| Dru Falco

Changemakers Spend A Night in the Sand Dunes


What was your favorite part of the trip? What will you always remember? You’ll get different answers to these questions depending on who you ask. Last week, Cottonwood’s Changemakers spent three days in the San Luis Valley exploring Great Sand Dunes National Park, Zapata Falls, and Earth Knack. As the culmination to a yearlong leadership program, this trip enabled students to take on new responsibilities like meal planning, and were given an insight into Earth Knack’s sustainable building practices.

On the van ride home, our participants put in their two cents on the trip:

Everyone woke up in the morning saying how spectacular the stars were and clambered up the Sand Dunes to watch the sunrise. After playing in the sand we headed back to the van and then to Zapata falls. The falls were refreshing and were a great way to stretch our legs before heading to our final destination. Our drive to Earth Knack consisted of good views, yaks, and naps. Once we got to Earth Knack we were happily greeted by swarms of mosquitoes. We got a short tour and set up camp. Dinner was marinara, pasta, vegetables, chicken, and bread. We ended the night with music and new friendships. In the morning we got an in-depth explanation about sustainable building and straw bale houses. Our ride home was filled with good conversations and satisfying feelings about our trip. Overall everyone had a great time and many memories were made. 10/10 would recommend. – Front Row Yelp Reviewers

We want to suck your blood! – The MosquitoesZapata Falls

My favorite part of the entire trip was when we got to visit Zapata Falls. After waking up at 6 AM that morning in the Sand Dunes, all of us were very tired. However, after the initial part of the hike, we got to walk in an incredibly clear stream, which made me feel a hundred times better! Then, we hiked up the stream a bit and arrived at a canyon that Zapata Falls flowed into. The crashing sounds of the waterfall mixed with the ice-cold water made me feel such a rush of energy and I immediately lost all of the tiredness that I had felt earlier. Even though it was a short hike, it was probably my favorite hike of all time and I’m sure everyone else felt the same. –Sawyer

Thanks for the Cottonwood Institute stickers! – the Aliens from the twin portals of the UFO Watchtower

Sandy hike and camp
Flying fun, windy night sleep
Cherished memories
– Haiku from the Back Row of the Van

We are so lucky to get to work with these incredible students. Every day they amaze us and refresh us. It is so much fun to share the things we love with them and learn alongside them. But they ate all the Oreos. Next time we’ll hide them. – Erin and Chelsea, CAP & Changemaker Instructors

Written by CAP Instructor Erin Angel

Categories: Changemaker, Notes From The Field, Updates

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