“Into the Woods” 10th/11th Grade Project Week | by Max Saliman


The third week of the 2016-2017 school year, the 10th and 11th grades took a backpacking trip north west of Lyons, Colorado. There were two groups, one going 5.2 miles to Finch Lake, and one group going 6.8 miles to Thunder Lake. I was in the Thunder Lake group, supervised by Julie Irwin and Matthew Messner.

The trip began with the entire school driving together up to a car camping site, which we spend the first night at. We pitched camp, played some games, and had dinner. After that, we all gathered around the campfire to talk with friends, make dessert, and sing a good deal of random songs. We were all having fun as it started sprinkling lightly. When this kind sprinkle turned to a heavy shower of cold rain, those most enthusiastic moved to the bus and resumed singing there, while everyone else scrambled into their tents. I was among those who went to the bus, and we stayed there until we were told it was time to go to bed.

The next day we set off for the several hour hike up to Thunder Lake. For much of the hike the fog was so thick that the people in the front of the pack looked hazy. For the other (admittedly much smaller portion) of the hike, the fog lifted and the beauty of the jagged mountains around us was revealed. We reached our campsite at about six o’clock, and made dinner as soon as all of our things were in place. After dinner, nobody had enough energy to do much other than crawl into their sleeping bags and fall asleep.

The next day, after one of the deepest sleeps I have ever had, we were given the freedom to do basically whatever we wanted until ten o’clock, when we would join together and take a hike to the continental divide. I was a part of a group that decided to climb up the valley that our campsite was at the bottom of. We figured out, soon after starting, that this was not going to be a walk. In total, I’m guessing the hike was half a mile, but it took us close to an hour due to the fact that you needed to use your hands and climb up much of the surface. After returning from that adventure, we tried to hike to the continental divide, but were forced to turn around early due to the snow.

Half of the group took the opportunity to wake up at 5:50 AM the following morning to go watch the sunrise from the lake. When we got there, it was still pitch black, but as we watched, the sun slowly peeked out, flooding our surroundings with a beautiful orange light. After it started to hurt to look at it, we went back to camp, ate breakfast, and set off down the mountain. Once we got back, we met up with the other group, told each other what we had done, and headed back to the campsite we had stayed on the first night. We woke up the next morning and headed home. I will always remember that trip as a positive one, and am glad I got the opportunity to be a part of it.

Max Saliman, 10th Grade