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Student reflections on Expiditionary Learning: Moab

|student post|

Last week our 6-8 grade students traveled to Moab for four days of expeditionary learning. Below are their post-trip reflections. Learning outside of the classroom is powerful!

Team Anastasis in Moab

Moab has given me a spark. We always talk about the trips and how much they mean to us, bonding, hiking, climbing, and being adventurous which is probably what you’d expect from a bunch of middle schoolers going on an out of state trip. What the casual observer doesn’t realize is the spark, the spark in the eyes of everyone that went on the trip telling their favorite story or memory, the spark of an adventurous kid not needing responsibilities or to feel like a grown up, but who can just be a kid. This is the spark of someone who’s experienced community and solitude, adventure and relaxation, I see this spark in the eyes of every one of my classmates after these trips, after the adventure. The spark of adventure, and passion, and courage, and power, and joy.

Moab was such an awesome experience. Not only did I enjoy the planned hikes (which made me feel accomplished afterwards) and the astronomy class, but the little moments as well. Jumping in the river, eating pizza and blasting music at midnight, and laughing around the campfire were just a few of the special moments I will remember forever. I enjoyed this trip as much as if we would have spent thousands of dollars on a fancy vacation. All of my classmates have made every moment complete. Weeks of planning and preparation for this trip may have seemed stressful and hard, but it was all worth it in the end. This trip made me realize how much I love all of my friends and every moment I spend with them, and how much I will miss them when life goes on.

Spending time in Moab was not only a great time to bond with our classmates, but it was a time of peace. I really enjoyed going to Moab this year, not only was it one of my highlights yet I would like to go back very soon. My favorite thing I did on the trip involving our group was probably bowling. The reason for that is I got to learn lots about the others around me through small talk that never would of happend if it wasn’t for these trips. I thought it was really cool, and I hope the best for my classmates that are moving on.

I sit alone, breathing in the warm desert air through my nose and out through my mouth. In and out, in and out, in and out I listen to my slow, rhythmic, breathing. I listen to the birds, hiding in the cover of the trees and shrubs. I listen to the wind howling through the canyon, blowing years upon years worth of dust and sand into my eyes. I watch two lizards darting through the rocks chasing each other. I look out over the valley and sigh contentedly, and for the first time in a long time I am content, I am at peace.

Moab! It was such a fun trip. There was lots of excitements like riding in the van, doing hikes that we didn’t want to do, and lots more. One of the many highlights was jumping in the river and having fun with my classmates. I had a really fun trip because I got to bond with my classmates and I have the chance to really connect with them before I left for high school. It will be so different leaving for high school and not to have the special bond with them like I did on this trip. It is easy to say hello hard to say goodbye. It will be hard not to have such a tight community when I enter high school and I will have to start all over again and find the right group. It is hard to say goodbye to a person but people who mean a lot to you or like family is going to be extremely hard.

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and the music in its roar; I love man not the less, but nature more.” -Lord Byron  From its incredible arches to its fun, flowing river, Moab was beautiful. I loved Moab because of its glory but also because I got to enjoy it with my friends before we go our ways. We had great times and had fun with the simple things. We grew even closer and it will be harder to separate. Moab was a great trip and full of exhausting hikes that in the end were worth it. Each arch with its own shape, none the same, were spectacular. Each cactus dangerous, yet were amazing. Each tent holding people who got to see this beauty and I was one of them. Moab was fun and a piece of God’s work. “On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” -Jules Renard

Going into the Moab trip I was really excited. I had never been on a car ride for that long but when we were about 2-3 hours in I lost time and had fun with my class. When we got to the site, we saw that we were by a river! We were super happy. It took around and hour to 30 minutes to set up camp, then we hiked up to corona. This was my favorite arch because I had seen it almost everywhere and I was finally here. We walked around and saw Morgan. Who we hate now. The first day there was amazing. The campfire that night was a cool experience. The next day we went up to arches national park and hiked around there. I had a enjoyable time talking with everyone. After the hike we were all exhausted and I fell asleep in the van. Later that day we stopped for some yogurt and the park. We also swam in the river and jumped of a ledge. I flipped and hit my face on the water but it didn’t hurt. The second day was a blast. We played mafia that night at campfire and did speeches. That night it was super windy and I hardly got any sleep. 3rd day!!! We had a big, tiring day ahead of us. We hiked 11 miles and at first I was not excited, but it was entertaining getting to know everyone again. That night we went bowling and I did really bad, but on the bright side, I had so much fun playing pool and it made me happy when I went up and everyone said, “come on flacco!” We drove to the astronomy place and we had a fun conversation on the way there. That was probably one of the best things ever. All the girls crashed that night. The next day was sad. We were leaving. After a long time in the van everyone was really bored and sad. It was great to be home but sad to be away.

Wyoming was a trip getting to know everyone, Santa Barbra was a trip to get closer as a class, and now Moab was a trip being able to say our goodbyes. It is amazing how far we have all come as a class and now our year is pretty much over. There were so many amazing experiences on the Moab trip. My favorite part of Moab would have to be the whole Wednesday. The 14 mile hike was really hard but I actually kind of enjoyed it. And after that hike we were able to go bowling. I had so much fun playing bowling and pole and then going to the parking lot. Then to top it off we got to go look at stars and drive home listening to music and lighting glow sticks. Moab was a trip I will never forget.

We all need to stay connected to our inner solitude. Although, staying connected with others is entertaining, solitude is vital for us to be able to have inner peace. Nature is peaceful. It does not talk nor think, but makes us think. This mindset of discovery in nature brings knowledge of not only God but ourselves. We should take advantage of our earth while we still have it before the pollution of humanity kills.

Universal language, connection with nature. “I want to be able to look at and into a juniper tree, a piece of quarts, a vulture, a spider, and see it as it is in itself, devoid all of humanly ascribed qualities even the categories of scientific description.” (Edward Abbey) Get away from man’s way, find peace in the music of nature. Wind. Dirt. The river’s song. Calm and beauty are found in the black, protecting sand. Beauty is found in every speck of rock that curves and forms the arch. Be still, find peace in God’s work.

One of the best things a person can do (In my opinion), is to get away from the everyday garbage that consumes our lives. The constant rush, the pressure, the endless business. We ought to go away and experience nature’s extravagant beauty. The trip to Moab we just went on was an opportunity to do this, escape, to get ourselves lost, enclosed in the wilderness. The truth however is our regular life is full of borders, pressure, and schedules. Things we are taught to live by. They maybe necessary at times but these things kill us. These things flatten our lives. Cities are cool and all but towers of rocks and trees are much more awe inspiring than the twisted towers of metal we dream of building. Animals are better than cars. Nature is a medicine, a quiet place to think. An endless border less place to explore.

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