CAP students from KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy (KSPA) embarked on their last weekend adventure for the semester at Cal-Wood Education Center. Prepared with a van full of gear and food, the group left the school, the city, and their technology(!) behind for a two-day, one-night adventure they will remember forever.
The group arrived at their base camp for the weekend, Cal-Wood Solitude Camp. After walking around the campground and taking turns ringing the dinner triangle, they unpacked the van and set up tents, sleeping bags, and the kitchen for lunch. Although some snowflakes started to fall from the sky during lunch, the group had too much energy and excitement to be deterred from adventure.
After lunch, there was a great discussion about what to bring with on a day hike—the “ten essentials.” As any prepared group should do, they learned how to use one of those essentials—a map and compass—to find their way for the day hike. Each student took turns orienting the map with the compass and telling the group which way to go when they reached a fork in the trail.
During the hike, the students had great views of the mountains and Cal-Wood from both Longview and Solitude Point. They debated the pros and cons of hiking off trail. On the way back to camp, the students challenged the teachers to a survival shelter-building contest. While the teachers may have won this time, everyone learned a great deal about what goes into making a useful shelter in case of emergency.
Back at camp, the students got busy preparing dinner—a chicken noodle ramen soup so good, they made a song about it! With the sun setting as dinner ended, the group decided to hike off trail uphill to catch a glimpse of the sunset. When the fog blocked the view and rain appeared on the horizon, the group determined it was time to go back to the warming hut to make a fire and s’mores.
On day two, the group awoke to a chilly fog and packed up camp before breakfast. After everyone ate as much oatmeal as they could handle, the group played a couple games and then got to work on their service project. They cleaned up loose wood, rocks, and other debris from the campground, preparing it for other groups to use and enjoy in the months to come.
By the time the van was packed and it was time to head back down the hill, everyone had developed a special bond with Solitude Camp and each other. New skills and games were learned, friendships grew, and in spite of all the talk about Leave No Trace over the weekend, a trace of Cal-Wood left with each person as the van pulled away on the dirt road back to society.
Written by Instructor Adam Fedyski
See more photos from the trip here!