Students soaking in Rico Hotsprings

This fall, the 3rd- and 4th-grade students embarked on a new outdoor education trip. In connection with their Earth Science studies, this group of hearty students set out to explore the Dunton area, south of Telluride. This area holds many geothermal features, including hot springs and the only natural geyser in Colorado, and proved to be an exciting area to explore.

The buzz of excitement was palpable despite rainy skies as the 3rd- and 4th-grade homeroom set off on their three-day, two-night adventure. Their first stop was Burro Bridge Campground, where students worked together to set up camp. Next, the group hiked to Geyser Spring, part of a series of hot springs in the Dolores River watershed. Thankfully the rain held off for most of the 3-mile round-trip hike, and students were able to spend time observing the 40-minute cycle of the geyser and making predictions about the force driving the geyser's activity. That evening everyone enjoyed dinner prepared by their classmates and delicious s'mores to top off an excellent day in the field.

The following morning offered some brief glimpses of the sun and a chance to play silly games to get the group's blood pumping. While we had to scale back our initial plans to hike Sockrider Peak due to weather, it didn't shake the group's morale. Instead, the group headed out on Navajo Lake Trail. As the clouds cleared, the snow-covered ridges and mountains began to reveal themselves. It was a spectacular hike that highlighted the contrast between the fall colors and snowy mountains. Spirits were high as the group finished their hike and returned to camp for some more time to play together.

On the trip's final day, the group was lucky enough to visit the Rico Hot Springs. After two cold days in the mountains, everyone was excited to soak in the 100-degree pools. It was exciting to immerse ourselves in one of the geologic features we had been studying in science. We wrapped up the trip with a final debrief activity while soaking in the hot springs and enjoying the golden blanket of fall foliage surrounding us.

In addition to the many lessons that the area offered, this group of hearty mountain children persevered through challenging weather and camped in conditions that most would consider less than ideal. Throughout it all, the group kept a positive attitude and savored the sweet moments together.

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