I took a lot of photos during my two weeks as a volunteer for HistoriCorps at the Soderberg Bunkhouse. Many didn’t fit into articles I wrote about volunteering and about my experience. So, you know what that means? It’s time for another photo essay. These are non-duplicative photos from the previous Soderberg Bunkhouse and HistoriCorps posts (listed at bottom).
Plus, there was one particularly dramatic moment during the two weeks that was funny and not funny. Of course, I had to find a place to share that story as well.
Doors at Soderberg Bunkhouse
In addition to mortar work, there were a few wood tasks related to the restoration including this fairy door. Here is the original. In the photo above, you can see it was removed and reframed. Before the end of the project, the crew built a new little door. At first we thought it was a dog door but realized that probably wasn’t a thing back then.
We ended up deciding it was a door to pass wood and coal through in the winter without having to leave the big door open and lose all that heat. If you have an idea or confirmation of our theory, would love to hear it.
Other Soderberg Ranch Buildings
Finds Inside and Near the Out Buildings
I just love random bits of things left behind. They are like an archeologic treasure. Here are a few things I came across.
At the Campsite
My First Week at Soderberg Bunkhouse
From left to right:
- Porter, who just finished graduate school in architecture and historic preservation. Just before he arrived from Texas, he got a job offer in upstate New York.
- Daniel, from Chicago, Crew Leader and Camp Cook who came to HistoriCorps several years ago after a year in the Peace Corp.
- Raphael, Rafe for short, is from France though lived only a few blocks from the worksite. As a result, he didn’t join us for meals as he came from home each day. The follow week, he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.
- Our Project Leader, Cathy, came from Boise, Idaho where she runs her own business. She loves HistoriCorps so works on one or two projects a season.
- Septuagenarian Cherokee Indian Bobbie Jo sported a mohawk and a wicked sense of humor. He said he traded an addiction to pills for an addiction to HistoriCorps and has become a volunteer superstar. He volunteers four to five months each year and has done so for about 10 years.
- Nineteen year old Gus drove three days from Jacksonville, Florida to volunteer. He was the youngest member of the crew and looked forward to voting in his first election. Because of COVID, he decided to take a gap year but next fall he’ll start at Yale.
My Second Week at Soderberg Bunkhouse
From left to right:
- Krista is from nearby. She used her week off from work to volunteer.
- Melissa is from Long Beach, Washington. You might remember I spent a month there. She used her several HistoriCorps assignments to check out different areas of Colorado with the idea of moving there.
- Bobbie Jo.
- Stephen, a recent transplant to Utah from Arkansas and semi-retired, hoped to fully retire to spend time working with his hands and working outdoors. HistoriCorps was a perfect match.
You’ve seen the movie Wizard of Oz? Of course you have. Well, the big drama was a little like that.
Wednesday. Session 3. I was working in my trailer in the afternoon when a big random gust of wind swirled around me. A second later, I saw a bunch of color go by the window, including the big round red lid from the top of our trash can.
Great, I thought. The garbage can tipped over and all that color was garbage. I got up and went outside to discover something very different.
That single momentary gust was so powerful, it created havoc at our site. The most dramatic being–and this is so weird it is almost unbelievable–Daniel’s large staked tent was picked up (lead lines snapped), all the contents (a cot, a camp chair, dog bed, sleeping gear, clothes, electronics, and more) dumped out and then, the empty tent, like a kite, floated up high in the sky and then came down. In a tree. Very high up in a very tall tree.
I didn’t see the tent flying, I only saw all the contents as they whizzed by the window of my trailer. But neighbor’s on both sides of our sites did and described it to me. They also, very kindly, helped pick up scatters items for about 15 minutes until we had it all in piles back at our campsite.
It’s lucky I was there as Kitchen Helper and not up at the worksite. Or it would’ve been hours before anyone knew what happened.
We found Daniel’s keys a day later.
Long-time rangers came by to help figure out how to retrieve the tent from the tree. They said they’d never seen anything like it. Apparently, a tent in a tree was a first for them.
After much debate and weighing different options, the rangers decided they’d come the next day and cut the tree down. But in the end and against ranger advice, Daniel used a tall ladder from the construction site and his rock climbing gear to reach the tent. Of course, it proved trashed and unusable but, at least it was no longer in the tree.
Inside the cook tent was also a mess. The table at the front we use to serve food was upside down and at the back of the tent. Weirdly, the big trash can was inside the tent and it didn’t tip over though, somehow, the lid came off and flew past my trailer. The only thing we never found was the stem of the percolator so we had reheated coffee on the two remaining days of the week.
Weekend In Between Soderberg Bunkhouse Work
Between my sophomore and junior year of college, I worked on a ranch in Cody, Wyoming. A woman I met there, Gail, and I have kept in touch over the years. We saw each other once when I lived in San Diego after graduating college. And that was the last time.
We connected again through social media and guess where she lives? Fort Collins. So, after 30 years we saw each other again. She came to the KOA where I stayed in between Sessions 2 and 3 to pick me up. Then found us this wonderful spot by a river for a picnic. We talked for six hours with hardly a breath in between. What a fantastic bonus to my Soderberg Bunkhouse and HistoriCorps experience.
We vowed to not let another 30 years go by before we get together again.
Links to Other Soderberg Bunkhouse Related Posts:
- History of Colorado’s Soderberg Ranch
- Soderberg Bunkhouse: My HistoriCorps Experience
- How to Volunteer with HistoriCorps
- HistoriCorps Workamping
- Workamping: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How
- Long Beach, Washington on the Long Beach Peninsula
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