Semester 34: “We are right where we belong”

It’s been a big transition coming back to campus, but we feel that we are right where we belong! The HMI community has welcomed all expedition groups back with open arms, and we are having an absolute blast reconnecting. When we are not in the middle of captivating and stimulating class periods, you can find us running, cross-country skiing, chatting, watching movies, or baking. While our activities may vary, there is a constant smile shared by each and every one of us. After study hall, we scurry across the boardwalk in the crisp, Leadville air and happily exhale as we open the doors into our warm cabins. Our cabins are heated by the wood-stove fires, and we all cuddle under our covers with the sweet satisfaction that we have conquered and enjoyed yet another HMI day.

This week we have been settling into classes after two weeks in the backcountry. The first English assignment we tackled was a Cowboys vs. Native Americans debate about who had a right to the land in the American West. In science, we had our first three-hour lab, in which we dug 100 cm x 100 cm snow pits and analyzed factors of the snow pack such as snow/water equivalency, temperature, and crystal type. After analyzing results, we turned in our first group lab report. All in all, classes have been running smoothly, and we’ve been adjusting well to our transition back into the front country, though we most definitely miss the amazing canyon views and sunny desert weather. We can’t complain too much though, it’s been mild and sunny here in Leadville, too (sorry East Coast moms, dads, and siblings!).

The food here is great, and cooking is fun. For every meal a group of students go into the kitchen for an hour and a half to cook for all of HMI. Foods that have been made so far are muffins, lentil soup, eggs, squash spaghetti, and cake. Cook crews work with a teacher and apprentice to cook the meal, and dance parties have become a mandatory part of this process! We also have activity periods, where a teacher or apprentice leads a fun activity. Sledding, knitting, baking, bread making, ice skating, Twister, and cross country skiing are just some of the activities that students partake in.

On Sunday, after some much needed time to sleep in, the entire HMI community embarked on a journey to Ski Cooper in order to hone our telemark skiing skills in preparation for our upcoming expedition. We divided into groups based on proficiency and were paired with a team of faculty and apprentices to guide us. The skiing “curriculum” ranged from how to fall and get up out of powdery snow to how to link telemark turns (free the heel, drop the knee!). We had a nice wake up call at Cooper Hill, our super fun local hill, when it began to snow heavily! Sunday served as a great teaser for ski week, which begins here soon, and the entire community is excited to go shred some gnar!

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