DCS Montessori students escape to Estes Park
DCS Montessori students enjoyed a week-long retreat at the Estes Park YMCA in October
Article by Tracy Dudley with photo by Matt Long
Every year, the sixth graders at DCS Montessori spend five days away from home on a week-long field trip in the mountains. This year, the crew had a great time at the YMCA in Estes Park. Twenty-eight kids and several teachers enjoyed plenty of daily hikes, swimming, roller skating, basketball, volleyball, fun acting skits, and several team building activities. Each day was full of fun and learning combined.
To start the trip off right, the kids hiked up Bible Point and experienced breathtaking scenery.
“I don’t know if I have ever seen anything so amazing. It is impossible to put into words,” said sixth-grader Koby Dudley. “The rocky, mountainous landscape is filled with dark green pine trees contrasting with yellow aspen, while their tops are sprinkled with snow. It looks like a painting.”
In addition to the myriad of daytime activities, the crew took guided night-time hikes in the pitch dark—without the aid of flashlights. While these hikes had some kids a little spooked at first, encountering nature in this mysterious way was a new experience for nearly all of them. And, without city lights or pollution to cloud the skies, the stars were exceptionally brilliant and visible. The group had a great time identifying constellations that are typically hard to view in our more urban areas.
There was a lot of opportunity to experience wildlife, as well. The kids got to visit several beaver dams and learn live an upfront about beavers and water ecology. One of the tour guides even picked up a black snake to show-and-tell to the students. As an added bonus, a large herd of elk spent a lot of lazy time behind the main cabin. The group even got to view two young bucks lock antlers right outside the window.
Before sunrise on Friday morning, the crew hiked up Eagle Cliff and waited to see the sun rise. This was also a first-time experience for most of the kids, who all were in utter amazement when the sun’s rays finally burst from behind one of the mountains on the horizon.