Teague Trek

Living life outside the lines

COUNTRY BOY MINE by Keith Teague

Last week we walked one mile straight into a mountain.  With 1100 feet of rock above us we began a tour of Country Boy Mine.  The mine was founded in 1887 in Breckenridge, Colorado by some prospectors who were panning for gold.  The mine brought great wealth to Colorado but not to the miners who suffered in it for long hours and little money.

Today there are floorboards, electricity, and plenty of fresh oxygen for the tourists but back in the late 1800’s the ground was soaking wet and muddy.  The miners had to stand in that all day long.  Another difficulty was that they had no electricity.  The miners worked in a pitch black tunnel that could collapse at any second while standing in water that was about 25 degrees.  The only light they had was a small candle every half mile or so.  They were only allowed few candles  in the mine because one candle took up the oxygen for two men.  Adding to those difficulties was the constant booming noise created by 100 or more men banging on iron rods and also air pressured drills that sounded like 100 jack hammers echoing through the cave.

Despite these difficult conditions, earning $1 a day was good pay at the time.  The miners worked 10 hours a day.  The women were not allowed in the mine because they were considered bad luck.  Most miner’s lives were shortened by 3 to 5 years because of the dust created by the drills, also called “widow makers”.  Young boys, ages 7-10, also worked in the mines as “blast monkeys”.  Their job was to put the dynamite in the holes created by the drills.  If a blast monkey set ten sticks of dynamite but the foreman only heard nine explode then he had to go back and reset it which was very dangerous.  The blast monkeys made only 10 cents a day.

The miners used animals to alert them to danger. Rats were commonly used because they liked the mines. They also had glowing eyes so the miners could see them in the dark.  When there was danger in the mine, the rats would sense it first and run out.  This was helpful to the miners because the rats knew which direction to go in dark and confusing mine.  Also, their eyes made them easy to follow.  Canaries were also used because they are sensitive and when the oxygen levels dropped they would die first. Mining was hard but animals helped a lot.

The mine today is very cool. After the tour we went gold panning my sister got some gold but no luck for me. The gold panning was really cold and hard but fun. I would recommend this tour to other people but I would not want to be a miner.

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Colorado by Lindsey Teague

Today Lindsey is posting the poem she wrote about Colorado.

COLORADO

Glistening, trickling rivers

flowing through the swaying pines

hearing dogs bark loudly

throwing shiny snowballs

bone chilling ice in my socks

peddling through the water

bright yellow paddle boats

fuzzy ducks following

hiking up steep mountains

hot sun in my eyes

feeling the cool breeze

talking to cousins

blanket soft grass under me

feeding shiny fish

smelly fish food

riding fastly to eat warm pizza

jumping into the perfect pool water

Colorado.

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Climbing a mountain

We have a wooden sign hanging in our kitchen (well, it is leaning against a random fireplace now).  It says “FAMILY RULES” in large block letters.  I picked it up at a Garden Ridge one morning when I should have been working out.  I bought it because I liked its dictates:

Help each other

Be Thankful

Know you are loved

Try new things

Be happy

Show compassion

Be Grateful

Dream Big

Respect one another

Laugh out loud

I would like to think that we are teaching our kids these things, that we are living this way.  So I hung the sign over the breakfast table in hopes that is subtle presence would remind us and penetrate our kids’ subconscious.  Pretty good deal for $10.  When Ryan and I came up with the idea of leaving our lives behind for a year we dreamed that we would have so much more time to REALLY live out our rules. When we were just beginning to entertain this adventure, we would sit around at night and talk about all the things we would do on this grand adventure: We can teach the kids math by letting them figure gas mileage! We can run a 5K in every town we visit! The big kids will teach Harper to read! We will sleep in hammocks!  We will slow down and just be!   Well, once we had thought of it we had to do it. And then we started trying to keep living our lives (school, baseball, piano, work, swim lessons,class parties, etc) while simultaneously undoing them (interviewing prospective renters, packing, planning, renting storage units, and doing tons of research ).  And it was overwhelming.  Some nights when we were lost in a sea of stuff, sorting through 12 years worth of marital bliss, one of us would ask “whose idea was this anyway??” I mean, we like our life.  It is comfortable, safe, and easy.  We have lived in Austin for 20 plus years (!)  We have awesome friends and neighbors.  HEB,Target, our gym  and Starbucks  are within a 5 mile radius.  It seemed like folly to pack up an entire house and then try to recreate life in unfamiliar places with out the safety net of old, dear friends and comfortable surroundings.  While those same friends were cheering us on, Ryan and I both were a little doubtful.  It is one thing to dream big and talk about trying new things but putting those ideas into action takes it to another level.  A level involving lots of details and work and weird, prospective renters.  But, we persevered and I am so glad we did.  I realize that we are only a week in and I am an eternal optimist by nature BUT it feels great to be away. In Austin, we were navigating so many immediate demands/to do’s  that we could not even think about what lay ahead. But, now, having unmoored ourselves from our permanent home, we have a clear view of  the new horizons awaiting us and it is exciting.

Yesterday, we set out for a hike and it was a great analogy to the last few months of planning. (I hear the collective groan…I do love my analogies).  It sounded like a great idea-a hike to a mountain lake. The word ‘mountain’ should have caught our attention but it did not. We picked a trail, packed a pic nic and headed out in typical Teague style: we just left.  The scenery was breathtaking. The kids were pumped.  The weather was perfect but the hike was long. What we thought would be an easy stroll was a killer hike, straight up.  Once we passed the tree line (!) the terrain turned steep and rocky.   The website had promised that a pristine lake waited a top the mountain.  Was it worth it? The first hour was amazing but at about two  hours in,  we talked about turning back and settling for a pic nic by a small pond we had seen.  We did have to get back down, after all. But we kept going. And, yes, it was worth it.  The whole trip was a good 4 1/2 hour hike which is a lot for little kids but they never complained.  Lindsey even reminded us, while we sat freezing by the gorgeous lake, that we had  tried something new today: we climbed a mountain.

Love this quote

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

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We made it!

Since we decided to leave Austin for a year, we have had numerous requests for a blog. Well, here it is! I will be posting here to keep you updated on our travels and let you in on our exciting life on the road.  Like right now, for example, Harper is napping!  Just stay tuned and I will reveal more amazing events as they happen.  Wait, I think this is newsworthy: Keith just asked if he can get a phone for the 100th time.

Seriously, we are having a good time and we made it to Colorado safe and sound.  Our first night in Keystone, we rode our bikes over to the resort area. The kids spent some time feeding the ducks and harassing the fish at the edge of lake and then we sat down to eat.  Not 10 minutes into our meal we saw a brown bear walking along the lake in the exact same spot where the kids had been playing.  It was both amazing and frightening.  Evidently, the lack of rain is causing a shortage of food and the bears are seeking food/water in town. We are having an ongoing debate about whether it is better to run or stand your ground when facing a bear.  This is a detail we likely need to get cleared up soon since they are having bear sightings daily.

The condo Ryan rented is really nice which came as a huge surprise to all of us as he has a pretty loose definition of what qualifies for proper lodging (loose as in as long as it has a roof and a door, he is good). Colorado is absolutely beautiful-event the dirt is pretty.  Ryan had to fly to Kansas for work this week so the kids and I have been riding around on bikes and exploring.  I admit (to the groans of friends suffering in Texas) that I love the heat even after last summer so I was shocked when we had ICE on the sidewalk the first morning.  However, it did warm up during the day and we are enjoying the  cool evenings.

Well, the kids are all suited up and ready to go to the pool and I need to run a load of laundry.  See, some things never change-even on the road.

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