Balancing Act | Challenges, Accomplishments, and Connections
“Although I had done the Incline many times before, I still felt a sense of accomplishment when I made it to the top.” - Kyle J. ‘20
On Friday the 16th, Mr. Rob Johnston shared a presentation about his journey with running ultramarathons. After giving us some inspiration, he then led a trip to the top of the Manitou Incline. Everyone made it to the top, and down the Barr trail at their own pace.
For our capstone adventure, everyone headed to school on Sunday at 10am and packed up the vans with our backpacking backpacks, snowshoes and poles. We then set off to Eagle, Colorado. Later that evening we arrived at the cabins at Sylvan Lake. The next day we re-packed the vans and started our journey up to our trailhead. Surprisingly, one of our vans got stuck in the snow and we made the safe decision to head back down to Sylvan Lake for one more night. For the rest of the day we snowshoed around the lake and got to practice our Wilderness First Aid Training skills. We also truly began to realize that meal-prep, water, and rest, things easy and taken for granted, take on a whole new meaning.
The official ice report from Sylvan Lake State Park personnel confirmed that the Sylvan Lake ice was safe to explore - so we did!
“While trekking over the lake it was truly astonishing to feel how thick the ice was. I had to reach my whole arm in the water before actually reaching the bottom of the ice.” -Alex S. ‘21
On our third day we drove to the trailhead, put on our snowshoes, and started the 6-mile journey. The group paced itself for 6 hours until we made it to the top. We got to relax in the cabin and stoke the fire. There was no running water, so we were taught how to shovel snow, boil it, and filter it so we could drink it. We worked on our Personal Wellness Plans after reviewing decision-making traps (NOLS) and what is most critical about self-care at high altitude. Our Personal Wellness Plans can be organized by time or by wellness area. We are making S.M.A.R.T. goals in the areas of physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellness and these goals are 3 months, one year, five years, and 10 years out. Most of us agreed that the 10-year goals were the hardest to envision.
After our cozy night was over, in the morning we hiked down the trail in half the time it took us to hike up the day before. When we got back to the vans we all took off our snowshoes and felt very accomplished and proud of ourselves and each other. This trip made us all stronger, or perhaps showed us we were stronger than we thought. It also provided true “unplugged” time.
“I made many connections with people who I had never connected with before. We all had a great time making jokes and laughing.” - Aadi N. ‘21