The members of Mountain Classroom began the week by climbing into Sea Biscuit, our newley named bus, with a week of once in a lifetime opportunities ahead of us at Joshua Tree National Park. The eagerness to climb was felt throughout the group - a group filled with experienced climbers and new ones.
We met our inscructor, Nate, to learn the basics of climbing safety and some lingo to go along with it. This week new climbers were faced with an obstacle perhaps even bigger than the rocks themselves: the fear of heights. On the first climb, from first step to last, the fear of falling was present among the group. However, as the slips became more frequent, the trust in the equipment grew, just as the unity of our group has grown since day 1.
Our group of individuals is quickly becoming a family full of good times and laughs. The days spent climbing enhanced our trust of one another. A climber is not able to make it up the face of the rock without a team, a belayer and a back-up belayer to catch them when they fall and see them safely back on the ground. Throughout the toughest parts of the climb, you can always count on a word of encouragement and advice from everyone on the ground. Every aspect of our group, since day one of Mountain Classroom, has always consisted of teamwork rather than the indvidual. Whether it is learning about the potential solutions to solving our world wide food crisis or climbing some of the most challenging obstacles we have ever faced.
As the week progressed it became easier for us to balance our time between climbing, classes, homework, and our desire to get to know eachother better. We continue to learn more about the agricultural food industry, with our focus being on the most severe drought California has experienced in decades, and the impact it is having on the state, which is the most agriculturally productive state in the country. As we learn more, we are beginning to question the future of the food industry, the long term environmental effects of our agriculture system, and possible solutions to this monumental issue that most aren't even aware of.
As we packed up camp on our last day in Joshua Tree, it was obvious how well we've learned to work together as a group to accomplish a common goal. Tents were dismantled in a handful of minutes, breakfast was cooked and cleaned up with everyone pitching in. The trailer was loaded up, hitched to the bus and everyone climbed into Sea Biscuit, ready to get on the road.
Our next adventure takes us to Bluff, Utah, where we will be embarking on a seven day rafting trip on the San Juan River. We've come so far in these first days, and we can only imagine how much farther this journey will take us.
Kelsey and Riley