Good job! Now go sleep in the trailer

archive_import /

By CLAIRE ST. JOHN

Most kids receive high letter grades after completing a well-researched essay.

But after writing fictional histories of the life of a gold miner, seven Soulsbyville School students earned an invitation to a camping trip last week, replete with mules, horse-drawn carriages and a headless rattlesnake.

Camping at the Mother Lode Ranch in Tuolumne presented many activities for the seven fourth-graders, most led by ranch owners Don and Laurel Rumsey. If all goes well, the camping trip will be open to all fourth-graders in the county, said Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Joe Silva.

After setting up camp in horse trailers, the kids, some wearing Gold Rush-period costumes, prepared to learn about the many wagons and carriages owned and maintained by the Rumseys.

First, they were presented with an impromptu lesson on rattlesnakes when Don Rumsey beheaded a baby snake and threw it on a barbecue grill.

While students stroked the squirming snake and examined its undeveloped rattle, Rumsey explained how to tell a poisonous from a non-poisonous snake.

After the lesson in reptiles, students entered a big barn and were introduced to chuck wagons, a doctor's wagons and "people movers."

"This wagon here is to haul people in," Don Rumsey said. "I could haul a whole bunch of you boogers in this one."

Next, students got to go down to the corral and make a tough decision between mules or horses to pull the wagon they would ride in.

After much petting and patting of the tall animals, the kids chose two large paints that had made the Sonora Pass Wagon Train trek last year.

Leading the large animals back to the barn, students chattered about how worthwhile all their research and writing had been.

"I wrote about taking the Oregon Trail to California and I struck it rich," said student Sami Rice.

But were they having fun? A circle of heads nodded.

What really got the seven lucky students talking was how much fun they had setting up camp in horse trailers.

11505761
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Thursday May 5, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
A flight to remember

05/02/2016

Dozens of pilots from throughout California and surrounding states descended on Columbia ... more

Summerville grad will compete in London makeup contest

05/02/2016

Kyrsta Morehouse, an aspiring makeup artist, never imagined she would be recruited ... more

Jimtown Frosty property owners vow to pay tax bill

05/03/2016

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors may have to put the brakes ... more

Body found near Pinecrest

04/30/2016

Unidentified human remains were found Thursday in the Pinecrest area. At 5:55 ... more