ripresa (ripresa) wrote,

Orion Nebula, One-eyed Mare named Mandy and Rifles

I spent this weekend at a BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) Workshop, which is runned by the TX Parks and Wildlife dept.

What a weekend. I'm definitely a richer woman now, in terms of experiences. And also friends.

Day 1:

Orientation, then to my first class. Intro to Firearms. This class was mostly lecture so I was bored for a lot of it. But I learned a lot about guns. The teacher was a mild mannered older woman who keeps a loaded shotgun under her bed. You never know with a Texan woman!

Had dinner, played Scrabble with Vic, then a few folks were going out to look at the stars with the Astronomy instructor. Now this was amazing. Warren had a laser pointer, that could point to 3000 feet. So a lot of times when people point out stars or constellations in the sky, it's difficult to know what they're talking about. But Warren just pointed at the sky, and his laser pointer told us where to look. In addition to Orion and the Big Dipper, I now can identify Cassiopeia, Polaris, Sirius. He pointed out Saturn, and I used a binocular and saw the rings. I also saw a smudge near Orion's belt and it was the Orion nebula. It was really really awesome.

Day 2:

Woke up way early, had breakfast then on to Intro to the Horse. The class was a bit of lecture.. and mostly riding. It was the first time I had ever ridden a horse totally under my control. When it was time to assigned horses, Mandy was assigned to me. And the instructor added nonchalently: Oh, Mandy has only eye, but she's learned to trust her one eye.
This was after the lecture on how horses have brains that wire to their eyes independently so sometimes you have to show the horse an object with both sides of his face to really register with them. Anyways, Mandy turned out to be really nice. She was slow.. but steady. Also got distracted by food a lot. I got to groom her.. the first time I've groomed a horse. Then I put on her saddle and bridle (with help). We spent almost 2 hours riding. What an experience. The Texan hill country, we were on top of a hill, with rocks, bushes, and trees surrounding us. When one of the horses decided to lie down (the rider got off quickly) and caused a commotion, the riders in front, including me, stopped and turned. And at the moment, that tableau, made me feel like I was in the middle of an RPG adventure.

My second session was Rifles and Handguns. This time, it was mostly practice. I got to shoot for the first time ever. It was with a rifle, and I got 3 shots, all pretty close to the bull's eye. At 25 yards. So.. if someone who's never shot can do that well with a rifle, that's a pretty dangerous weapon. I also shot with pistols.. the revolver types with 6 bullets. That was harder for me, especially at 25 yards.

After dinner I joined a bunch of ladies for a night hike. Just like the star viewing, they were obsessed over using flashlights that were red so not to spoil night vision. In fact, on the way back, the guides asked us to not use our flashlights at all, and to keep silent. It was amazing how much you can see with your night vision in the outdoors. So peaceful and lovely.

Day 3:

I joined the canoe trip to Ink's lake. So beautiful. It was a fixed level lake, so you miss the effects of the draught we're currently having. Just like in Town Lake. (Btw, we're in a significant draught). Got to see the Great Blue Herons and their nests, also a major Indian trading place. The outing was nice, but it was cut early because it got windy.

Definitely a workshop I would recommend to my lady friends. I want to do this again, to take the other workshops like shotgun, skeet shooting, mountain biking, backpacking, camping, woodworking. I guess I get to update my character's skills ;-)
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