On a chilly winter’s morning, the 2nd trimester CAP class at AXL Academy set out for their first winter excursion together. Upon arriving to school, the students were instructed to choose layers for the day and make lunch. After an hour of packing, the 13 students, and 2 instructors piled into the van to make the journey to Nederland. On the ride up, the students playfully argued with their instructors over the radio, preferring the latest hits to the adults choice of Christmas music. We ate snacks, talked, and laughed with one another for an hour or so until we reached Nederland.
Coming into the town, the students were all amazed by the frozen lakes and ponds that we saw. One student said that the water reminded her of magic. We made a quick stop for the restroom and to stretch our legs. As they exited the van, the students were quickly surprised by the temperature difference. The wind whipped around us and many joked that they might blow away. Back into the van, a few more miles, and we made it to our final destination for the day.
We put on our remaining layers and boots, packed our bags and stepped out into the snow to start our adventure. The excitement was high the second the students feet hit the ground. They immediately began to run, exploring the area around them, and quickly decided that they would all ascend the large snow covered hill that stood before them. They laughed and yelled as they fought their way up through more snow than they expected. Once they reached the top, we had the students stand in a circle and see what they noticed. Yancy commented on how quiet it was, something he never gets to hear in the busy city of Aurora. Many other students noticed that the wind itself was audible, and that the strong gusts made it hard to walk.
We continued on and filled our day with sliding and rolling down yet another giant snowy hill, hiking, making snow cones from Gatorade powder, playing a tricky game together, and trying our hand at fire making using steel strikers. The students were surprised by how difficult of a task this proved to be and felt great satisfaction and pride when their cotton balls burst into tiny flames. One pair of students set a group record in lighting more than 10! Once we had our fun with the fire, we ended our afternoon with a sit spot, and drinking hot chocolate together as a group.
By the time we finished our hot chocolate, there were many “popsicle toes” and the students were ready to head back to the warm van. On the way home, the students noticed that the lake that had been frozen on our way up had thawed in the sunlight. They all looked out the window in awe as they talked about how magical it looked, like shattered glass. Our battle for the radio resumed and the students enjoyed oreos as we traveled back to Aurora. Overall, the students felt that their first winter excursion was a success! Here are some student quotes about the trip!
“Towards the end we had time to self reflect. This time was very peaceful and relaxing.”
“There was no part of the trip I didn’t like. I liked every part of this trip!”
Written by CAP class students and CAP instructor, Vicki Whisenhunt
See more photos from our trip here!