Have you ever experienced the full potential of what nature can offer? Students at KIPP Montbello Collegiate High School, as part of the Cottonwood Institute’s Community Adventure Program, were able to experience nature up close and personal when they took a snowshoe trip to the mountains at Caribou Ranch.
As the bus arrived in the parking lot, students began to feel the full force of the cold; they would be out there for a few hours and had to figure out ways to handle it. Team members began to give advice, saying that they must move around and get active by doing “snow dances” or walking around in order to keep warm. Snowshoes and other winter gear was passed around and students eagerly put them on. The cold breeze whooshed around them and the wind blasted its screams all around. You can’t help but look around at all of the beautiful scenery around you: the green aspen and ponderosa pine trees, the snow caps at the top of the mountain, the snow blowing around you, it’s like a winter wonderland!
As we looked around, we could see others enjoying this beautiful scenery too. There were people with skis and snowshoes moving up and down the mountain, people of all ages, and each being courteous by stepping aside because everyone shared the narrow hiking path we took to snowshoe. Kind team members milled around, helped safely adjust our shoes and gear and went over activities and rules so that no one got lost. After introductions, we couldn’t wait to get started and warm up!
We began the long and tiring hike up the mountain, members stopping once in a while to make sure everyone is properly hydrated and the group was all together, until a clearing was reached.
Lunch was eaten and then it was time to do some fun activities. Groups were created and students choose which group they want to be in and everyone split up. Some helped make hot chocolate for the group, some decided to do more hiking up the mountain, and others decided to make a snow shelter or a trap house. Everyone was collaborating and soon enough, the trap house was finally finished, hikers came down the mountain tired, and hot cocoa was served!
The group then reunited, talked about takeaways from this new experience, how it was exhausting yet a new thrill, and then we headed back to the bus. Everyone could agree that the day was a productive one. Everyone just had their first experience snowshoeing and they were worn out!
Written by CAP Student, Abigail Admase
Edited by CI Program Coordinator, Taryn Longberry