When we first got to HMI, we were nervous about meeting the people that we would be spending the next five weeks with. But, after a few hours, we really got to know each other. A long day of travel and being at 10,200 feet didn’t stop us from meeting the kids and the interns. They were all very nice, respectful, and outgoing. At home, we all have friends who interact with us while checking their status updates on Facebook, staring at Twitter, or taking weird “selfies” of themselves on Snapchat. At HMI, things are different. We are learning that there are many other ways to make friends, including open communication, sharing common interests, and working together to achieve a common goal. We think that out of all of the other summer activities that are happening throughout the world, HMI is the place to be!
After settling in, we began to gather together as a group to learn about life here at HMI and the beautiful (and still snow covered!) Rocky Mountains. We started off with rules, rules, and more rules. Actually, there were only nine big rules, but it was good to get a long and solid understanding of them now, so hopefully, we won’t have to revisit them later. We also met as an entire community of students, teachers, and interns to develop our expectations for summer term—and things are looking great! Next, we moved on to CLASSES! Between Practices and Principles and Sense of Place, we look forward to having a busy schedule and learning about the world around us during both our time in the wilderness and our time on campus. We are all super excited!
On Thursday night, we joined together as a community around the fire circle with our teacher Sam. We were asked to think about our expectations and perceptions of HMIbefore our arrival at HMI. With scribbles detailing these expectations, the first pieces of paper were placed in a straw hat and passed around the circle. We then took a second piece of paper and wrote down our fears about coming to HMI. These papers were all placed in a second hat. Afterwards, the first hat was passed around and each person removed someone else’s paper regarding expectations. Each paper was read and then placed in the burning fire. We did the same thing with the papers about our fears. Our fears and expectations burned in the fire, giving all of us a clean slate. We then toasted marshmallows over the fire and enjoyed our s’mores with a brand new outlook on our following weeks at HMI.
As the first few days flew by, we eagerly awaited our first expedition. We hauled our gear from our cabins for our leaders to inspect. The equipment we didn’t have we then rented from the Gear Room. Backpacks, pants and jackets littered the floor as we rushed around in search for the equipment that would become our best friends for the next eight days. We then learned how to pack our equipment so that it would take up as little space as possible in our backpacks. Our expedition leaders taught us about each of our tools and how to use them successfully and safely. We then used our math skills to measure out appropriate amounts of food for that will feed us and our tent-mates for the next eight days. We separated our food into special food packs that we will store at least 200 yards away from our campsite in case there are animals around. It is safe to say that we are prepared for our expedition into the backcountry!