We were very pleased to welcome the students of Semester 45 to campus on Monday, August 17th. After four days of orientation and wilderness preparation, students departed on their 16-day First Expedition on Thursday, August 20th.
Prior to the semester start, all 49 students quarantined for two weeks and received a negative COVID-19 test result. Upon arrival to HMI students were immediately separated into expedition cohorts of 9-10 students each. Every student and wilderness instructor was COVID tested on day one–the results of which have all since come back negative. Students will receive a second COVID test approximately halfway through their expedition.
Students spent almost no time indoors during their first four days on campus. Students slept in tents, learned their introductory wilderness skills, and ate their meals outside. The general sentiment was one of excitement with a healthy dose of nerves mixed in. After a spring defined by online school and a summer with few organized youth activities, HMI students were elated to once again be on a school campus preparing for a group adventure.
On Thursday morning, the five expedition groups departed to their various starting points across the Sawatch and Collegiate ranges of the Colorado Rockies. While HMI backpacking expeditions will be somewhat transformed under COVID protocols–mask wearing and physical distancing will be required much of the time–we are confident the student experience will be as powerful as ever.