During these cold days, I looked back at this summer’s Mountain Man Rendezvous, where 150 Trailmen from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, and Alaska gathered. The boys took part in many Patrol challenges, including:
- swimming and lifesaving,
- fly fishing,
- tomahawk throwing,
- rock climbing,
- horse demonstrations,
- cave exploring,
- fire starting,
- mountain man cooking,
- wilderness survival, and
On the drive up my vehicle broke down three hours into a five hour drive. Stranded with the boys I was worried that this trip was a wash. However, the readings for Mass that day included Romans 8:28:
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
I was grateful that I had cell service. Some Trail Life adult leaders immediately came and picked up the boys and the other adult leader while I stayed with the Truck. I was next to a cemetery, and took the occasion to pray and clean-up the area. I observed a young mother and child come and sit in front of the gravesite of a two year old. I was able to spend several hours, uninterrupted, praying and reading. It was quite peaceful.
I had intended to use my camping gear to make myself comfortable for the night (my friend was coming in the morning to replace the waterpump) when a rather salty local came and spoke with me. Once I convinced him I wasn’t a Democrat or Federal Agent, he invited me to spend the night at his home. I drove my truck to his home and enjoyed him homemade soup and recipes late into the night.
After my mechanic friend and another mutual friend (who came along for the ride) got me going again, I finally made it to the Roundup. As advertised, the boys were all fully engaged, leaning skills and making memories that would last a lifetime. While they were hitting the various stations, I settled down to begin teaching boys how to make fire from a steel and flint. Every Trailman going through my station made a spark with the steel and flint, and made a fire out of a spark.
When I asked the Trailmen of OR-1531 what their favorite activity was they mentioned the horses, rifle marksmanship, and exploring the caves.
The Roundup in 2018 will most likely be in Idaho. I project that OR-1531 will be bringing about 10 boys this year to join the hundreds of other Trialmen attending the Regional Round-up.