Life at The Link School is nothing short of an adventure, and our month of October perfectly captured the balance, tenacity, and flexibility that staff and students demonstrate as members of this community. The month was filled with time in the classroom here on campus–where we recently received our first snow storm of the year, bringing a blanket of white to our home in the mountains–and with time learning in the desert as we embarked on a two-week trip to Utah, our longest trip of fall semester.
Our trip was divided into three phases: mountain biking, boating, and rock climbing. In each phase students challenged themselves physically, grew metaphysically, and learned new skills to apply to their lifelong adventures in the outdoors.
During the mountain biking phase, we completed sections of the world famous Kokopelli trail, which extends from Loma, Colorado to Moab, Utah. The days were filled with rocky mesa views colored red, white, and orange, challenging climbs, fun descents, and long days in the saddle. This was our most physically demanding part of the trip, and students were pushed to their limits. At Link, we call the practice of expanding our comfort zones being on our “growing edge,” and students certainly demonstrated being on their growing edge during this section. With the metaphysical support of peers and staff members, we expanded our comfort zones. On the final day of the biking section we received the only rain of the entire trip, and we were fortunate that this was the one night that we had a big group campsite with an awning under which we stayed warm and dry.
The second phase of our trip was spent at Swasey’s beach, just north of Green River, Utah. During this phase students learned the basics of swiftwater rescue: the hazards of river scenarios, the importance of being prepared ahead of time, evaluating a situation and acting accordingly, and basic knots, hitches, and river rope methods including throw bagging techniques. Students were able to further improve their river skills as we ran through scenarios to “rescue” James several times at Stone Canyon rapid. In addition to swiftwater rescue training, we enjoyed beautiful days of boating, which will prepare us for long sea kayaking days in Baja in January. Everyone paddled several rapids in kayaks or duckies (inflatable kayaks) over the five day period. During this phase of our trip we had several additional science and English classes, and we were lucky enough to observe the nearly complete solar eclipse beach side during one of our morning sessions.
For the final phase of our trip, we ventured to the Moab area for some rock climbing. We spent days on Wall Street and at Ice Cream Parlor, two world renowned areas known for their slabby sandstone and mix of moderate and challenging climbs. A highlight for many of the students from this phase of the trip was the swing at Looking Glass Arch. While we do encourage full participation in all of our programs here at the Link School, completing the swing portion of this activity is entirely optional. The swing includes a heart-pumping drop and significant launch high above the ground in a breathtaking arch. Many students chose to swing, while others participated by enthusiastically cheering on their peers.
We returned to campus mentally refreshed (though physically in need of showers!), and students spent the final week of the month diving deep back into classroom academics, bringing with them deepened confidence, spiritual fortitude, and love for the community.
-Woody Brown, Science Teacher