478 (10/7/09)

     Even with our year winding down, it just keeps getting to be more fun.  What a great Trail Guard weekend we had, despite the dramatic change from the extended summer-like weather we‘ve had.

     Saturday was presentation day, as Crystal Roberts began the fulfillment of her “Ambassador Plan,” a requirement of Two Wheel View upon completion of their wonderful international youth bicycle adventures.  Crystal traveled through part of Norway with TWV this June, and is required to share her experience with 100 people.

     She put together a beautiful slide show presentation, and kept us all, kids and adults alike, interested and focused on her commentary.  The kids asked a lot of questions, and we talked about how they can work their way into the many Trail Guard opportunities available each year.

     In order to show slides in an outdoor setting, we turned the picnic shelter into a miniature auditorium, wrapping the open sides and ends with 16 foot wide black poly.  It was great fun, and quite cozy in the wet, cold weather.  A white sheet hung on one end completed the arrangement, and we were entertained by and impressed with Crystal’s program.

      We were joined by Michelle Kelly, who has brought the DNR MinnAqua fishing program to us for the past three years, and who co-led this summer’s Trail Guard BWCA trip.  Michelle served as Crystals “mentor” for a grant application with the Ann Bancroft Foundation “Dare To Dream” grant program, designed for young women venturing out to explore both the world and their own capabilities. 

     Michelle was very instrumental in securing a gift from that program, and she was happy to be part of the final official chapter of Crystal’s summer adventure.  There is no actual final chapter, of course, as that experience is now part of who Crystal is.

     Sunday was another exciting day as five of us--four Trail Guard kids and myself--biked round-trip from my house to Willmar and back.  According to my Vetta bike computer, it’s 46 miles on the Glacial Lakes Trail (from my house in Paynesville).  Someone else’s bike odometer (last year) had it at 53 miles.

     This much is for sure--we had a great time, and were all exhausted at the end, the emotionally healthy kind of exhaustion that comes from a sense of accomplishment and adventure.  It was visually beautiful with the fall colors, especially when the sun made brief appearances, and the kids were fun, engaging, and a joy to be with.  Thanks to Katie Schwalbe, Luke Gottwald, Gina Coakley, and Brianna Stang (and their parents, for letting them go) for a great outing.