Saturday, March 14, 2015

Wednesday: Hiking to Ethan Pond Shelter

We woke up Wednesday on Burleigh and headed north. Anticipation was high and we were ready to hit the trails. It took us a while to sort out snowshoes at the trail head, but with a wave to Mr. Leung who dropped us off, we turned our backs on school and phone service and went happily into the trees.

The terrain was relatively manageable on that first real hike; still, it was an adjustment to use the snowshoes. We quickly came to appreciate them when tramping off trail and realizing without the snowshoes, we'd be in up to our hips. Little did we know what lay ahead...

But for now, we were enjoying the journey. Students were quick to observe the ways in which time passes differently when you are on the trail - hiking a mile is different than walking or driving one, especially when all you have is your imagination to keep you entertained. Conversations ranged from body building, thanks to the Con(n)ors, to past lives to re-quoting full movies.

We pulled into Ethan Pond shelter mid-afternoon. Kayla went over the Leave No Trace principles before we set up camp, which really helped to impress on us how special it was to be where we were. As a group we became more aware of our surroundings throughout the week and how little we matter out there; it's all about the nature.

Packing down tent sites was much different off Burleigh; the snow was easily two feet deeper up there, which we fully understood once we realized we were standing on the bear boxes. We were able to dig out the vestibules of the tents, so there was a nice area to stand up to take off boots before scrambling into the tent. That night it snowed about 3 inches and we woke up to the tent flies bowed with the powder. We shook off the snow and our sleep and got ready to make breakfast.

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