Gap: Weathering The Storm

S Trek 1’s Winter Trip Blog!

Written by Claire and Ben, STrek 1

After about a week of front country living, we were all itching to get outside again. As we embarked on the winter expedition, we learned to pack sleds, make water from snow, dig a winter kitchen, and take care of ourselves and the group in a cold environment. The first half of the trip was a test of our group’s grit as we had late nights cooking and digging snow caves in the unrelenting wind. Many were challenged mentally, emotionally, and physically but our community rallied in challenging times and supported each other. Out of all the expeditions, I feel an extreme sense of pride and satisfaction looking back at the individual and group growth that took place. The second half of the trip we happened upon the HMI high school semesters’ old camp spot and we used their old quigloos. We spent days lounging in the sun, reading and journaling, laughing, and ski touring. Almost every night we came to our fire circle for campfire and evening meeting. By the end of the expedition, living in the snow didn’t feel much easier but we learned to embrace the challenge and vulnerability as our community came together. 

That was Claire, she’s a far better writer than I am, but I’ll quit dilly-dallying and get into the juicy parts. In short, the winter trip was hard: It was cold, windy, and a terrible snowpack for living and skiing. Our day and night at 12,200 feet was taxing and pushed many far out of their comfort zone. I could go into more detail about how this trip was hard, but that would mean I’m ignoring the absolute beauty of the landscape. The Rockies towered across the valley from us, and that is not a view that anyone complained about. The sunlight shining through the pines at dawn and dusk created a shade of golden-green that illuminated the campsite as we sat around our campfire. Sorry for only talking about the landscape– but I’m a sucker for a good view. Anyways, I’ll give some trip highlights. As Claire already said, we were lucky enough to find and sleep in quigloos built by the semester program. A discovery and decision that made all of us much happier after 4 days of cold, wind, and shoveling. As for other things, we attempted to play spikeball (falling through the snow made that a bit challenging), there was a scavenger hunt organized by our wonderful instructors, we went on a sunset tour, had a “snowtoshoot”, and no one wrapped themselves around a tree while skiing! A very fun trip, the end.