After completing our primitive skills backpacking trip, Proctor Academy Mountain Classroom visited Smithfield's Hog Operations Headquarters in Milford, UT. We then went on to visit Morgan Family Dairy in Circleville as we immersed ourselves in studying large-scale agriculture. We were treated to a number of thunderstorms and rainbows at Otter Creek State Park, which we called home for most of the week before driving on to Moab. We left Moab for Bluff, Utah where we are headed rafting on the San Juan River for the next week with longtime Proctor friend, Kay Harris of Canyon Expeditions.
This weekend we drove to Moab. While driving there I napped to catch up on sleep from our previous backpacking trip. When I woke up I looked out the window and saw that we were driving paths Arches National park. I reminisced on an amazing family hike to the Delicate Arch that I did this summer after visiting colleges. Throughout these past days I kept seeing certain spots in Moab that my family visited, like The Adventure Inn and an alligator-shaped rock that our rafting guide pointed out on the Colorado River.
My favorite part of our time this weekend was the last day when we visited Arches National Park and started the morning by hiking to Devils Garden. In the hike there were so many arches. We first saw Landscape Arch, which was massive and looked like it could fall at any moment. The second arch we saw was Partition Arch. Through the arch was an amazing view with sandstone hills, a meadow, and then snowy peaks in the distance. The last arch we saw was the Double Arch. This arch was my favorite. We set down our packs and explored. We had so many laughs, funny photos, and it was another unforgettable hike in the beautiful Arches National Park.
After a day full of exploring sandstone arches we sat tired and content on the bus heading for showers and a dinner out. Gracie caught our attention with a letter she had written to the Proctor admissions office thanking them for letting the “weird ones” in. I had similar thoughts that day as we raced down slick rock hills and stood in awe of the wonders that rock and water create. I have always been grateful for the experiences I have had while at Proctor, and a full day in Arches National Park is one of the best.
I decided this as I sketched a claret cup cactus that was just about to bloom tucked behind a rock slab. We were scattered across the side of a rocky hill painted with reds, greens and grays, each studying our chosen plants for personal journaling time. The clouds rolled across the sky, only letting the sun sneak through for bits at a time. The wind was persistent and nipped at our skin. In these moments I can’t help but smile because this is reality. When I find myself in situations like this I try to trace back to how I got here. In this case it started with an interview, four years ago on a very different kind of day in a very different place. So to follow Gracie’s lead I would like to say thank you for letting the weird ones in and allowing us to be here.