5th and 6th grade take on the Colorado River

Emerald Connection, May 5th, 2022

Last week, 5th and 6th graders braved the rapids of the Colorado River and enjoyed the spectacular vistas of the Utah red rocks east of Moab for their spring trip. I was fortunate to be among the faculty chaperoning the adventure, and it was a delight to see how well the entire flock did in handling the various activities and challenges inherent to camping in the wild. Much of the focus for the trip built on skills the students have been developing over the year, including self care, appropriate communication, checking in with group members, listening well, and not forgetting to admire the big picture, all of which are key to success in the field. We were likewise blessed by the remarkable expertise of Phoebe and Erik Larsson, who guided the rafting portions of the trip, read the water, and helped us novices learn how to steer from the rower’s seat. On Tuesday, the 5th Grade put in at Dewey Bridge and rafted down to Onion Creek, enjoying lunch on the way, temperatures in the 80’s, and only a mild breeze. Meanwhile, the 6th graders hiked Grandstaff, splashed in the water beneath the arch at the midway point 2.5 miles in, then, upon returning to the van, headed into town for well-earned ice cream. On Wednesday, the two classes flip-flopped their respective agenda, and we managed to sneak in an optional evening hike on the butte above camp, which 11 students from both grades attended along with Doug and myself. To cap things off on Thursday, we all put in at Onion Creek and rafted together some 10 miles down to Sandy Beach. The breeze picked up somewhat per day, so we needed to heed directions well, wake up early, and hold off on lunch until near the end of the third route so as to not find ourselves blown back upriver. My boat pulled off the distinction as the only vessel to get stuck on a rock, which happened on Thursday. But, with patient guidance from our trip leaders and a bit of experimentation, we managed to escape unharmed and with lots of laughs. That evening, the kids enjoyed s’mores over the fire and reflected on their favorite moments from the week. We embarked early Friday and headed back to Steamboat, avoiding the snowfall that morning and arriving back with no casualties in the early afternoon. Many thanks to all the parents in attendance, who assisted in the boats and made a few needed trips to town for water and fruit. It was a great time, all around.

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