Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hiking, Hot Springs, and Laundry...

Since my last post...
Saturday night, I saw Avatar for the first time! (not super exciting, but I felt it was an occasion worthy of sharing :)
Sunday I had the day off, so after church a group of us (I'll introduce you to them in the pictures to come :) set off to hike the 5 peaks of Snow Mountain. The hike was difficult, and there were some stretches of insanely steep path that I questioned why I was putting my body through such exertion (as we climbed the air kept getting thinner, so of course we blamed the frequent breathing breaks we had to take on the altitude!) but we didn't give up, and, believe me, reaching all 5 peaks (and earning the bragging rights that go along with the accomplishment :) was worth every minute of the mental battle!
*just a note... because none of us has a vehicle here, we had to walk to the trail head and back also, which added an hour and a half onto our hike... in total, we were hiking for 5 hours!

The group (minus me :) at the trail-head.
Left to Right: Nathan, Erin, Erin, Pongsuh, Eddie... Back: David

The view from 1st peak!

Such a far view from 2nd!

Erin sandwich! (3rd peak)

The whole group on 4th peak!

We made it! (5th Peak :)

After getting back from the hike and (very briefly) freshening up, a larger group of Calvins and Navigators (employees who participate in another college program here) went to see Toy Story 3 at the theatre in Winter Park (Which is in the basement of a gas station, only has one screen, and smells like musty carpet).
Monday, my SECOND day off in a row (!), Kelly, Julie, Nathan, and I had a laundry party. This may sound like a lame thing to do on a day off, but the laundry building is a good 10 minute walk away, so when possible it's always nice to do it with other people :) I will never again take Calvin's free, conveniently located laundry room for granted again! While we were waiting for our laundry to dry, we played some ladder golf (which Nathan and I completely dominated... sorry Kelly and Julie!). After laundry, Kelly, Julie and I went and sat out a Columbine Point for a while (it was such a beautiful view on such a beautiful day... I'm sad I didn't bring my camera!) then went to the pool afterwards. It finally felt like a normal summer day!
The rest of the week I've been working at the Grill, but on Wednesday night, I got to go to the Hot Sulfur Springs! They weren't exactly what I was expecting (natural bubbling pools of water in the mountainside), they just looked like hot tubs with smelly, kind of dirty water in them. However, they were fed by the natural springs, and the water is supposedly good for your skin and joints, and we left feeling very refreshed and relaxed. That night, Kelly, Betsy, Dean, and I went 'camping' in the clear area behind Blue Ridge.
I saw another 3 shooting stars!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dry Air...

One of the not-so-wonderful aspects of life here is the incredibly dry air. I've been informed that sometimes, when we can see rain coming in sheets out of the clouds over the continental divide, that rain never actually reaches the ground because it evaporates so quickly. Should I believe this? If the speed at which my hair dries after showers and the amount of lotion, chapstick, and waterbottles I've gone through in the past 3 weeks is any indication of how dry the air is here, I definitely believe this "disappearing rain" fact.
But this dry air and the regularity with which I wash my hands as I work (a must when cooking and serving food :) has made the skin on my hands start to crack and bleed. :P I do have the next 2 days off (my first 5 day week since being here...I've had to work overtime the last couple), so I feel like it is time for some intense lotion-therapy :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Winter Wonderland...

I woke up this morning to my roommate Kelly yelling: "There's a bunch of fluffy white stuff on the ground!" So Betsy and I got up to look.
If it weren't the middle of June, I'd say that it was snow...
Welcome to Colorado.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

LCI! (and Work...)

Now that you know where I am and where I live, why am I here?

Calvin has a program here at Snow Mountain Ranch called the "Leadership Challenge Institute". There are around 30 of us Calvin students here working this summer and taking part in the activities of LCI. Retreats and outings are planned for our group throughout the summer, and every Monday night we have a guest speaker come. When they're done, we break off into our small groups (pictures to come of my small group!) to discuss what we heard (and to talk about anything else interesting that is happening in our lives. :)

This past Monday, Henry DeVries came from Grand Rapids and spoke about the different kinds of leadership. Rather than just leading from the front of the group, he described the ways in which people can be influences from the middle, by keeping a team together, or from the back, by encouraging. Each type plays an important role in any group.

Now about my job...

I work in the food service department, and each day makes me not only appreciate dining hall food a little more, but also makes me even more thankful for the on campus job I have at school for the sole reason that it is NOT in food service (though in reality, it's not as bad a job as it sounds :). I've gotten to know some neat people, and the time usually goes by fairly quickly (as quickly as 8 straight hours of standing up can go...).
The first few days I was here, I worked in Commons (the dinning hall at SMR) doing dishes and working the cash register. Monday and Tuesday of this week, though, I started training at the Grill, the restaurant/grocery on site where I will be working for a majority of the summer. At the Grill, I get to take orders from customers, cook food, make sundaes and shakes, and perform any other task that might come up. The Grill is a little more laid back than Commons (during breaks and for supper/lunch we can make ourselves anything on the menu... which might be dangerous :), and I actually enjoy the cooking and serving customers part (and I haven't had any complaints about my cooking.... yet!).

With these two keeping me busy, I have a feeling that this summer is going to fly by!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blue Ridge Lodge

As promised, here are some pictures of where I will be living for the summer! Blue Ridge is a little removed from most of the buildings, but still within walking distance.

I am rooming with two other Calvin students, Betsy and Kelly :)
The view into our room...

Meet Betsy :)
This bed is the loudest one I've ever slept in. Every time I breath it creaks... okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it is extremely wiggly... I sleep on the bottom, and Kelly has the top bunk.

Our closet/sink/dresser (most of the rooms have two dressers, but we get to make do with just one :P)

The view from our window...

That's the grand tour!

My address (for those of you interested:) is:

Rachelle (*)-STAFF
Snow Mountain Ranch
1101 County Road 53
PO Box 2270
Granby, CO 80446-2270

*Last name here... I just don't want to post it online with my address... :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Colorado at last!

After months of planning, a few hours of stressful packing (thank you, Mom, for helping me unpack and repack my life within a week :), I am finally in COLORADO!
Monday afternoon I set off on a 12 hour drive with two other Calvin students. We managed to fit almost everything we will need for the summer (including two bikes) into a Hyundai Elantra. (No, no one had to ride on the roof!) I had the great privilege of driving through Nebraska, which actually was not as brain-numbing as I was anticipating.

The time was passed singing through "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Wicked" soundtracks and playing an intense version of 20 questions. We stopped in North Platte, Nebraska for the night (and stayed in the same hotel as the Miss Nebraska candidates).
Tuesday we reached the Colorado border. The first couple hours in Colorado were uneventful, except for the sketchy gas station we stopped at in the middle of nowhere. There were a plethora of hunting knives on display right next to the 5 year old Doritos. The bathroom wallpaper was peeling, the water was not potable (not that I'm in the habit of drinking water from gas station restroom sinks). And there were stuffed animals (most of the teddy bear variety) hanging from the decoration? Then the mountains came into view! (they are kind of hard to see in this picture...but they are there!)

We arrived at Snow Mountain Ranch in the afternoon, and after filling out a ton of paper work, getting our pictures taken for our ID's (which all turned out wonderfully after 24 hours of traveling...not) we were able to move into the rooms that will be home for the next 3 months (I don't have any pictures currently, and am too lazy to get up and take one now, but I promise to post some soon!)

(a view of SMR from on top of Nine Mile :)