Summer Term 2017: “Another amazing week at HMI”

This week at HMI we studied Leadville’s comprehensive mining history and the effects that this had on the the town’s culture. For humanities we visited the mining museum and an abandoned mine in preparation for a debate surrounding Leadville’s mining future. For the peer-run debate we were split into four groups: miners, farmers, consumers, and environmentalists. This conversation continued in science class where we traveled to a variety of different water sources to compare water upstream and downstream from mine drainage sites. We examined macro invertebrates, oxygen content, conductivity, and pH levels. We then split into groups to present on our data.

Throughout the week we participated in either fly fishing or rock climbing during activity periods. The rock climbers scaled vertical rock faces, learning to belay each other and ascend to new heights both literally and figuratively using the five steps of leadership we learned in P&P. The fly fishing group was given an amazing lesson by Grace who taught them the basics of pole set-up and casting. We hiked to Timberline Lake and on the Outward Bound campus where both fish and trees were caught as we practiced.

On Friday night we held a carnival competition on campus. There were rubber ducky races, gaga ball games, wheelbarrow races, whipped cream and cookie challenges, and improvisational competitions. As a prize, we chose three faculty members, Libbey, Gavin, and Dave, to get pied in the face.

On Saturday we all piled on buses and headed to the Arkansas River to go whitewater rafting. The students and instructors split into raft groups and were taught the commands and techniques of paddling in whitewater. Throughout the trip we passed beautiful rock formations and scenery. Many students and faculty went swimming in the rapids—most of them on purpose. The groups stopped together for a great lunch on edge of the water and a bunch of us had fun wading in the river. After lunch the raft groups tackled even more intense rapids. We even had to pull over to scout forthcoming rough water. The day was topped off with some prime sea shanties sung by Ian and watermelon at the end of the journey.

Upon returning from whitewater rafting, many students played a game of football, utilizing a very impressive playbook organized by Emma. The evening activity was a bonfire that featured the musical talent of HMI students and Joe’s bow-drill fire making skills. The night continued with more pickup football, singing, tight-rope walking, and tug of war.

On Sunday we were given the choice between summiting Mt. Sherman, a local fourteener, or taking a trip to the farmers’ market in Vail. The hikers were led by Dylan and Gavin and enjoyed sparkling cider and donuts on the top of the mountain. The hike took about four hours and the group hung out in the town of Leadville afterwards. According to Chloe, it was a beautiful day “filled with a lot of laughs and good conversation.” The farmers’ market group also had a blast exploring the shops and stands in downtown Vail. They enjoyed amazing food and pet lots of adorable dogs, none of which were as cute as Noah’s dog Ralph.

All in all, this was another amazing week at HMI.

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