Entering Colorado provided Mountain Classroom with the opportunity to head to over 10,000 feet in pursuit of snow. We made home at Leadville's High Mountain Institute where we rented skis and down pants, among other gear, for going adventuring in the Mosquito Range. Our mission was to enjoy the spring skiing and learn about how adaptable the human body is at elevation and in snow camping conditions. It was a blast!
Proctor's Mountain Classroom community transitioned to a hunter/gatherer mindset as we drove away from California. On our way to Boulder, UT we paddled through the Black Canyon seeking out hot springs around every corner. Once in Boulder we began fasting in preparation for learning how to butcher a sheep under the direction of Laurel Holding and Carrie Ryan. Both have acquired their skills over many years as instructors for various organizations, including the Boulder Outdoor Survival School.
Mountain Classroom is spending our spring studying food. We started the term by getting our hands dirty on the Midland School’s farm in Los Olivos, CA. Ranch Manager, Nick Tranmer, was our gracious host, as we camped out in a beautiful field nearby campus, before heading into the San Rafael Wilderness for a first aid themed backpacking trip. After backpacking we returned our thoughts to food systems by visiting Duncan Family Farms, a large-scale organic farm growing salad greens in New Cuyama. Now we are en route to the Colorado River for a canoeing trip in the Black Canyon below the Hoover Dam.
Mountain Classroom spent its final week and a half in the Sespe Wilderness east of Ventura, California. The Thacher School graciously allowed us to use a property they own in the wilderness area called Patton’s Cabin for our finals. The cabin meant that everyone was able to stay dry in the midst of a historic deluge that turned the Sespe Creek into a muddy, rapid-filled river.
Mountain Classroom camped in Malibu with Mountain Classroom alumna Christine Walshe ‘97. Malibu put us within striking distance of Los Angeles for a couple day immersion in Japanese American history. We spent our first day taiko drumming at Asano Taiko U.S., and then the next day was devoted to exploring Little Tokyo where we visited the Japanese American National Museum and enjoyed bowls of ramen. Our curricula were grounded in excerpts from Snow Falling on Cedars in English and A Different Mirror on Japanese Internment Camps in social studies. From Malibu we drove north to Arroyo Hondo where we met Gabriel, who facilitated a workshop on how to kill and butcher a goat.
Mountain Classroom left Arizona bound for San Ysidro, CA, which is the busiest international border crossing in the world with more than 17 million vehicles and 50 million people crossing each year. Patty Pond, our Mountain Classroom Director, joined us for the weekend organized by Centro Romero’s Carlos Correa Bernierand Dan Romero. We spent our time learning about the nuances of life in the border region through the perspectives of a local police officer, border patrol agents, and individuals who immigrated to the US. At the end of Alfie's '18 blog below you will read about Santiago from Venezuela who just started a "FundMe" campaign to which we hope you will consider supporting. In addition, throughout the term we have been challenging ourselves physically with our daily morning exercise. This weekend our training culminated with all of us running a 10K in San Diego.
Our final week in Arizona was spent in Tucson and then traveling to the border to hike and learn with Tohono O'odham tribal members. Classes focused on the history of immigration policy in the US, soil health in the desert, and the tribe's ongoing relationship with the political boundary between the US and Mexico. Enjoy this window into Mountain Classroom!
The Mountain Classroom group spent last week alone in the hills nearby Cascabel, AZ. It was a unique opportunity to be on solo for four nights on a beautiful stretch of desert preserved by the Cascabel Conservation Association. We prepared for our introspection by studying neurons and the quantifiable benefits of mindfulness, reading Herman Hesse's Siddhartha set 2500 years ago, and discussing traditional Lakota ceremonies as written about by Albert White Hat in Zuya.