First Time Being a Grandparent

After much anxious waiting, we are finally grandparents to a beautiful baby boy.  Oliver Maxwell weighed in at an amazing 9lbs 3oz and we can’t wait to meet him in person.  Before I walk you through what happened here are some pictures.

Kyrston a few days before the baby was born.

 

My son-in-law Jeremy and Oliver.  Oliver has his “I was just born” cranky face on.

 

He likes being swaddled from what I hear.  That’s a pretty cute face!

 

One of the common misconceptions about the full time RV lifestyle, is that you can be with family for all the big events.  If you are a retired RVer that may be the case, but us working RVers have similar challenges as those with full time jobs.  That being said we could have made some different choices and been there for the birth (my friend Kelly was there for her first grandchild), but in our case we did not.

So it was rough being so far away from my kid during this important moment, and even rougher when her labor drug on and she was in pain.  Regardless of the reason, it’s hard to watch your child suffer and even though pain is a completely natural part of childbirth, it was hard for me to handle.  It was even worse when things got complicated and after 18 hours of labor they decided to do a C-Section.  Thankfully the decision was not an emergency and they were able to choose, and given the lack of progression I thought it was the best choice.

Turns out it absolutely was because Oliver weighed in at a whopping 9lbs, 3oz!!!  Kyrston, at 5’2″, is smaller than me, and I had trouble delivering her at 7lbs, 14oz.  As a matter of fact when the midwife saw the size of the baby she said he was never fitting through there!  All that really mattered was everything turned out well, and there are advantages to having a bigger baby.  He’s eating like a champ for one thing, and much less scary for a first time mother.

A couple of weeks ago I made my flight arrangements and will be with them August 7 through August 17th.  I picked those days deliberately because I wanted to wait until Jeremy’s paternity leave was done.  I think it’s important that they spend time as a family adjusting to the new normal and having a mother-in-law watching every move wouldn’t be my personal favorite.  Now that he is here though I can’t wait to meet him in person and am spending as much time as possible finishing his baby blanket.

This Cross Stitch turned out to be waaay more work than I originally thought. Thankfully all that is left is the outlining and I think I can get that done in time.

As far as my grandmother name, I haven’t decided yet.  I would like to meet him first and am even open to letting him decide what to call me, which could take awhile.  It’s also too soon to tell who (if anyone) he looks like.  Again, more than happy to see how that plays out over time.  Really I think the important thing for us as Grandparents to remember is ultimately it’s not about us.  Yes, having our first grandchild is a major milestone, and thankfully we are both very excited about the circumstances.  That being said as a life impact Jeremy and Kyrston are the ones whose lives are completely going to change, and we want to do everything we can to help while allowing them to live their lives as they see fit. Ultimately, I do believe this birth will have an impact on how we travel, but for right now the focus is being supportive of their transition.

One last thing.  I really wanted to thank everyone who clicked our Amazon link over the last several months.  That little bit of extra money (ranging between $27 and $109 dollars each month) has allowed me to splurge and buy some presents for Oliver.  It helped me feel part of the process and made both myself and my daughter very happy.  As you know we live on a pretty tight budget so having that little bit of guilt-free money to spend was fantastic.  Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

June 2019 Budget

Great Month.  We made $4532 and only spent $2293, which is great because we are digging ourselves out of the pretty serious hole we put ourselves in.  We were under in almost every category so I won’t go into detail, but I will say I am particularly proud of breaking even in dining out, because we did quite a bit of that but managed to stay under budget.  If you would like more details check on the spreadsheet below.

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

First Time at Bagby Hot Springs

For the last couple of years I have been intrigued about the hot springs in the Mt. Hood area, but for one reason or another I have never gone.  First of all, hot springs are really not Lee’s thing, and since I never felt comfortable going alone, I just never went.  Why didn’t I feel comfortable?  Well, public nudity is definitely a thing here in Oregon, and although I don’t have anything against the idea personally I am not sure I would want to walk alone to a situation that involved it.  Also I had heard that these places attract drugs, and again, not a place I want to be alone.

This year I stopped at the Ripplebrook Store to get some ice cream and saw a sign stating that the forest service had closed Bagby for remodeling and it had just reopened.  This was interesting to me, because I thought it wouldn’t have had time to get trashed and I decided I was going to go whether or not Lee wanted to.  Since the weather had been terrible for several weeks, he wanted to get out and said he was willing to take the hike with me, although he wouldn’t be getting into the hot springs.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to either, but grabbed my bathing suit just in case and we took Jack and headed that way.

All I had to get me there was a pretty terrible Forest Service map and although it was a pretty ride, the roads were not very well marked.  At the very end of the drive we had to turn on Forest Road 70 and the only markings were spray painted words on the pavement. Since there is no cell signal anywhere close to the springs, I highly recommend fixing it in your GPS in advance and carrying a paper map with you.  We are pretty good at navigating and we had to pay close attention to not get lost.  Also make sure you have a full tank of gas, flashlight, food and water, and a good spare tire.  These mountain roads are not heavily traveled and you need to be able to support yourself if something happens.

Don’t let the nice pavement fool you. These are single lane logging roads.

It was confusing when we arrived as to where to park, but we pulled in when we saw the Bagby Campground sign.  There is a large Day Use parking area with pit toilets and a pay kiosk.  You don’t have to pay to park and hike but you do need to pay $5 a person if you want to soak.  We went ahead and paid $5 and then started up the trail.

I was grateful to see the pit toilet but I wouldn’t recommend changing in it

 

The single tubs was the area where nudity was allowed but these are all closed.

 

Talk about a remote camp host job. He did have a nice ATV though.

The hike to Bagby was 1.5 miles each way, and I have to say one of the best hikes we have been on in the Mount Hood area.  The trail was extremely well maintained, only moderately difficult with slight elevation changes, through beautiful mature forest, and had great bridges along the way. Jack had a fantastic time!

Every bridge was different and I really liked them.

 

Big trees

 

I mean really big trees

 

Jack loves running on big logs, so this was a good place for him.

 

He was also super accommodating about posing for us.

 

As you can see HUGE tree stumps.

 

And this amazing couple of trees growing out of a huge old stump. Really neat.

 

Happy Lee

 

Happy puppy.

 

The springs themselves were a bit anti-climatic although we did find them historically interesting. They were discovered in 1880 by an early hunter and prospector named Bob Bagby.  In 1913, Phil Putz, a Forest Service guard, built a cabin that is still present today. A  small fire crew stayed there during the summer months who built a barn, dam, shelters, and bathhouse in the 1920’s.  All of these facilities have disappeared, but the Friends of Bagby volunteers built the current bathing facilities at the hot springs over several years, but due to lack of maintenance they fell into disrepair.  That’s why I was so glad the Forest service was trying to complete some work on it.

Pretty

 

This building is closed

 

As is this one. You can see how much damage they have taken over the years. “Sketchy” was how this place was described and I agree with the areas that haven’t been renovated yet.

 

It’s a shame too because you can see how well made these buildings are.

 

Two of the public bathing areas were reopened. This smaller one had a line of people waiting their turn in the small 4-6 person tub.

 

The Larger one had several millennials in it and everyone was clothed!

 

I could have gotten dressed and gone in, but I just didn’t feel comfortable. They were all super friendly though and the girls were even singing a really lovely song I never heard before. The acoustics were amazing in there.

After deciding not to take a soak we walked down and went back to this cool waterfall and pool that was close by.  No one was there and I said I would love to take a dip in that.  Lee went over and found a path down, with a handy rope, and next thing I knew we had this beautiful area all to ourselves.  The water was too cold to jump in, but not too cold for some feet soaking.

Yes the pool was that green.

 

There were several really cool pockets as well.

 

This slide went down to the waterfall and if I was braver 🙂

 

Lee and Jack explored upstream of the waterfall. When I wan’t looking Jack jumped in to the water and slid down about 10 feet!

 

And around the fall

 

While I chilled by the waterfall.

Wonderful view looking up

 

Really special place and worth the hike.

 

So even if you don’t care about the springs the hike was great.  Plus you might get lucky and be there when there aren’t any crowds.  We were there on July 4th and it wasn’t that crowded considering.   Either way it was really great to get out and we all needed the exercise.

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

It’s Not all Gloom, but There is Hail

So everything the last few weeks hasn’t been doom and gloom, but there was a bit of a crazy weather event.  I’ll get to that in the end.  First of all we have had lots and lots of doctor appointments.  Making the appointments is time consuming itself, but going is also a most of the day affair.  These appointments are over an hour away, so it’s at least 4 hours all together.

In order to get refills on his prescriptions, Lee had to see our regular doctor, who sent him to a cardiologist.  The cardiologist scheduled some blood work and a stress test and I am happy to say the stress test went very well.  Lee had never had one before and ran a full 12 minutes with a heart rate up to 150 with no events…so that was a good thing.  We don’t have the blood results back yet, but I am feeling very positive.

My doctors appointments start next week (dentist, eye, annual physical), but I have had the time to do some fun things.  Kyrston said she wanted more receiving blankets and I went to multiple thrift stores looking for them.  I hit the jackpot at a store in Estacada, because the owner’s daughter-in-law had a baby boy and she had two boxes full of clothes they had never sold.  Not only did she bring them out of storage for me, but she only charged me 50 cents a piece and I cleaned up!!  That was fun.

Besides appointments Lee has been focusing quite a bit on work and I grabbed a couple of pictures along the way of interesting things.

The new electronic GEM car we have at work is pretty fun to drive

Lee invented a really cool scrub brush for all the camphosts. They were a BIG hit.

Lee learning how to fill our water wagon from the lake,

We had our first potluck and the host family used the doors of their Class A compartments for a table.  I thought this was really cool.

Oh and the strangest thing happened.  One day while I was working I got this intense craving for this Chinese dish I used to eat as a kid.  It was bizarre..I could taste it.  I texted my Dad to see what the name of it was and then remembered it was called War Sue Gai.  I realized it had been years since I had seen that on a menu and I looked it up online and learned that is a Midwest name for boneless almond chicken.  All of a sudden I had to have it, and I started looking online for a chinese restaurant that had it.  As I was researching I ran across a restaurant called Ding Ho in Madras, which was the exact same name as the restaurant I ate at in Columbus as a kid.  Long story short we went to get the dish and although it wasn’t as good as I remembered from my childhood it was close enough!

The restaurant used to be a drive in. Weird

You get a brown “gravy” that you pour over the chicken.

Despite how nice it looks in the pictures, it has been really cold on the mountain.  I have been looking everywhere for a sweater for Jack because the poor guy has been freezing.  I even went down to the Friday Night Farmer’s Market in Sandy looking for one, but unfortunately there was nothing.  I did buy some excellent cool weather crops though for a great price including romaine lettuce, turnips, and some beautiful green onions.

I also had a chance to go down to the Friday night Farmer’s Market in Sandy

All of these errands were fine, but we were really wanting a nice summer day, but unfortunately for three weeks straight the weather was cold and rainy on our days off.  It was starting to get us both really down, and then last week something really crazy happened.  First we started getting some cracks of lightning and then out of nowhere it started to hail.  Thankfully I was in our RV and pulled in the awning, because Lee was in the office and within 10 minutes the ground was coated.  Two people who weren’t with their RV’s unfortunately had awning damage.  I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.  Let me show you.

Initial Hail.

Less than 10 minutes later.

Jack and I went for a walk when the hail stopped.

Worst part was there was lots of water under the surface.

So as you can see the weather hasn’t been that great, but finally on July 4th we had a sunny day.  Lee and I went to Bagby Hot Springs, which I will write about in the next post, but before we went we took the time to get some pictures of Jack and Mount Hood. As you can see Jack’s happy about being outside too.

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

 

The Bias Against Seasonal Workers

I wish I had something more pleasant to write about, I really do.  Unfortunately I do not, so I am going to go ahead and write about an issue I have been dancing around for many years.  This post is based on what I personally have seen and experienced, and I am fully aware that there may be some seasonal jobs where this bias does not exist, but I have yet to see it for myself.

What do I mean by bias? The idea is that seasonal workers, especially in the work-kamping world, are only capable of doing certain things.  That’s not even exactly true.  Most employers recognize that many seasonal workers have prior experience and skills that are valuable, but are extremely hesitant to harness those skills.

Initially I thought the problem was managers/owners were reticent to give responsibilities to workers who were in their lives temporarily.  I know a few people who returned to the same jobs year after year and managed to eventually work their way into a more upper level position.  Even those situations though are extremely limited and the extra oversight is crazy.  I have come to the conclusion it is not about length of time working with a company.  It is about bias.

Let me give you an example.  A few years ago Lee and I wanted to try working at an amusement park.  We both thought that would be fun, and when I saw that the park had a job opening for a video technician, I thought how perfect was that.  Unfortunately when I reached out to the hiring manager, I was told the video technician job was only available for local people.  Basically they would rather hire a local kid straight from high school with zero to minimal experience than hire a guy who ran a television station for 15 years. Why? Bias.

I can’t tell you how many times we have run into this, and it continues to be crazy frustrating.  I have been told numerous times by “older work kampers” that I just needed to get over it.  We are hired as “bodies” for a specific purpose and our employers have a limited interest in any ideas or thoughts we might have. The advice I have received more times than I can count is put in your time and quit worrying about stuff.  I’ve tried…I really have…but as I have stated before it is just not in my nature. (I don’t even try. I am always quick to point out where I think things can be improved. Value added. – Lee)

And that’s where things get a little strange.  It’s not like employers aren’t more than happy to take advantage of the parts of your personality that work for them.  For example, most work kampers have a tremendous work ethic, and will often work off the clock to finish tasks.  No one complains about that.  Employers aren’t interested in hearing ideas that might stop the inefficiency, but they are fine with getting that extra labor for free.

Same with higher customer service standards.  Employers are thrilled with the positive comment cards, emails etc, but not as interested in ways to improve the customer experience.  Well, that’s not exactly true either.  They are sort of interested in ideas, and will pick the low hanging fruit, but anything expensive or complicated gets put into the bad idea bin.

Those of us who work kamp get used to this.  And some can disconnect themselves from the experience and not let it get to them.  But for me, at times, it can be almost painful.  I’ll give you another example.  Many years ago I was a waitress and a restaurant manager.  Because of my background I can’t help but notice certain things when I go into restaurants.  Most of the time it’s a minor annoyance, but there are times when I am watching a place fall apart around me that I have to physically stop myself from jumping up and pitching in.  It’s really hard for me to watch.  Worse to just sit there. Like I said, sometimes it is painful.

This year for some reason is especially tough for me.  I think it is because there are a couple of big projects happening where my skill set would be particularly valuable.  They are rolling out a massive new software program, creating training documents, and teaching people who are not tech savvy to use mobile devices.  I spent ten very successful years doing exactly that, and being completely left out is driving me a bit crazy.  If things were going well with the projects I definitely could handle it, as an observer.  But they are not going well, and having my skill set left untapped is nuts to me. (I know nothing about this crap, but even I can tell they need a project manager. I think it says a lot about the person at the top, if they cannot get the job done, and refuse to allow someone who can get the job done to just do it. – Lee)

And yes, before you ask, they know what I am capable of doing.  For whatever reason they would rather have permanent employees with minimal related skill sets tackle them than a seasonal who has worked for them for three years.  Is it ego?  I don’t know.  They can’t be worried that I would in any way cause them a problem because in three years they have seen my work ethic.  Is it simply that they cannot get past the seasonal bias?  That seasonal people don’t do certain things?  I think so.  No other explanation makes sense.

And yes, I will continue to hang in there, but it’s all very demotivating.  It makes me sad.

(I am in agreement with her on most of this. It’s just stupid, and wasteful. I’m sure some people will think or comment that this is part of the deal, that we “gave all that up” when we hit the road, but that’s just absurd. The big difference though is that these are not long term relationships. If we connect with someone who doesn’t have enough sense to put us to good use, they will be out of our lives and another opportunity will be along. I think this is another argument for not returning to the same place summer after summer. Too much like regular life. – Lee)


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Dealing with PTSD

Let me start by saying I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about this, and I am not sure how much I am willing to share.  But because this relates to our lifestyle I do feel like I need to talk about it some.  If you have been following along, you know that a couple of months ago my husband had a heart attack.  If you haven’t read that post, I do recommend you take a moment and go back and read it, because I am not going to rehash the specifics here.

I mention it because as hard as I have tried over the last couple of months I have not been able to shake off the experience.  Despite all of the activity over the last couple of months whenever I talked about it or thought about it I found myself getting extremely emotional. Pretty early on Lee mentioned the possibility of PTSD, but in the shorthand way people talk about having trouble getting over something.  Since I equated PTSD with a traumatic event such as being in a war or loss of life, I didn’t ever think it could apply to me.

Fast forward to when we arrived at Timothy Lake and during our training class they mentioned we were eligible for Employee mental healthcare assistance.  As soon as they started talking about it, I thought it might be a good idea if I talked to someone.  I knew my reactions were intensified and between taking Chantix to quit smoking and the other lifestyle changes we had made I didn’t trust my own emotions.    Several weeks went by before I found time to make an appointment.  In the interim I stopped taking Chantix, but my emotions were still heightened to the point it was worrisome.  Finally I found a therapist with availability on one of my days off and I went to see her.

It took less than 10 minutes into the session before she diagnosed me with PTSD.  Oddly, hearing it from a trained professional made me instantly believe it, because she was so matter of fact about the diagnosis.  She also helped me understand the connections between feeling safe and my full time lifestyle and that is where the conversation got really interesting. In a nutshell, because we were working in an isolated location when the heart attack happened and I was all alone for about 45 minutes during the event, I stopped feeling safe.  And I haven’t felt safe since.

This is where it gets a little difficult to explain, but can we just stipulate the brain is a weird and wonderful place and not everything is logical.  Over the last couple of month the only time I have felt somewhat safe was when we were with our friends. As soon as we left them I went back to feeling unsafe.  Concurrently, the closer we got to coming back to Timothy Lake the worse I felt.  I knew that I didn’t feel safe in that environment, but I also knew that my reactions were heightened.   It didn’t help that some friends of ours  were supposed to join us had to back out at the last minute.  Lee thought it would be fine, but my stomach was in knots and as the start date grew closer I felt panicky

Turns out that work, feeling safe, and Lee’s heart attack are all interconnected in a way I didn’t really understand.    While Lee was having the heart attack I was not only trying to deal with what was happening to him, but I also had to coordinate someone covering our jobs.  Because we were on a single lane gate, someone had to direct the traffic and I had to call my boss, grab random oil field workers to help, and completely shut the road down when the emergency personnel finally arrived.

The only way I personally could deal with all of this was to shut down emotionally.  Later I felt really bad..I mean really bad that I was able to do that.  What did it say about me and our relationship?  When I laid the experience out and asked the therapist if she thought my behavior was unusual or meant something, she said that she didn’t think any rationale person could say I didn’t handle the situation well.  I couldn’t completely fall apart and dwell in the moment because of how complicated things were.  To the contrary she felt I had done some creative problem solving in the moment, which was nice to hear.  I can’t tell you how much that had been bothering me and taking a deep breath and talking to an independent third party and getting their opinion really helped.

I also learned that PTSD is more common than I thought.  5% of men and 10% of women have experienced it.    Feeling emotionally disconnected is a textbook response.  Heightened emotions, feelings of not being safe, all the emotions I have been having are very common symptoms.  The good news is it usually resolves itself in a 1-3 month period of time.  In my case because we had so much going on, I think those feeling got pushed aside and only when we finally settled did they really surface.  Thankfully we are in a place where I can take advantage of our EAP benefit and see someone to talk it through.  At this point I don’t really trust my feelings about anything and having an independent third party to talk to will be extremely valuable.

Finally  I would like to say I have wavered on whether or not to share this.  It is deeply personal, but it also relates to the lifestyle because the situation that caused the PTSD is unique to the way we have chosen to live.  To be clear it was not Lee having a heart attack.  That could happen to anyone at anytime.  It was the feeling of isolation when the event occured.  That’s what I need to work through and I appreciate everyone giving me the time and space to do that.

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

To Call 911 or Not…That is the Question

In order to communicate just how isolated it can feel up here in the Mount Hood National Forest I really need to rely on some pictures.  Timothy Lake is shown below with the red push pin.  As I have mentioned before, Government Camp is the closest “town” (pop. 193) and it is 24 miles/37 minutes away. 14 of those miles are on a slow, winding road through a reservation between us and US 26. So it is not surprising that when people are in trouble they come to us.  Generally the most unusual scenarios don’t come from our campers, but rather folks who are hiking or camping in the dispersed sites surrounding us, or the Pacific Crest Trail. Either way, as good neighbors we are required to help these folks as best we can, and at times that has made this job pretty stressful.

 

Last year as the lead it was even worse, because I had to decide when to call 911.  That might seem like a no-brainer, but in many cases it is not, and I always hated having that pressure on me.  Any decision with another person’s life at the other end of it seemed out of my pay grade, and yet I was constantly forced into those situations.  This year I was hoping that with an on-site manager I would rarely be in a position to make those calls, but unfortunately that has not been the case.  Our boss isn’t here all the time and as the office person, I have already been faced with numerous situations.  Again, you might think “just call”, but we can’t really do that.  There is always the danger of the police being less responsive if we “cry wolf” so we are supposed to review each situation and use judgement.  That’s where the trouble begins for me, because although I think I am capable of making good judgement calls I really don’t want the pressure.  Let me walk you through a few scenarios and see what you would do.  These are all things that have happened in the last 30 days.

Scenario #1 – Lee responded to a radio call from one of our camp hosts who heard people yelling from the water.  Their canoe had capsized about 100 yards from shore.  One person with a life jacket was swimming to a boat ramp at an adjacent campground that wasn’t open yet, but the other had no life jacket and appeared to be drowning.  An Iraq veteran who was camping at the campground immediately grabbed a kayak from someone else and paddled out to pull the second man to shore while Lee drove the park security truck to the closed campground to get the other man out of the water. Lee radioed that I should call 911 for an emergency squad because the water was close to 40 degrees and he was concerned about hypothermia.  The Sheriff refused to dispatch until the people themselves requested an ambulance, and since they ultimately refused, we were left to deal with it on our own.  Fires, warm blankets, and hot coffee eventually did the trick, but it was stressful for everyone.

Scenario #2 – I received a call from a camp host stating that a 2 year old child was missing.  For me missing people is the worst, and as a mother missing children fills me with dread.  We have protocols in place for this scenario, mainly because missing children might be a result of an abduction.  I am far more worried about what happens if they get lost in the wilderness, because as you can see below, once you get off our footprint it is miles and miles of dense woods and nothing else in every direction.  In this case the child was only missing for 20 minutes but because of their age and proximity to water the dispatcher took it very seriously.  Thankfully before they finished getting all the information they needed the child was found.  The parents had sent a 4 year old and 2 year old to the bathroom alone and not surprisingly they had gotten distracted and wandered down a forest path our of sight.

 

 

Scenario #3 and #4 – In the same week as the missing child we had two occasions where teenagers went missing.  In these cases we have been told to ask a series of questions before calling 911.  How are they dressed?  How long have they been gone?  Are they comfortable in the outdoors? These are just a few of the questions.  We also wait, an indeterminate length of time, and then eventually we might call the police.  Time of day matters, because the closer we get to nightfall the more pressure there is. In the first scenario the teenager we organized a lake wide search and the teenager was found in under an hour.  In the second scenario the teenager was last seen north of Timothy Lake near the Pacific Coast Trail and had already been missing 5 hours when they notified us.  After an additional hour of searching they asked me to call.  Again, before I finished the lengthy dispatch process (they ask a ton of questions in these scenarios) the teenager was found.  He had walked from the east side of the lake to the west side of the lake (this takes several hours) and was “found” by one of our employees.

The missing person scenarios are the absolute worst because I feel a responsibility while I am waiting to call. I understand intellectually that we should wait and attempt a search prior to calling the sheriff, but I also think if that person is hurt we are wasting valuable time. I also have pretty strong feelings about being in this situation at all.  On the one hand I know I make good decisions and don’t panic under pressure, and I am really good at coordinating and mobilizing the troops.  On the other hand I am a low level seasonal employee and these type of judgment calls seem above my pay grade.  Maybe not.  It’s hard to know, but I will say I rarely hear any other people tell stories like this.  That may be because our remote circumstance is not that common or because other organizations have permanent employee decision makers in place. I will say that in our case there seems to be a real lack of understanding as to how common and serious these scenarios are which leads me to…

Scenario #5 – A few days ago one of our camp host radioed in to state that someone came from the Little Crater Lake area (see map above) and reported a dead body in a car.  It seemed like last year we dealt with every bizarre scenario possible, but we always said at least we never had to deal with a dead body.  When the call came in, Lee and I knew our luck had run out on not having to deal with that.  Because the vehicle was off our footprint we did not have to respond, although initially Lee was going to go.  I put my foot down on that, mainly because I didn’t want him anywhere near a dead body and instead called the non-emergency line for the Sheriff.  My thought process was if the person was already dead it wasn’t an emergency, and I stood by that decision despite the fact that some people thought we should respond just in case.  It turned out later that the person was dead and had been for weeks, so the body was in an advanced state of decomposition.  What made this particular case extra difficult was a relative had passed around missing person flyers so we knew what he looked like.  We have no idea if it was suicide or foul play and probably will never find out.

That’s one of the other things I don’t like about these scenarios; we often don’t know.  Last year we had three separate instances of people being life-flighted out, and in one of the cases we never learned if the person died or not.  We all try to be as helpful and professional as possible, but it’s also important that we are careful not to put ourselves in a situation where we are putting ourselves at risk.  It is common for example for the rescuer to die in water rescue situations and searchers often become hurt when they are looking. Dealing with the mentally ill is extremely challenging, and we have already had an instance this year where a camper had a PTSD meltdown in the middle of the night and had to be talked down by Lee and our night security guy. These scenarios don’t happen daily, but they absolutely happen 1-2 times a week and I have mixed feelings about experiencing that level of stress.

Last season, because I was the lead, I didn’t talk or write about most of these scenarios, but this year is different.  I had a list three pages long of incidents last year I sat on, but this year I will be talking about them as they occur.  It matters because I know most people don’t think of these things when they think about camp hosting jobs.  And to be clear this is definitely not the norm, but it’s happening here, and I have to believe it is happening in other places as well, so I am going to share some of the experiences.


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