This is Chris Farrell, Mountain Classroom adjunct extraordinaire. I just returned from a wonderful visit with this spring’s Mountain group in the Mission Creek Preserve (Southern California, just west of Joshua Tree National Park) and wanted to give you all an update on the wonderful start to the term they allowed me to partake in.
While the first few days were devoted to logistics, classes and an overwhelming number of new systems to learn, the excitement was palpable. I was impressed to see how engaged everyone was with their new academic courses and how eager they were to begin their jobs and learn everything they could.
After three short days, the group of Vinny, Frances, Mark, Kat, Sam, Sawyer, Alex, Fallon, Greer and Zach were ready to embark on a journey into the desert. With all we needed on our backs, we took off for two nights in the backcountry, camping next to the Whitewater River (or rather the Whitewater trickle thanks to the current drought in California).
During our time, the students were introduced to an ecosystem that was as foreign to most as is the moon. Cholla, yucca, prickly pear, horny toads, desert hares, 85° temperatures and strong winds. Not quite the New England forests that they had all become accustomed to over the past few years here at Proctor.
Throughout the week there was an abundance of laughter and smiles. It truly is an amazing experience to be a part of a group that is so dedicated to each other and the program and to see how much fun everyone was having. It was hard to leave and I really look forward to seeing them all again in Santa Fe.
I am pleased to report that all are happy, healthy and well. Thinking of them climbing in Joshua Tree puts a big grin on my face and I am sure you will be seeing pictures of those red granite faces as soon as logistics allow.
To speak for all of the members of this group: Thank you. They are having an experience of a lifetime and they are all aware of those who make it possible for them. Thank you mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, Patty Pond, Peter, Crescent and Proctor Academy. Your support made this happen and they are taking full advantage of their opportunity. You’re the best!
You can check out some bigger pictures on the Mountain Classroom Facebook page (I apologize in advance, these are just the ones I took with my phone! They will surely have better ones coming):