Braving heavy rain and thunderous storms, the fifth and sixth grade class of Telluride Mountain School brought excitement, love of learning, and impressive grit to nearly every part of the Gunnison River, from the Gunnison Gorge to Dominguez-Escalante Canyon. The trip spanned five days and began at Cottonwood Grove Campground, just downriver of the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Gunnison.
Throughout the first two days of the trip, students had opportunities to practice their fly-fishing skills, engage in peaceful yoga moments, identify plants native to the region, and sketch and reflect in their journals about these educational and enriching experiences. Early morning thunderstorms, helping around the camp, and delicious meals were all memorable parts of this welcomed time to get to know the area and build meaningful relationships with peers.
On Wednesday morning, students packed up their tents in the wettest, windiest storm of the year. Driving through this memorable storm, the group eventually arrived at Confluence Park in Delta, Colorado, to begin their three-day float on the Gunnison River through the Dominguez-Escalante Canyon. After getting some safety tips from the guides, students enjoyed single and tandem duckies and time in the rafts with guides and teachers. No hand went un-blistered on this stretch of river!
The trip leaders and river guides were impressed with students’ polite and respectful behavior as they paddled through the canyon. Red rock geology, historical petroglyphs, lessons on the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition of 1776, and nature vocabulary en español allowed many learning opportunities across the academic subjects. Birthday treats, whitewater rafting, and a Kubb tournament to end their time on the river were appreciated and enjoyed by all.