Saturday morning, bright and early, in the parking lot of STRIVE Prep – Westwood School, CAP students and their instructors gather their gear, load up the van and head out for the weekend for their awesome camping adventure.
“So, CAP Students, what do you want to get out of this weekend camping trip. It’s not every day we have the chance to spend a weekend together in nature. Let’s make the most of it! What is your intention with this trip?” instructor Liz asks.
“I want to see wild animals,” says Sara.
“I want to practice survival skills and have a fun time, a positive experience,” Armando says.
“I want to find a new rock,” Mauricio adds.
“Wait, what? What do you mean a new rock?”
“Last year we found a bunch of mica, which was pretty cool!” Mauricio explained. “This year, I want to find something different and just as cool.”
“Oh, ok!” say the instructors.
As for the instructors, we hoped to see lots of stars, wildflowers, and plenty of smiles! Clear skies and warm temperatures were forecast for the weekend; we had a decent chance of satisfying everyone’s wishes.
As hoped, the weekend was fantastic. From the first creek-side stop on the drive out of town to the last sit spot by the pond at Cal-Wood, it was a magical adventure. After pitching tents at Outpost Camp and reviewing Leave-No-Trace knowledge with a quick game led by another CAP class, we hiked Longview trail to the Longs Peak Lookout, practiced compass and map reading skills to find our way around Cal-Wood, and saw deer, birds, coyotes and even a super curious Abert’s squirrel! We joked and laughed and challenged each other with various awareness games, and shared meals that somehow tasted better having been prepared outdoors. In the evening, Sara made her first fire with a fire striker, and we enjoyed S’mores and campfire stories about the origin of the night sky. Instructor Micaela even showed us how quartz rocks produce light when scrapped together!
With an early start to the second day (“Hey friends, it’s 5:30am! What are you doing up so early?”), we caught the sunrise, ate breakfast and broke camp with enough time to squeeze in a stop at the pond before heading over to our service project site. The pond was teeming with life – aquatic invertebrates, tiny fish, and birds galore – and according to the dichotomous key found in the pond-side equipment bin, was a healthy pond – certainly more so than ponds in the city. Near Columbine Camp, we joined another CAP class and spent a few hours moving and stacking logs from a forest thinning project. The service work was the least we could do in exchange for the use of the campground for the weekend, and (shh, truth be told…) we actually enjoyed the challenge!
“So, friends, did you enjoy your weekend? Were all of your expectations met?” The answer was a resounding “Yes!” with one exception…
We weren’t ready for our awesome camping adventure to end! Everyone wanted to stay just a bit longer!
Well, until next year, Cal-Wood! We appreciate your continued partnership!
Written by CAP class teacher Liz and CAP students
See photos from our trip here!