My final blog post

April 29, 2010

So today is Wednesday, April 28 2010. I had no class today for I am completely done with school!! My freshman year in college has diminished into the past and everything has turned into memories. I took my last final last night and I have never been happier. At the same time however, I am extremely sad. I am depressed that I have to leave such a wonderful place. Steamboat became my 2nd home very quickly. Leaving this place is not going to be easy. All the people and teachers I have met over the months are so awesome. I love everything about CMC.

I remember how nervous and scared I was when I first came here. I didn’t know a single soul yet I managed to meet a lot of wonderful people. CMC was the first place where I fit in really well and leaving is not going to be easy. I will never forget the mini ramp, the mountain, the awesome small class sizes, the wonderful views. This list goes on forever. Hopefully summer goes by quickly so I can get back up here in August. I am going to cut it short today for I have a ton of packing to do but I must say this school changed my life. I love this place more than words can describe. CMC will hold many incredible memories for me and any non CMC students reading, this is one hell of a place. Don’t spread the secrete!

I will be back in August for another great year of blogging so stick around! You are all great and I love you for reading my blog.

Yours truly,

Benjamin Saheb


End of the Year Sneek-Up

April 27, 2010

So today, April 26th, 2010 marks the first Monday of the last week in school. About 2 weeks ago was the last time I posted a blog. 2 weeks ago I was put in an academic “hold” you could say. Lately, I have been doing a ton of school work trying to get ready for my finals exams and final essays. From writing a 15 page paper in English, more papers in Philosophy and US History, I had no finger strength to type up a blog. And with studying for several final tests including a math final, my brain was exhausted. As I sit here typing, I am happy to say that all finals are taken care of except my US history final. Victory is so close!

The weather is looking amazing in steamboat. The warm spring sun came out of nowhere and there is green vegetation everywhere again. Flowers blooming, grass growing and all the trees are beginning to get green again. Can’t wait for school to be out. Kind of don’t want to leave either :/

Yesterday, April 11th, Steamboat Mountain closed its access to the public. The 2009/2010 season is now officially over and snowboarding/skiing will no longer be an activity participated by CMC students…. Or so you think? Me and my buds contemplated that exact question. With that being said, I managed to give my friend a call today to see if he wanted to go snowboarding. Not at a resort but somewhere in the back country forests. He equally thought it was a great idea so we met with my friend and his 4-Wheeling club in Summit County. 2 Steamboat bound college students with 2 Boulder bound college students piled into our friends 4-Runner and set off up a favorite trail we have been driving up for years. I will not disclose the trail name for it is almost a well kept secrete me and my friends have been keeping for quite some time. Anyway, we have gone up this trail in past spring seasons for some great muddy 4 wheeling and some slushy snowboarding!

We were leaving summit county at about 7:00 a.m. Our boards were packed up into the car and our lunches were ready to go. My buds and I were excited to get back into the wheeling season so we will not miss snowboarding for a while. When we hit trailhead entrance, it was about 8:30. The trail was covered in packed slushy snow. We had to drive to higher ground where the better snow still exists. The further we drove my friends off road vehicle, the harsher the roads became. more mud, more snow, more water. The car got exponentially dirtier the higher up we went. We knew going up the western face of the mountain would be the muddiest and we chose that for a reason. Driving through mud and snow is my favorite 4-Wheeling conditions.

As we approached the summit of the mountain, we got our boards and headed to the northern facing part of the mountain. We were incredibly bummed out to see that the place where the mountain gets the most snow, didn’t even have enough to snowboard down. Everything was rocky, muddy and crappy. The only kind of vehicle that could make it down the slushy snow was our cars, and this crazy snow tractor contraption. We have never seen this mountain like this before. Although all the pictures show snow on the mountain, there was definitely not enough to to be able to pull it off safely. So for the first time in 3 years, we have been unable to ride at our spot. So much for it being lucky..

Instead of snowboarding, we parked the vehicles in a nice spot to get lunch. Enjoying the spring sun, we celebrated the coming of spring and the leaving of winter. Even though we didn’t get to snowboard, it was still a great sun. After hanging out in the area for an hour, we knew it would be time to head back to the boat. We packed up our stuff, and said our goodbyes.

With the 2nd night coming to a peaceful end, I was happy to finally leave the campfire and get some sleep. I was exhausted. The first field day had kicked my ass and I fell asleep quickly. I had a weird dream about being an Anasazi traveling around the mesas but I couldn’t remember it clearly. I got another amazing night of sleep and I woke up in the morning completely refreshed. There was once again ice on my tent however day 3 was extremely cold. As I stepped outside my tent, there were no clouds above and the sun was still on its way over to our side of the sphere. I put every bit of clothing on I had and went and made breakfast again. Everyone in the camp was groggy because of the cold and darkness but as soon as the sun came up everyone came back to life.

Giving a presentation before we left

Angie showing us how to read a map

Before we embarked out on our trip, we did another preliminary stretch. While stretching, Angie and Cody went through our days schedule and it was not as intensive as the previous day. This day we were going to hike to the top of the comb ridge and catch some views. Then we would get lunch and go to a final site before leaving back to camp. I spent a great bit of effort stretching… I would need it. At about 8:00 a.m., we took off on our adventure.

We first traversed onto the comb regions sandstone. We hiked a few miles south and searched for a high ridge to scale up. Once we found one, we began hiking up. This is where all that stretching paid off. We were going straight up a sandstone mountain. I was not used to this kind of hiking at all for it was also very difficult. One slip, and your going to have a rough tumble down. This was pretty extreme. The whole time, I was thinking how the ancient puebloans pulled this off. The didn’t have sophisticated hiking boots or adequate equipment. However they managed to pull it off like no problem. For us however, it was a challenge. When we got to what I thought was the top, was only half way. I was exhausted and scared because of how high we went. But we had to keep going. There was one more ginormous from the Lion King. This rock was huge and we were going straight up it. On the inside I didn’t want to do this but I had to.

Jake showing the instructors a sweet view

What I thought would take 10 minutes ended up taking almost 30 minutes to scale this crazy thing. When we got to the top, it wasn’t the top. There would be still another hour of hiking to get to a point that see’s over the ridge. Angie and Cody had miscalculated the trek and said we would have to reach the top of the ridge from our 1st site of the day. Since we spent so much effort hiking, we decided to hang out and see the incredible view while eating lunch. It was awesome to be eating lunch in the 80 degree weather, while still seeing mountains all around use covered in snow. It was almost very spiritual being up there. It was as if the Anasazi were right there showing us what life was like years ago. It was a great feeling, however I wanted to get down! I was getting weazy being that high up.

Pride Rock was HUGE

Lunch at the top of pride rock

presentations at the top of pride rock

Instead of going down, we began scaling the comb ridge sideways. Yes sideways. Angie and Cody knew that it would be easier to get to our site if we stayed relatively high up. So that was what we did for the next hour. When we got to the canyon we needed to be in, we hopped in and began working our way up again. Eventually we would hit our next site. This place was covered in crumbled sandstone and was very hard to move around. However, this site was not an actual site where these people lived. This was a place strictly covered in rock art and pictographs. They were everywhere. The presence of these people really made their appearance at this site.

After we spent about an hour checking out the site, We decided to work our way up to the top of the ridge once again. I didn’t think we would make it to the top because of what happened earlier. Sooner than later, we hit the top and my stomach dropped. I was speechless by what I was seeing. Everything could be seen from 360 degrees of view. We continued to hike to the tip top and when we reached the tip top, I got super freaked out. The top of the ridge had a straight drop down of like 2000 feet. One mistake up there would be the last of you. I kept good footing and ground. When we took our group picture, it was the highlight of the trip. This view really touched me and I could just feel the puebloans sitting right there next to us.

After we spent time on the top ridge, it was time to head home. I had learned so much on this trip… What a great way to celebrate everything we did over the few days. The hike down was hard but it was more depressing than anything. I didn’t want to leave.

Continuing from part 2, we were just getting done with exploring the monarch ruin site. We moved out of the cave area and hung out on the rocks for lunch in the warm sun. While that was going on, Angie and Cody our instructors were giving us a lesson on the culture and behavior of the people that lived in Monarch cave 1000 years ago. We spent a great deal of time in deep conversations on what life may have been like for the people back then. Everyone had their opinions but I was under the assumption that my theories were right and theirs was wrong. Angie and Cody explained to me that in archaeology, everyone’s opinion is accounted for. Because we don’t really know exactly what went on, everyone’s ideas are valid. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed with them.

After lunch, we had our last goodbyes and off we were again to another site. We spent the next hour straddling the cliffs trying to get on top of the comb range. Once we were finally out of the canyon and on the sandstone, the environment took a complete change. No longer was there water, life and plants around us. As soon as we got on the sandstone, it was a barren wasteland that went on as far as the eye can see. I was completely mind blown by how quickly things can change in a desert environment. It was simply incredible. The one thing I did like about this was how easy it was to travel. No longer were we hopping over streams, loose rock, steep cliffs, etc. We were simply taking the highway over to our next destination.

On our way to the 2nd ruin site, we passed a giant pond that was eroded into the rock. For me and the rest of the students, the water looked barren and lifeless. So we just passed it like it was no big deal. To Angie and Cody however, this waterhole was a desert concentration for life. They told us if we looked into the water for a few minutes, we would start to notice this waterhole come to life. Thats exactly what happened too. The more I looked into it, the more little creatures and bugs I began to see! Cody gave us a class presentation right on the spot. He opened up one of his books and read us an article on desert pond life. Time and time again would I be continually amused by this desert environment. There was just a sea of knowledge to be learned and we had barely chipped the paint.

Angie showing us the complex life systems in water holes

When we closed in on our 2nd destination of day 1, I was getting super tired. I had to fight my weakness for there was still the trek back. We hopped into another canyon and began walking deeper into it. Once again, the further we walked up the canyon, the more little artifacts I started to see on the ground. At this point I knew we were getting close. Sooner than later, we closed in on our destination. I am not sure of the name of the 2nd ruin site but boy was this one amazing! From what I could perceive, there was 2 levels on this site. The top level was beyond our capabilities of getting there but the lower level was open for our inspection. This site was much larger with a big emphasis on the brick style of structures. we found corrugated gray and elaborate black and white pottery. This led us to the conclusion that it was from the Pueblo III era.

this is the station where they would sharpen their work tools. Notice the indents in the soft sandstone

Behind the structures was the cliff dwelling. Under the cliff dwelling was an opening that went into a cave. This cave had to have significance to these people for it was huge. I could imagine the entire group that occupied these dwellings used to hang out in the cave during hot summers. It was so nice and cool to be inside the cave. Inside was loaded with pictographs and petroglyphs all across the inside wall. I was once again mind boggled.

its hard to see… but this is a petroglyph of a husband and impregnated wife

black and white pottery = Pueblo III Era

black and white pottery = Pueblo III Era

more cave paintings

When we hopped out of the cave, we began to explore more of the ruin site. This area was loaded with rooms and kivas. This led us to the conclusion that this site was officially Pueblo III. No more speculation at that point. It was known that it was a Pueblo III site. All along this cliff was kiva after kiva, room after room. This society was much larger than the monarch site. It was fascinating to see differences between eras all in one day! I felt so privileged to be able to visit sites like this. Sooner than later however, we had to begin our trek back to camp. I was already exhausted however it my legs weren’t going to move without me telling them to so evidentally it had to be done. I was sad that we had to leave but also excited that there was still an extra day ahead of us!

The shortcut road home

Right before sunset, we made it back to camp. I cooked an incredible dinner and spent the rest of the evening with the group hanging out by the fire. Right before bed, Cody read us a story that was about an archaeologist who spent his life digging up these sites.

This concludes part 3/4