9 Girls on a Bus Visit Lava Lake
By Kathleen Bean
At the end of July, my sister-in-law Erin and I welcomed “9 Girls on a Bus” to Lava Lake Ranch. These young women from Denmark and Holland were traveling through the western United States in a converted school bus to “investigate alternative models of living, consuming and learning in a modern society” (from their blog). They are visiting ranches, farms and communities that represent an alternative to the highly industrialized, anonymous, mainstream approach to agriculture and community. They found Lava Lake’s website on eatwild.com, and asked if they could visit. How could we resist?
After touring their bus, which slept all nine in beds and boasted a small kitchenette, lights powered by a rooftop solar cell, and even a small “library,” we loaded the girls into the back of one of our ranch trucks and toured the main ranch, including lambing sheds.
They were eager to learn about the tradition of ranching in our region and our efforts to meld the best of ranching with conservation efforts. Back at the yurt, Erin taught them to throw a lariat (a useful skill!), and we settled in for a communal feast and heard of their adventures and aspirations. With interests that ranged from music therapy and medicine to architecture and urban planning, it was a lively discussion.
The girls began their odyssey in Vancouver and would complete it somewhere in Utah, and then drive the bus back to Vancouver before returning home to continue their studies. In the two months they had been traveling they experienced life in the West in ways that most tourists miss. We were so impressed by their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning.
If you ever get an email from 9 Girls on a Bus asking if they can visit, say yes! We certainly hope they will return some day.