Group Photo

In early October, the seventh-grade Telluride Mountain School class backpacked into the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area in southeastern Utah's Bears Ears National Monument. For four nights and five days, the students camped in the majestical beauty of the desert, surrounded by the warmth of sandstone canyon walls and a gently burbling stream. During their trip, students were immersed in a blend of classroom and field-based curricula. The art curriculum included rock pigment drawings and experiments, dirtball making, and sound map creating. The English curriculum entailed emotive canyon poetry writing with figurative language, short story writing from the perspective of a mountain lion, and satire writing about the pitfalls of being in the desert. Excerpts from Edward Abbey and Craig Childs were also analyzed and discussed by our cohort. The history and science curriculum involved a deep dive into the formation of the rocks in the canyon as well as the identification of found animal remains. The outdoor education curriculum pushed students to pack thoughtfully, leave no trace, learn outdoor cooking skills, and reflect in their journals on the nuanced interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics that come with the territory of being in a group in the wilderness. In addition to field-based curricula, there was also plenty of time for fruitful, unstructured play and discovery. Students built a frog mansion, jumped into swimming holes, and made sculptures in the sand. These mature adolescents indeed rose to the challenge of hiking with heavy packs in mercurial weather and supporting each other along the way. 

Click here to view photo album