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Orientation and Climbing at J Tree
We arrived at Ontario Airport almost two weeks ago. We then traveled to Mission Creek Preserve where we had orientation and our first two days of classes. After learning about the finer details of packing a backpack we hiked a few miles to the Whitewater River where we learned how to set up tarps and strike camp. Next we split up into cook groups and practiced cooking for the first time on dragonfly stoves. Our planned 8 miles of off-path hiking the following day turned about to be over 10 miles as we ended up zig-zagging our way across the desert landscape. Midday we arrived at an oasis, in time to have lunch, fill up on clean water and have group dynamics class. We were all tired after our second day of hiking but, were excited to arrive back at the bus the next morning. After re-packing the trailer, we said our farewells to Chris and continued our adventure to Joshua Tree National Park to go rock climbing.
Joshua Tree National Park is a page straight out of a Dr. Suess book. The yucca plants have adapted to the high altitude with an odd growth pattern that causes them to develop into trees. The plants that inspired the Truffula Trees from The Lorax form surreal desert forests between mountains of granite. After a long day of transitioning, we set up camp and got some well-deserved rest. The next day, we awoke, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to climb the rocks we had heard so much about. We met our climbing instructor, Nate, and after some ground school, attempted to climb. Despite our scattered backgrounds in the sport, everyone was really looking forward to giving it their all. The next four days were filled with some incredibly gratifying and challenging rock climbing, as well as a peppering of classes. By the end of the four days, everyone had advanced as climbers, and we were all satisfyingly exhausted.
We all look forward to showering, grocery shopping and doing laundry tomorrow, as we have generally started to smell a bit. We have all enjoyed these first adventures and look forward to our canoe trip in Black Canyon on the Colorado River that is coming up in the next few days. This has been a time of adaptation for all of us but, we are starting to figure everything out. Looking forward, everyone is excited for what this trip holds, and it can only get better from here.
Located in Andover, NH, Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 9–12. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.