Thursday, October 27, 2011

Telluride Mountain School Descends into Dark Canyon

Telluride Mountain School got the chance to travel into Dark Canyon once again, this time with their 7th grade class. The week-long adventure was one of the many fantastic experiential education trips the Telluride Mountain School takes its students on every year.

Traveling into Dark Canyon is like stepping back in time. The canyons are silent minus the sounds of ravens overhead and the river below. Few people ever go there.

That the Telluride Mountain School is able to take middle school kids to such remote places is truly amazing. Students learn desert ecology and backcountry skills such as working together as a team and taking care of their basic needs of food, water, shelter, and companionship.

But perhaps what is more amazing is the self-awareness that students gain. After a challenging descent into the canyon, one 12-year old, Aidan Green, put it this way:

"The hike down into the canyon was a struggle for all of us. People fell, slipped, and tumbled. It was one of the steepest hikes I have ever done. The beating hot sun that felt like I was being thrown into a furnace. It took every thing out of me. The 35-pound backpack on my back weighing me down made everything more difficult. I felt dead, but I kept on going. 

When I made it to the bottom, I removed my pack. My body felt so light that I could float. Then I took off my big heavy boots that were now damp with sweat on the inside, and I felt delighted because my feet could breathe."

Telluride Mountain School's trips aren't just about seeing great places. After a backcountry trip such as this, students learn that nature is another kind of home for them. Esme Fahnestock, another student, said this of the trip: "Now I know a place where I can go to escape the stress of modern life. I slip on my backpack and walk. In nature, I find a place that's my home."

If you want to go too, check out this brief write-up at

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful! I felt just like Aidan did when I got to the bottom of Dark Canyon, back in 1995, with you, Em! This takes me back... what a beautiful, quiet place...