Semester 43: Project Day, Self-Care Saturday, & Preparing for Expedition

Written by: Ryan, Veerle, Spencer

Greetings from HMI! Life up at 10,200 feet in the heart of the Rocky Mountains is wonderful. We recently had a four mile run down to the National Fish Hatchery and back, along beautiful County Road 5A, as we are slowly building up mileage until our 10 mile Fun Run. Over the weekend, we had classes followed by free time and a woodchopping rotation, then we went to town. The town of Leadville is beautiful during the fall. Popular places along the main street are City on a Hill (a café), Leadville Outdoors, Melanzana (a local clothes maker), and the thrift stores. We had a “self care Saturday” in order for our bodies to rest before the second expedition. This involved playing board games, making friendship bracelets, hanging out with friends and going to bed early if needed! Then we had Sacred Sunday and enjoyed free time until dinner where we could do whatever we needed, such as homework, going for a bike ride with friends, practicing climbing in the climbing hall, or the more mundane activities like doing our laundry. Early this morning, we saw the sunrise over the Sawatch range and it reminds us how grateful we are to be here. This place is truly magical, and we have made life long friendships and memories that we’ll never forget.

Project Day is a day for all of the students and faculty to pitch in and help maintain a strong and centralized community by working on various projects around campus. The activities included staining the cabins and Stuen Hall to preserve them through the cold winter, building rock walls, swapping out summer tools for winter tools, and many more. Morning classes were put on hold until Thursday, in order to devote the morning to our projects. Equipped with music and friends, the hours flew by and it was soon time to return to the normal class schedule, finishing our studies before we embark yet again on another expedition!

Academics at HMI are in full swing at this point in the semester. All classes have broken past the barrier of precedent-setting and students have adopted a new, more comfortable relationship with each other and with teachers both in and out of the classroom. Such is one of the factors of experiential learning which benefits long-term understanding on the part of the students. A recent history class ended in our outdoor classroom with questions around the intricacies of Native American interaction with early New England colonists. A class of this nature is one that can truly only exist within the small class size and coexistence with the teachers. Learning, therefore, becomes not a one-sided lecture, but a group discussion-style class facilitated by teachers. Classwork and work completed out of class is usually a holistic view on the subject, such as group lab reports in science or presentations and discussions on poetry in english. All in all, academics at HMI are going well this week.