Justin and Wesley Tucker's Outdoor Wish
Anyone remember the old Doublemint Gum commercials where the ad said “Double Your Pleasure, Double your fun”? Well that’s what Benefit4Kids was able to do in the last Outdoor Wish that we were able to grant thanks once again to the generosity of the Outdoor Community.
Justin and Wesley Tucker are identical twins in every way. About 5 months ago I was introduced to their mom Kathy and found out that both boys are suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. The boys were diagnosed with CF when they were around 6 months old and the family has been battling this disease ever since. As with most families such a fight is a costly battle so for the last 6 years the family has passed on any family vacations.
In talking with Kathy I found out that both boys loved the idea of going camping so I set out to find a trip for them that not only involved camping but was something just a little special. I contacted Jim Mater of U-Trail Gila Wilderness Horseback Vacations and explained to Jim what we were looking for and asked if he felt he could help us out. Jim jumped at the chance and the stage was set. I’ll let Kathy’s words from an e-mail tell you the rest but before I do I’d like to once again thank the many people, companies and organizations that each year helps us to help kids. God Bless each and every one of you.
Here’s Kathy’s e-mail:
Our trip details.
Before the day had arrived to leave on our trip to Albuquerque NM, Justin and Wesley were so excited! "They kept asking, how much longer mom before we go?" You could certainly tell they were ready! Finally, the day arrived it was time to leave for the airport. All packed and ready to leave for the airport, both Justin and Wesley boarded the plane with much excitement. They did so well on the airplane ride.
Arriving in Albuquerque NM, we stayed a few days seeing the sights around the outskirts of town. We went to Grants New Mexico to the ice caves and the Bandera volcano. On our way up the mountain to the volcano sunken area to view the sights, we took a few pictures along the way. The scenery across the land was simply breathtaking. On the way down the mountain, Wesley decided to stop and make an angel in the gravel with his hands. I want to tell you, this touched our hearts! Also, Justin and Wesley surprised us by the energy level to climb up this mountain and down it. I was out of breath! I told my husband...look at them go! WOW! We made our way over to the ice caves where we saw the ice formed inside the side of the mountain. It was sooooooo "cold" but after climbing the mountain to view the ice caves, it felt pretty good.
The day finally came to make our way to meet with Jim at Utrail, the scenic route. So we headed on a long journey towards his place. Along the way we stopped at a few places to view the land. First stop was the Sandstone Bluffs. Breathtaking as the view was, Justin and Wesley were so overwhelmed with the beauty and especially with climbing and exploring the rock formations. The wind was blowing extremely hard. We had to laugh because Justin and Wesley could not stop running from rock to rock. Picking up a few rocks along to way to show us how beautiful they were. "Look MOM! How beautiful" MOM! It’s so beautiful here! It was time to move on to our next destination.
Our next stop was the Lava Falls. A volcano that erupted some thousands of years ago. (Picture) This was impressive to see. Of course, there was a few lava fall pebbles to be had by the boys...he! he! he!
Moving on, we stopped at the Natural Arch. An arch that is formed in the side of the mountain. Justin and Wesley wanted to climb up to and into the arch because there was a trail leading to it. But as luck would have it, we wouldn't have time to do this, it was getting pretty late. "Maybe on the way back I told them". But again as luck would have it on the way back, it was raining.
Our next destination would be where we met with Jim at Utrail. A fine kindhearted gentleman who's a welcoming man. Full of energy to get going, so, we were to follow him to the wilderness in our vehicle. Jim said, "let's go and just follow me” the boys really took it literally as his word was and climbed up in the front seat of his truck! Justin, Wesley and 2 dogs, Wyley and Missy! I started laughing, Robert started laughing and we just thought that was so funny! Justin and Wesley were ready to go no doubt!
We arrived at the campsite where we would spend a few nights. Camp was all set up prior to our arrival. All we had to do was pack in our gear. We had lunch, saddled up the horses, after instructions from Jim regarding the horses how to rein and ride, we headed off on a 4-mile journey across the mountainside in the wilderness. I can't begin to tell you how the trails captured our eyes, the beauty was awesome! Along the way, Jim named us the "Rough Riders". It just so happened to turn out just that! Justin wasn't paying attention and scraped his left cheek under his eye from a tree limb. Well...at that point he sucked it up like a big boy and we went on. A souvenir from New Mexico Wilderness was had at this point!
We made it back to camp where it was late in the evening. A campfire needed to be built for it would get kinda chilly in the evening time up in the mountain wilderness. Jim asked Justin and Wesley to gather some firewood for the fire and we would cook hotdogs. So off they go! Later after preparing the fixings and time to start a fire, we walked up to find that Justin and Wesley had arranged "THEIR OWN" campfire ring, placed stones in a circle with pinecones around it to decorate it so nice! How sweet was that! Now that was adventurous thinking. There was already a place to build a fire, but they decided "their" placed looked better to them! he! he! he! After an evening of riding and campfire eats, it was time to retire for the evening. It was nice that we had some dogs around to scare the coyote that we heard getting closer to us. I'm familiar with and have been around growing up coyotes and wolfs in the night howling and yelping, but Justin and Wesley hadn't, they were kinda scared.
The next day, before the break of dawn the horses were saddled up. Jim told the boys the night before, since you were so impatient (impatient they were, playing on the tie up ropes, hanging upside down on them and laughing so hard), kept saying "when are we gonna ride?" and it takes time to saddle, water and feed prior to a trip, "I'm gonna saddle these horses up before you two get up!” And so he did. After breakfast, we fed and watered the horses and off we went for another 8 miles ride across the mountainside on a different trail. Again, the trail was awesome! We stopped a few times along the way to rest and take pictures. Along the way another New Mexico Souvenir would be had. Wesley this time was not paying attention and caught a tree limb on the right side of his cheek, almost in the same place as Justin but opposite sides of the face. So, Wesley sucked it up like a big boy and we went on. Arriving at a watering hole where would have lunch. Justin and Wesley had a wonderful time exploring, climbing rocks, playing in the water, and finding rocks. In which a heart rock was found and given to me and an angel carved out with Wesley's hands in the graveled pebbles by the water...how sweet is that! A few rocks were piled up to show that we had made our stay there in the wilderness. Of course you know I had to take a picture of everything that was going on. The rocks all piled up, the angel Wesley made, Justin and Wesley having a time of their lives playing in the water and climbing the rocks. After our lunch and spending time at the watering hole, we made our way back to camp.
It was time for dinner to be prepared and another campfire to be built. Again, Jim set the boys off to find firewood for the fire. We had a great time cooking steaks and baked potatoes and talking. Then it was ready to retire for the evening.
The next day, we decided we would explore the camp side area trails and take pictures a few pictures on the trail and at the corral. Say a few goodbyes to the horses. Say our goodbyes to a wonderful guide and host with super hospitality.
On our way out of the wilderness, standing on the road was a big mule deer buck! Man he was beautiful. Before I could get my camera out to take a pic he trotted off into the wilderness and stopped turned around and looked. At that point I couldn't get a real good picture of him. When that buck trotted off he was "stout” and one fine looking deer! A nice looking rack to compliment how big he was. A doe was standing near by and I was able to take 2 pics of her. It was such a shame I couldn't take a pic in time as the buck was trotting off. The doe just stood there to let me take pics of her.
So our journey continued on back down the scenic route towards Albuquerque. Again, we couldn't resist stopping back by the Natural Arch, the Lava Falls, and the El Malpais Sandstone Bluffs to take more pictures and do a little more exploring. Although it was raining on and off we were still able to take some really good pictures.
Justin and Wesley had the time of their lives exploring the Sandstone Bluffs and wanting to take rocks that were too big to carry home. We did capture every rock that they picked up by taking pictures so that they one day can reflect back on those beautiful moments, accomplishments, adventurous times.
Sadly, it was time to leave this totally "awesome" place. Unlike Texas! The mountains were so beautiful. To say, Justin, Wesley, Robert and I had the time of our lives that we will never forget!