Written by: Cate, Mia, Juliet, Maryam, and Sophia
Morning Exercise (AMX): AMX kicked off at HMI last weekend, September 5th-6th with two optional runs. The students of HMI got used to the roads with some lovely runs to Beaver Ponds, the two-mile route. Then, on Monday the 7th, we started off the usual AMX schedule with a two-mile time trial. All students successfully completed the two miles and most surprised themselves with their acclimation to the altitude. On Tuesday, several students participated in an optional ab-workout AMX with Liz (humanities faculty). On Wednesday, students set out on their first snowy run! It snowed almost a foot the night before, and everyone had fun jogging to Beaver Ponds, in hopes of avoiding the icy patches. The snow was absolutely beautiful, and it was amazing seeing the sun rising above the snowy mountains. Wednesday’s run was an absolute joy, and all students were feeling very thankful for their surroundings. On Friday, much of the snow had melted, and the sun came out for another Beaver Pond run. At this point, students were getting used to the running routine, and got out nice and early to win the shower race. It was another lovely run, with an abundance of appreciation from all students. Overall, the first week of AMX at HMI was a success, and all students truly enjoyed the early morning-run experience!
Cabin Life: This past week at HMI cabin life has been eventful. Students are getting snug and learning how to chop the wood that heats the wood-burning fireplaces. After almost 20 nights of sleeping on the ground, with sheets of Tyvek as the replacement to a mattress, coming back to campus after exped and getting to sleep in beds, with actual blankets, has been a treat semester 45. Students even got to do some deep cleaning after a week from being back from the expedition, and all cabins passed this inspection! Though it has only been a week, there have been some eventful instances in cabin life. Cabin 4 in particular had some unrivaled quarks. To start, the ash bucket set the smoke alarm off, herein forcing the doors to remain open for the duration of the afternoon, where (unbeknownst to cabin 4 members) a furry friend snuck in! That night, there was a bit of a chase when members of cabin 4 found this mouse. It took some time before it ran outside. Needless to say, the adrenaline was high during the day and that night to follow, and Cabin 4 has since recovered. All in all, cabin time is a constant party.
Academics: After months of not being in a face-to-face classroom setting, students were all nervous but excited for classes to start last Monday. They did not disappoint! The style of classes are different from what most students experience compared to sending schools, but students agreed it felt very refreshing to be learning in these new ways. For example, in math class, the first thing students were instructed to do was to take all of the chairs out of the classroom and pile them into the hallway – this kicked off the still-continuing tradition of “standing math class,” in which students worked in small groups, using whiteboards to find patterns and answer intriguing questions. In science, classes began with a trust-building exercise, in which students had to guide a blindfolded and shoeless partner through the bus barn. The catch: the floor was covered with random objects, including mouse traps! Fortunately, all made it through without losing any toes! Other academic highlights have included discussions about the prejudices that occur when one studies history, learning about various backgrounds via “soy de” poems and presentations in Spanish class, analyzing (and struggling to refrain from analyzing) poetry in English, and preparing for a debate about factory farming in Practices and Principles: Ethics of the Natural World. Though students are all swamped with homework and readings, semester 45 agrees it feels good to be learning in such an interesting environment, and students are all thankful to be on campus in person!
Saturday: The night started off with a scenic bus ride up to Turquoise Lake. The windows were filled with views of Mount Massive and Mount Elbert covered in snow and the seats filled by songs. At Turquoise Lake, students sat on the sand playing uno and listened to stories of first expedition and home, with the casual interruption by a football. Intense games of faculty-student spike ball took place with a warm grill nearby. After a night of playing countless games, students all gathered in line for turkey/beyond burgers, salad, and the HMI specialty; Frito chips. Students sat in crazy creeks and hammocks and discussed theories of multi universes. After fulfilling hunger and science needs, students continued the spike ball tournament and soccer volleyball game. All gathered once more for smores under the stars, scouting out sticks and the best way to roast a marshmallow (some found that the marshmallow must be slightly burned to have a crunchy outer and melty inner). S’more filled laughs were interrupted at the scene of a few brave souls wading in the water. After s’mores students headed to the shore to talk of the cold water and the incredible sight of dusk in Leadville. This time of day soon required puffy layers, the waders especially were in need of the extra warmth. Finally, students headed back to the buses. The short bus ride back to campus was filled with rap and freestyling by Rory, Aden, and Jeremy. On-campus, all gathered for movies and guitar playing, with a special performance from Cabin 7 (they wrote a beautiful song for Hayden, the cabin Inspection Queen, in hopes of bribing her and winning cabin checks but, alas, Cabin 3, unsurprisingly took gold). The night ended with laying on the floor of the Barnes Building Back Porch, stargazing and singing Brazil by Declan Mckenna.
Sunday: At HMI students don’t have weekends, they have Sundays. Since school classes run through Saturday, Sunday’s are anticipated much like Saturdays were in pre-HMI life. Sundays are brunch days, so aside from a few early risers, everyone sleeps in until 10am. This past Sunday, brunch was french toast with peaches and cream, a semester favorite so far. The breakfast line was never-ending as people came back for seconds and thirds. At 11am students grabbed hammocks, chairs, water bottles, books, and art supplies for the two-hour, outdoor solo time. Students were led into the woods at the back of campus and given an area of the woods to occupy from 11-1pm for the weekly designated “sacred Sunday solo-time.” The sounds of farm animals from the nearby ranch carried over to give a periodic chorus of braying and mooing. In the backdrop snow-covered Mt. Massive sat majestically despite the hee-haw of a donkey. Sunday afternoons always have an optional activity, and this past students made a plan to go to Turquoise lake to “extreme-sport wade.” With the recent snow fresh in everyone’s minds students were anxious to get some swimming in before the cold weather sets in for good. At Turquoise lake, students turned up a speaker and played early 2000’s, Abba, Taylor Swift, pop, and classic rock. During this time, students swam, played frisbee and basked in the sun for the afternoon, talking of their lives at home, their friends both at home and on campus. At 4:15pm students departed for campus, (a one-mile walk or a ten-minute drive on the roads) where they dispersed for cook crew, showers, laundry and other individual activities. One group went to the library to finish watching a horror movie. At 6pm a faculty member called students to dinner where they feasted on quinoa salad, chicken, and pasta. After dinner, there was a two-hour study hall in which all whined about a reading packet due on Tuesday. This stress however leads to lots of laughter later on and all left for cabins at 9:15pm in good spirits.