A Great Weekend of Leader Training!

I do not believe that I could have found a more productive way to spend last weekend than attending the Leader Level I training that the ORC hosted.

First off, it not only encouraged me to get an early start to the weekend days, but upon completion of Level I training, many doors opened for potential leadership experiences with the ORC… a fun weekend, and well worth it.

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A cold leader training trip on Mt. Massive. Photo: Ben Varick ’13

After tons of energizing (but also more reflective and serious) ice-breakers, the leaders and the trainees began to mesh. This group cohesiveness made possible the successful and impactful training experiences that ensued. Following a day and a half of reviewing important leadership responsibilities, procedures, (and of course the Leave No Trace principles!), we trainees graduated to become Level I leaders.

Not only were we equipped with an understanding of our practical responsibilities when leading a trip—Additionally, it was emphasized in training that one of our biggest responsibilities is to diffuse an appreciation and understanding of the outdoors throughout the CC student body…especially to those without many (or any) outdoor experiences…

Evidently, the ORC has undergone some major changes in recent years for the purpose of making it a more “inclusive” club…To a person just beginning to explore what the great outdoors has to offer, I imagine that the intensity and tremendous amount of experience of their outdoorsy peers can be a little overwhelming, to say the least…This may even deter people from wanting to participate in the ORC’s activities, for fear of being the only “newbie” in the group…

As we talked about this at training, it occurred to me what a significant responsibility it is to help make the outdoors accessible to everyone who wishes to partake. Yes, I learned much about practical leadership and outdoors skills from my experience last weekend. Perhaps even more importantly, through training I realized how exciting it is to be able to evolve with the ORC as a leader as it strives to fulfill its goal of enthusing other CC students (old and new, alike) with a similar passion for the outdoors.

Written by: Taylor Schwabe ’16

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Westwater Canyon Rafting and Kayaking

1 Block Break, 1 Canyon, 1 Pumpkin, 24 Students

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Deep in Westwater Canyon with only one direction to go. Photo by Jamie Sarafan ’16

          Westwater canyon of the Colorado River is a deep, dark-rocked canyon swallowed by towering walls of desert sandstone – all about an hour this side of Moab. This past block break, 24 students: five leaders and 19 participants descended into this amazing place for three days of rafting and kayaking. This trip is one of the oldest ORC-sponsored trips still happening at this school, and I’m sure that any of the 24 people who participated in the last one could tell you why. Westwater provides, at least in my opinion, the ideal Block Break adventure. First off, it is relatively close (5½ hours from CC) compared to some of the other places that people have been know to travel for four days. Coupled with its proximity, is the amazing beauty and excitement contained within it, and the ability to help erase the mental schedule that becomes so engrained in one’s head over the course of a block.

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Cap’t Punk’n amongst the gear. Photo by Jamie Sarafan

This trip consisted of four rafts, six kayaks, and one plastic pumpkin and was characterized by relaxing floats, exciting whitewater, painted nails, the occasional cold feet, and great food. I overheard one person on the trip state “why would I ever backpack, when I could raft instead?” And I couldn’t help but agree! Especially after a stressful block, I find it great to sit back and relax while the river does the work for me. Not to mention, your gear potential goes through the roof. That is to say, rafts have enough room for that extra warm sleeping bag and the cast-iron dutch oven! What’s not to love about that?

As a graduating senior this year, I hope that this trip continues into the future. Fortunately, we have a strong contingent of experienced river-oriented students at this school right now in all classes, so the future of the “River Program” looks promising! Be on the lookout for more Outdoor Ed river trips in the future, and be sure to come by the pool on Monday nights (8:00-9:30) for kayak roll sessions!

See you on the river (or in the pool).

Mike Curran ‘13

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Nothing like campin on the beach! Photo by Ben Varick ’13

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Flair in the Foliage: Biking to Aspen

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Photo: Kalen Acquisto

      Dressed in tutus, spandex, and colorful attire, we forged our way up Independence pass, dispersed like strands of Christmas tree lights along the winding switchbacks. Propelled by tunes from a jammy-pack, the comradely of friends, and sheer determination, I still had to take the advice of the words “shut up, legs!” spray-painted on the highway. It was the third and final day of the Aspen bike trip, arguably the most challenging stretch of the 160-mile journey over independence pass.  But remembering “the little engine that could,” I powered through and was greeted by a host of festive students at the summit.  The descent down was worth every moment of the climb: twenty miles of pure cruising through the aspen dappled mountainsides.  It was the greatest feeling, almost like flying.

       Each fall, roughly 50 CC students embark on the Aspen Bike trip, one of the quintessential block break traditions. Accompanied by enthusiastic support vans, the trip is split into three days of biking, with the group arriving in Aspen early Friday afternoon. The trip is open to bikers of all levels, including talented members of CC cycling team and those who, like myself, figure out the gears in the parking lot or try clip-in peddles for the first time en route.  That is one of the beauties of the trip- it is a coming together of grades, interests, and experiences united in the pursuit of getting to Aspen on our own will power. After long days of biking, we ate well-deserved feasts around the campfire, sang songs accompanied by fiddle music, repaired flat tires, gave each other massages, and broke it down with box truck dance parties.

Upon arriving in Aspen, people dispersed for the next couple of days to explore downtown, shop at the local farmers market, lounge by the pool, hike in the Maroon Bells, or even bike some more! The leaves were in their full fall glory, signaling the true arrival of fall.  As it turns out, Aspen is the lesser-known safari of the west: an added element of excitement was the many bears climbing trees and walking through front yards in the middle of town. I saw seven in one day!

It is fair to say that fun was had by all, and the Aspen bike trip of 2012 will certainly go down as a block break to remember for all those who participated.

-Roz Brokaw

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Photo: Roz Brokaw

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Propane and Some

With only 15 days until Priddy Trips depart, the NSO interns are hard at work stocking up on supplies.

We MAY have gotten some looks wheeling three carts full of propane out of the store.

Hopefully there will be plenty of gas on the trips!

GO NSO!

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Tent Check!

The NSO interns take a break from the office to test out the tents for the upcoming Priddy trips!

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So when you’re lying comfortably in your leak and hole proof tent this August… you know who to think of!

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A Ritt Trip Write-Up: Four CC Women Take on Wyoming!

At the end of school, Meredith Bird, Lucy Gamble, Haley Leslie-Bole and I
drove up to Jackson, Wyoming to start our backpacking adventure in the Teton-
Bridger Wilderness. Our initial destination was Bridger Lake, the most remote lake
in the continental United States. Heading out in late May was a bit early for the area
but we decided to set out and hike in as far as we could.

After packing our bear cans with 12 days of food, and lots of warm clothes we
headed north following Lava Creek. As we bushwhacked through deadfall brush and
climbed steep slopes, we sang many songs and laughed a lot. After a couple days we
reached the Lava Creek Trail. This trail led us through pristine alpine meadows and
dense forests. Along the way we stopped many times to appreciate the humbling
views of the Grand Teton. We crossed paths with moose, elk and tons of birds. After
five days of sunshine, the weather changed and snowflakes began to fly. Although
we were prepared for cold and snowy weather, a local weather report forecasted a
storm of 15 inches of snow. With this news, we made the difficult decision to hike
out early. Days later we found out that this storm dumped nearly three feet in this
area.

One of the most exciting moments of the trip was stumbling upon a mother
grizzly bear with two cubs less than 100 yards away. With hearts beating quickly
and bear spray ready, we clapped our hands and sang “Wagon Wheel” at the top of
our lungs. Fortunately, the mother bear quickly ran away with her cubs following
close behind.

We are incredibly grateful to the Kellogg family who made it possible for
us to spend a week in this beautiful land. Although our trip was cut short, our
memories of following fresh bear tracks and falling asleep before dark will stay with
us forever.

- Fiona Haslett

       

For more information on CC’s Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund including past expeditions and criteria for applying visit:

http://www.coloradocollege.edu/other/rittkelloggfund/

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Down The Colorado: CC alumni take to the river!

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Check out this sweet blog which follows four CC Alumni beginning at the headwaters of the upper Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park and heading downstream for at least two months!

The trip is one aspect of the Colorado College’s 2012-13 State of the Rockies Project.  The four adventurers hope to make the voices of various stakeholders and “river experts” heard, as well as providing a virtual tour of the Colorado River through narratives, photographs, videos, and scientific research

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