We are in the midst of our second full week of classes! In US History we discussed American identity and American exceptionalism and how it applies to our view of history. It was an intense talk that led us to draw conclusions on our own viewpoints and think critically about historical analysis. In Spanish, we discussed how globalization and the North American Free Trade Agreement impacts the US as well as Latin America. In math we used trigonometric functions to determine the elevation of the mountains surrounding HMI. And in science, we went in the river! We took samples from the Arkansas River and counted the number of macroinvertabrates (a fancy word for little bugs that live in water), and we are in the process of writing a lab report on our findings. In English, we discussed A River Runs Through It and the stuggles of sibling relationships. It’s been a week of heavy themes and challenging problems, but we manage to keep things light and fun with themed dress days (‘Merica Monday and Wacky Wednesday), and plenty of laughs with our teachers and friends.
This weekend was the first weekend we’ve had where we were not preparing for or cleaning up after an expedition. Saturday definitely encompassed the bulk of the weekend activities, with highlights including our first trip to town and our talent show (called the Coffee House). For the town trip, we were divided into four groups and each group was shuttled into town separately via an HMI short bus. In town there was far too much to do in the hour we were given. The three thrift shops were frequently visited, and you could always tell if someone had been there based off the funky clothing they’d wear afterwards. Going out for food was also an extremely popular choice. The bakery Cookies With Altitude and the coffee shop City on a Hill offered a fantastic change of scenery. Several people also went to the High Mountain Pies pizza place to split a delicious margarita pizza.
After dinner that night, we hosted our first Coffee House, a talent show students had been preparing for all week. The Coffee House included a giant variety of talents and lack thereof, particularly several singing and guitar performances. The climax of the show was a presentation put on by the boys of Cabin 2. To this day we are not sure exactly what happened, but it involved all of the lights going out, the cabin 2 dudes marching out with headlamps set on strobe, and a rendition of “I Will Walk Five Hundred Miles” belted out as loudly as possible. All in all it was an extremely successful and enjoyable Saturday, and we are sure that all of the cabins are now planning to outdo Cabin 2 in the next Coffee House.
On Sunday we all got to sleep in and then had the choice to either go on a historic train ride around Leadville or go rock climbing on the cliffs above Turquoise Lake. Many people who selected rock climbing had never done it outside before and had so much fun. We got to try and scale three different routes while being belayed and then got to fool around with bouldering on some smaller faces. Elliot, Cooper, Max and Sam O. all completed the no hands bouldering challenge by climbing to the top of a rock using only their feet. For the rest of the day we had free time to do homework, relax, go for a run, play knock out, or have a dance party at the hammocks. Many students will agree that one of their favorite things about free time at HMI is that someone is always playing music, strumming a guitar or bursting out into random song, and there is never a dull moment on campus.
This Wednesday morning was our first session of electivities. Electivities are an hour and a half block every week where we participate in different activities run by the faculty. There are multiple choices for the students that include Readiculous Readers, Waster Warriors, designing a cob oven, Dylan and donuts, insanity meditation, River Watchers, and leather book making. Those who participated in Readiculous Readers went into Lake County Middle School and helped different aged children better understand their readings. The Waste Warriors started their session out by visiting the town recycling center and preparing the lesson that they will teach to first graders next week. The cob oven group took a bus over to some old mines hoping to find some bricks to build their oven. Once it is built, they will make some pizza! All those who felt like chilling hung out and ate delicious donuts while listening to Bob Dylan. The insanity meditation crew thought some deep thoughts and then pushed their bodies to the limits. The River Watchers went galloping down to the river where they collected some nice fresh water and did tests to see how the water was doing. Lastly, there was a group of kids that have started to create their own leather books, where they will be able to write down all their lovely thoughts that HMI fills us with. In about four weeks, many of the students here will change electivities and move onto a new experience full of excitement, learning, fun, and food!