Semester 35: Fun Run, Expedition Prep, and Human Ecology Projects!

This week has been very busy academically in preparation to leave for essentially three weeks (third expedition closely followed by Thanksgiving break!). Jacob’s history classes recently finished essays about the Revolutionary period last week—helped exponentially by Jacob’s periodic serenading with his own historical lyrical genius: songs such as “It’s All Over Now, For Me and You (A National Republican’s lament in response to Andrew Jackson to the tune “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”) and “Prove it To Ya” (A Proslavery argument set to the tune of “Hallelujah”). For English class, essays on Ceremony are due soon, dealing with the issue of the current situation of native peoples, told through the eyes of Tayo, the protagonist, attempting to recover his spiritual roots after his experience in the Second World War. With op-eds on immigration in Spanish, and the usual daily assessments in math, this week has been truly busy. On top of all of this work, students have been working hard on their Human Ecology projects, polishing them to present in front of a board comprised of Leadville city council figures, and local residents. Groups, for the past month, have been interviewing community members, conducting scientific studies, and researching the history of this city in order to propose a comprehensive plan to better this community. Presentations happened today and spanned a great breadth of ideas: from extending the race series to skijoring, food trucks and limestone waterparks, students surely were creative. There was great reception by the board, and a few of the ideas even possibly being implemented

This week, the campus of HMI has been alive with bittersweet excitement for our third expedition. We are looking forward to spending twelve days together in the canyons of Utah, but we are already getting nostalgic for our time here at HMI. It is dawning on us that there is not very much time left in our semester, and we are all cherishing each moment of this incredible experience together. Third expedition is going to be the challenge that we all need as it will push us to self-sufficiency, or rather group-sufficiency, without the constant presence of the instructors. We are all eager for this challenge and awaiting our departure with anticipation. I know that third expedition will personally be a time of growth for our Student Expedition Leaders as they are responsible for marking our travel route, campsites, available water, etc. on our map sets. We have been surprised to see that the terrain of the canyons in Utah is so much different than the mountains we are used to. The aspect that has stood out the most over this pre-expedition process has been our expedition meetings. It is difficult to articulate in words the incredible energy and love the expedition groups foster for one another. We cannot wait until we hit the trail. This will truly be an amazing expedition.

This past Sunday, almost all the students and most of the faculty completed the 10 mile Fun Run. With the gun going off at 10am, at 10,000 feet, and with 10 miles ahead of us, we ran. The first miles felt like a breeze, easy downhill with the sun warming our backs. With three aid stations waiting to give us Kool-Aid and Snickers, it seemed that we’d have more than enough energy until the 6 mile mark. Throughout the semester, the most we had run for AMX was 6 miles, so 4 more didn’t seem like too much of a challenge. But it was. By mile 6, our thighs and calves were so sore that the motivation of our peers, teachers, and apprentices was the only thing that kept us going. Spotting the HMI sign on mile 10 put the biggest smile on everyone’s face. Watching Semester 35 finish this monstrous achievement was extremely satisfying, and a highlight was when Ian crossed the finish line wearing a one piece puffy ski suit. Jugs of chocolate milk awaited us as we finished, and a much needed Jacuzzi at the aquatic center made our muscles feel a little less on fire than they were. All in all, the Fun Run was a culmination of our exercise and we can’t wait to run 10 miles back at sea level.

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