Semester 31: Talent Show, Train Rides, and Rock Climbing

Last weekend was a busy one for us at HMI!  On Saturday night, we hosted a Coffeehouse-style talent show for students and faculty.  Each of the cabin groups performed including a dance to the Spice Girls’ “Wanna Be” (in colorful costumes with crazy hair-dos—the performance got the whole crowd dancing and singing), a step dance, a routine in classic 60’s style to Hairspray’s “Don’t Stop the Beat,” and a hilarious sing-along to High School Musical’s “Breaking Free.”  Additionally, a number of students and faculty shared their personal talents with us, and groups of students organized to perform funny skits.  Each act wowed the community with its uniqueness.  The Coffeehouse was a great opportunity for the HMI community—the dancing, singing, and overall hilarity helped people come out of their shells even more and express things that are really important to them.  Semester XXXI is a more tight-knit and cohesive community because of the great experience we had during the Coffeehouse.  We’re all looking forward to hosting another one a bit later in the Semester!

After our happening Saturday night, we needed to do something really awesome on Sunday to keep that good feeling rolling, and we definitely did some great activities.  We split up into two different groups—one went rock climbing and the other rode the historic Leadville train.  We ventured into little Leadville and boarded the Leadville Colorado and Southern Railroad.  The open-air train cars provided us with a cool autumn breeze and spectacular views of the Mosquito and Sawatch Mountains—places we’d just been exploring on our first expedition.  The aspens have started to change colors, and they were splashes of yellows and oranges on the mountainsides throughout the train ride.  As the ride continued, the conductor enlightened passengers with various fun and historical facts about Leadville and the surrounding region.  When the train took a break to let passengers enjoy the view, several of us had the opportunity to explore the caboose and engine of the locomotive.  The train ride was a fun way for us to interact with one another while learning about and seeing a bit more of this place that we’re living for the Semester.

The other half of students headed up to Hagerman Pass to do some rock climbing.  Many of us have been practicing routes and problems in the rock climbing hall on campus for the past week, and we were eager to get out and test our skills on some real rocks.  We started our morning in the climbing hall learning about safety and proper use of equipment like harnesses, shoes, and helmets.  We piled into HMI vans and were on our way!  By the time we arrived, faculty had already set up three routes, each about 60 feet tall.  We were introduced to the process of  belaying—the belay works like a pulley system in which a student on the ground secures a climbing rope that their partner relies on to catch them should they fall off the rock.  This way, the farthest a person can fall is about a foot – not bad at all!
The three routes we climbed were divided into a variety of skill levels so that everyone could find success on at least one route.  We faced challenges head on, and by the end of the day, there were smiles all around.  Everyone pitched into the experience with positive support for fellow climbers and willingness to climb.  We realized that if we put our minds, bodies, and a little perseverance into the climbs, we could scale seemingly impassable cliffs!  We’re looking forward to seeing what exciting things HMI holds in store for us next week.  We’ll keep you posted!

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