The first weekend in November a small group of KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy CAP students braved the cold and went to the mountains for an overnight camping trip. Upon arriving at the Solitude Campsite in Cal-Wood, just outside of Jamestown Colorado, there was a lot of excitement to see where we would be calling home for the next 36 hours. Before setting up camp and having lunch, we stopped for a sit – spot; a moment where we could use our senses alone for 5 minutes without distraction.
After setting up camp and having lunch we learned about Leave No Trace (LNT) then went on a hike where we practiced using compasses and topographic maps. Along the hike we saw a stellar jay, abert squirrel, and a few mule deer before reaching Panorama Point – a breathtaking overlook of the mountain range stretching from Apache and Navajo Peaks, located near Ward Colorado, to the Estes Needle and Twin Sisters Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. When we returned from the hike we re-assessed our layers and started preparing dinner.
It wasn’t long before the temperature dropped and some snow started flurrying around us – brrr! But lucky us; we had a warming hut at the campground! Without any lighters or matches we got a fire started – we used flint and steel to ignite cotton balls that had vaseline on them! For the remainder of the night we got to know each other a little better while playing some group activities, drinking hot chocolate and making s’mores.
After a cold night of sleep we were ready to pack up and start moving our bodies to warm up! We ate breakfast, packed up camp and hopped in the van for a quick 5-minute drive to another area on the Cal-Wood property for our service project building slash piles. To reduce the chances of fire burning the entire property in a wildfire, Calwood cuts down branches and small trees (slash) along a section of the property to create a fuel break. We were able to help by building 5 large slash piles that will be control burned after the spring.
We wrapped up our weekend trip with a couple rounds of the game Camouflage! At the end of the 36 hours we reflected on the experience. Among some of the things shared were what the trip helped us learn:
“I learned what slash piles are.”
“I learned that working as a team is better than working alone.”
“ I learned to get layered when it is cold.”
“I will tell people how cold it was and how it is really cool to go out exploring by yourself when no one is talking to you”.
A big thanks to Cal-Wood for their continued partnership!
See more photos from the trip here
Written by CAP class students and CAP Instructor Eva Altermatt