LNT Trainer Course:
Master LNT Trainer: Jackie Lucero LNT Trainer Assistant: Megan Petermann: LNT Trainer Students: John Matthews, Daniel Perez, Jessica Macy, Kyle Taylor, Kelly Krieves.
Location: Bighorn Crags July 23-25, 2011
The goal of Leave No Trace (LNT) is to teach principles and guidelines not rules. LNT encourages responsibility of folks in the outdoors by reducing or preventing their impact on the environment they so greatly respect. The seven principles are: 1. Plan Ahead and Prepare 2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces 3. Dispose of Waste Properly 4. Leave What you Find 5. Minimize Campfire Impacts 6. Respect Wildlife 7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors. Each corps member was assigned one principle and had to educate the group on the meaning behind it in an outdoor setting.
On our first day we met up and had a discussion on Planning Ahead and Being Prepared. Group gear and food was laid out and divided up between us all. We were on our way to The Crags! One vehicle was in much delight of a very good CD mix of tastes across the board focusing on the early 90’s to get us pumped up for our backpacking trip. Upon Arrive to the Trail Head we gave ourselves a quick bite to eat and a snap of the camera and we were on our way; 7 miles to Wilson Lake. Many a beautiful site was seen as we hiked along the mountain ridges and rims, trekked through snow, and hiked across granite slabs. Several stunning alpine lakes, white bark pine, lodge pole pine, and remarkable spires of granite were gazed upon. Weather could not have been better with temperatures in the 70’s and cool breezes on our faces. Getting to Wilson Lake was easy enough but, some time was taken to select a place we would call home and classroom for the next few days. We trekked through waist deep snow (for some knee) to get to the other side where we would find a spot to camp. A spot was decided upon beside the lake and would do more than suffice. An early night was called for some to rest their weary bodies.
Our first morning in the Crags was spent making delectable almond pancakes with real maple syrup and butter. Nice hot cups of tea and coffee were served as well as good conversation with good folks. After our breakfast we had a lesson in Being Considerate of others presented by Nina in a discussion form based around people and technology vs. people and nature. Lunches making time came as well as clean up. We resourcefully used the snow to our advantage by storing our bear bins of freshies and cheese to keep them cool. Off we went on our day hike across a large granite slab down to the valley bottom where the snow and sites were again plentiful. Boot skiing and sledding was taken advantage of in full. Our Lunch spot brought on another lesson of Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. Kyle had us hiking around the immediate area to find where we would camp, cook, set up a latrine and travel and why. The latrine leads right into Jess’s lesson of Dispose of Waste Properly wherein she gave us statistics on how long popular items took to decompose. Did you know that it takes roughly 2 years to for an orange peel to decompose? Jess also shared with us the proper way to dispose of our own human waste and led to our turn around back to camp. Along long the route back, we stopped for another quick sled run. Retuning to our camp, we took some down time while John geared up for his Respect Wildlife lesson. John discussed with us why respecting wildlife from a distance is as important to an animal’s health as is properly storing your food with bear hangs and or bear bins so that an animal cannot obtain it. We had a lovely little classroom session by our bear hang and what proper distances for them are. Some reflection time came for folks as did dinner of curry lentil soup with quinoa, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. With our bellies full Kelly began her lesson of Minimizing Campfire Impact. Kelly constructed a small mound fire on top of a fire blanket. A small fire was produced as were the fixing for smores; none of which were wasted. Through full bellies and minds at ease it was time to clean up and head for bed to get the much needed rest for the hike out. Our final morning came with winds, thunder, and light rain; enough to motivate us to get going on our way. Breakfast was a quick and easy of Granola, dried milk, and coffee and tea. The last of our freshies were used to make our last lunches as was good old fashion peanut butter and d jelly. Pack up cam and we were on our approach to the Trail Head and one final lesson along the way. Leave What You Find was the last lesson given by Dan at our final break before the end of the trail. Dan gave us some word teasers to prove the point that you don’t get the whole story if something is missing. Taking objects can take away from other peoples experience and disturb the land. All of our lessons were now complete; we had the last leg of our trail and the drive home to complete prior to a home cooked meal, shower, and bed. A successful LNT course for sure with great memories to share.