The sun peaked in on the Cottonwood Institute instructors as they trekked up the steepest part of the hike to Francie’s Cabin, near Breckenridge, CO. Within minutes the temperature change took them from cold to sweating, shedding their early morning layers. A short time later they broke into a clearing just below the hut, revealing sun-drenched bowls and mountain ridges covered in snow: Colorado splendor at its greatest. This was the playground and backdrop of the The Logan School Winter Survival Day with Cottonwood Institute.
The action-packed day with Environmental Education Teacher Elizabeth Wroe, her students, and three additional chaperones was pretty epic. Amid winter survival skills training, snow fights would spontaneously erupt and then deteriorate into another round of laughter. It became clear early-on that Logan teachers and students share a special bond – and that Cottonwood instructors weren’t immune to being tackled in the snow. This was a great group with which to work – and the Logan School and the Cottonwood Institute were a perfect match.
The day included hard skills like quinzhee and trench shelters, fire-starting, and survival kits –but also the less concrete knowledge of winter injuries, survival mentality, and even talk of extirpation –flew by in a blur. The students and staff were enthusiastic, positive, super-interested, and a real pleasure to work with – not to mention experts at melting snow for water before the instructors even arrived. And all that in the midst of hauling gear around at altitude, in two feet of snow, with cold temps. Everyone certainly worked hard – and played harder.
It was a real pleasure to work with this group. After all, it’s hard not to have fun when you’re playing ‘Ninja’ or dancing like a penguin in knee-deep snow with two dozen other people. Many thanks to the Logan School for our continued collaboration on great courses! For more images from the course see this link.
Written by Cottonwood Institute Instructor Doug Hill