Upon arrival back to HMI, it has been non-stop fun. Reuniting as 28 students again was seamless despite being on our own adventures for ten days. We were all eager to share our experiences and hear stories from other groups.
As students, we dove in into our classes. We developed a strong sense of place by interviewing people in Leadville and volunteering at the community garden during humanities class. In science class, we participated in the biodiversity challenge where teams identified as many as 40 wildlife species around HMI. We explored the Leadville mining museum and old mining sites. Our studies culminated with a group debate where groups of us represented different stakeholders in Leadville and discussed the effects and implications of opening a new mine. Outside of the classroom time was spent running, biking, bouldering, baking, and playing games. We also had the opportunity to rock climb and fly fish; both activities are a great way to enjoy being outdoors. We also enjoyed visits to town where several Melanzana fleeces, ice cream cones, and burgers were purchased. Rafting down the Arkansas River was also a blast. Another highlight was the talent show. Performances consisted of singing in Chinese, group dances, dramatic readings, and other entertaining acts. However, the talent show would not have been complete without caramel popcorn and the dance party that followed.
Before embarking on our second expedition, feelings are bittersweet. We are looking forward to making new bonds in the backcountry and embracing the wilderness, but are sad to leave friends and a place we call home. It will be hard to leave, but everyone is prepared and ready to make the most of the experiences that await. Fourteeners’ are waiting to be climbed, the stars are longing to be gazed at, and memories are dying to be made.