Terrell
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Wednesday, July 31
Jessica Terrell
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