Recently, the two Denver Green School Community Adventure Program (CAP) classes went on their second camping trip of the year. A group of 13 students and three leaders drove up to Cheley Outpost Camp near Allenspark and spent two days and one night learning camping skills, whittling, sawing wood, hiking, making fire, cooking and, of course, playing games!
We left on Thursday morning in two vans loaded down with gear and students. After carrying down our gear, setting up camp, eating lunch, and getting to know our surroundings, we played a couple of games. One of these involved a circle of string on the ground. The students stood with their feet on the string, lay down on the ground and placed a rock at the crown of their head, then stood back up on the string. The challenge was to retrieve all of the rocks around the circle without going outside the circle or touching the ground. It was fun to see the creative methods that groups tried in order to get their rocks, some of which involved holding certain members of the group over the ground – stabilizing them as they leaned as far out of the circle as they could – and other methods that were entertaining but unsuccessful.
After playing games, we learned how to whittle and saw. One of the leaders, Ms. Lauren, spends her summers doing trail maintenance and has a lot of experience with saws and knives. She gave us a safety talk and then showed the students how to use handheld bow saws that we found at the campsite. The students really enjoyed this activity and spent a long time sawing large fallen tree trunks that we used later that night as fuel for our fire! Other students tried their hands at whittling, carving sticks into different shapes. Later, we went on a hike through the woods to a rocky overlook where we could see the whole valley below us, as well as Long’s Peak looming up in front. We enjoyed scrambling up rocks and playing games at the top.
When we got back to camp, it was time to make dinner and start the fire. The dinner group prepared burritos with veggies, rice, and beans; the fire group learned how to make fire with flint and steel, catching the sparks with cotton balls to start the fire; and another continued saw logs. Dinner was delicious and we enjoyed some s’mores afterwards while sitting around our blazing, warm fire. We went around and reflected on our day, hearing the highs and lows of what we had done.
Early on Friday, Ms. Kent led a small group on a sunrise hike while the rest of the group packed up their tents and gear. We ate oatmeal for breakfast, with many yummy toppings. After that, we took some time to experience our surroundings by doing a sit spot, everyone finding a quiet place and sitting without speaking or moving to take in nature and reflect on our experiences.
Before we headed out, we had some time for building shelters and playing games. One group went up on the hill behind camp to play Camouflage and Sardines. The rest of the group stayed with Ms. Lauren and built an elaborate shelter that was quite comfortable! We ate lunch, packed up the vans, and headed back to Denver, arriving on Friday afternoon tired, happy, and with many stories to tell!
Written by: Colleen Daszkiewicz, DGS CAP Instructor
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