By Samantha Collins, 8th Grader at Shining Mountain
On Tuesday, September 19th the 8th grade of Shining Mountain Waldorf School set out on an amazing trip. After a three-hour drive over the mountains to Lake Granby, we all had a delightful dinner at the Sagebrush Inn where we could throw peanut shells on the ground, before spending the night in an old school no longer used for teaching. The next morning, we were woken up extremely early so we could have a head start on our day. We had a quick, but delicious breakfast at a beautiful wooden lodge before heading down to the water. Once the boats were loaded into the water, and all our gear was stored on the pontoon boat, we were off.
While canoeing to our camp, many of us became distracted by the beautiful scenery. We paddled past hills full of trees at all stages of color; from green to yellow and from orange to brown. After an hour-and-a-half of paddling, we made our way into an inlet. On either side of us were steep, green hills with very few trees. Behind us were the huge, beautiful mountains shooting up into the sky with trees of many colors and light green grass. We canoed for another half-hour before we reached our campsite.
At first glance, we couldn’t figure out how or where, we were going to camp. In front of us were steep cliff-like rocky hills that, from what we could see, only continued upwards. Too add to the challenge of moving our gear, the green hills were covered with prickly grasses and little plants that would stick to our socks, as well as poorly placed rocks.
Finally, the pontoon boat arrived, we were all worrying about how we could lug all of our gear, heavy coolers, and kitchen appliances up a good 300-foot incline to where we were going to make camp. We figured the quickest way to move everything up was to create a relay line. We went through with this idea and by using teamwork, and we were incredibly successful!
After two-and-a-half hours of our team’s efforts, we set up everything and ate lunch. After clean up, we paddled across the channel to a beautiful sandy beach where we went swimming. The water was freezing, but we all went in anyway. A few of us even paddled out thirty feet and flipped our canoes for fun. After a couple hours of messing around in the water, we paddled back to camp, hungry for dinner.
On Thursday we slept in, had breakfast and hot drinks before canoeing down to the mouth of the Colorado River to complete the day’s major event: the solo. The solo was a period of time ranging from one to two hours where an individual is challenged to live in the present. The solo experience is centered around the idea of what do you want to leave behind and what do you want to keep of yourself as you become older. When I asked my friend Elijah to share a bit about his experience, here’s what he said: “I had a great time on the solo. I thought it was nice to just relax in nature. Even though I know we weren’t supposed to think about the future I found my mind drifting there. Since I was sitting by the river I would put my hand in the water and it was incredibly nice to just feel it rushing past.” I asked him what he took away from this experience and here is his answer: “One thing I definitely took away from the solo was that, even if I was thinking about the future, I should live in the present and not worry too much about the future until it gets here and becomes the present.”
After the solo, we paddled back to our camp, splashing each other along the way. We had lunch and then went cliff jumping! We would jump off a twenty-foot rock at the base of our campsite that stuck out over the ice-cold water. If you stood on the edge before you jumped, you could see the other side of the inlet where the sun was still shining brightly on the sandy beach and pine trees. We all jumped at least once, including the chaperones and teachers. Mr. Janzen even did a backflip! This was definitely the highlight of the trip for me, leaping off a cliff and feeling like I could fly. Plus, it’s not everyday you get to see your teacher do a backflip off something higher than a high diving board.
On Friday, our final morning, we were once again woken up early in anticipation of the day, as well as to make sure we were prepared once the pontoon boat arrived. We cleaned up camp, reloaded the pontoon boat, and said goodbye to our campsite.
Overall, the trip was one of the most exciting and enjoyable experiences I’ve had, and according to many of my classmates, it was for them too. Over the years we’ve been together, our class has bonded strongly, and camping trips have contributed greatly. When I first heard we were going on a canoeing trip at the beginning of the year, I wasn’t sure what to think, but after having been on it, I’ve realized how much closer it brought our class as a whole. I hope we continue to grow and become even closer for a very long time.