Monday, July 25, 2005
It’s difficult to believe that after this evening’s talk from Chaplain Cooper, we’ll only have two more speakers coming. This summer has flown by! We’ve certainly done a lot of cool stuff out here, but as busy as we are, we haven’t come near to accomplishing all we want to. Over the past week some of us developed a list of the things we want to do before our departure from the beautiful Colorado Rockies. Among the tasks:
Climb a Fourteener Go horseback riding Go mountain biking Hike Devil’s Thumb Visit Rocky Mountain National Park (only 30 minutes down the road!)
These are just a few of the activities we have planned—lots to do and so little time! But even though it took several hours of planning, with work schedules and hike guidebooks in tow, we have dates chosen for Devil’s Thumb, mountain biking, and multiple fourtneener hikes! The next few weeks should be amazing.
In addition to all we have planned, we’ve had a lot going on the past few weeks (hence no blog updates!) We had the pleasure of hearing from Professor James VandenBosch, who, being the stellar English prof that he is, seamlessly incorporated various styles of poetry into both of his lectures. One night I headed into the National Park with Professor VB, his daughter Christina (a fellow LCI participant), and two other friends. I have never seen so many wild animals in my life! Not to mention an amazing sunset.
Later that week we all headed off SMR property for our respective LCI Men’s and Women’s retreats. The guys headed all the way through the National Park while the ladies camped at Willow Creek, near Lake Granby. It was an awesome time for all, especially when we met up the next day for pizza!
Last week we were blessed to hear from Biology professor Joy Bonnema—what an amazing time we had with her! Her lectures were funny and moving and it was so great getting to know her. Plus her daughter Meikea was such a hoot! One night a few of us went into Grand Lake to bowl and have ice cream—needless to say the 6 year old blondie enjoyed that night!
This week should be great as we are hearing from Chaplain Cooper and the Denver area Alumni Chapter is coming up to SMR on Saturday for a day of fun. But like I said before, time here is winding down—so I think I’ll sign off for now.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
hands and knees.
This past Thursday, a few of us had the afternoon off of work, and some had the day off altogether. Taking advantage of the spectacular 75 degree sunny weather, we decided to hike. At Snow Mountain Ranch there are only three main hikes: Five Peaks, Nine Mile, and Waterfall. So naturally, we wanted to expand our horizons. Thankfully, Rick Zomer, Associate Dean of Residence Life and director of LCI, was here again last week, and he told us about an exciting hike.
“This book I have says that there’s a moderate hike near Winter Park. It gains 900 feet in elevation over 3/4 of a mile.”
Much to our surprise, the Programs Department at SMR knew nothing of the hike. The trail book said to park off of Berthod Pass and start hiking near an orange “Avalance Warning” sign. At least we didn’t have to worry about avalanches during the summer. Berthod Pass connects Snow Mountain Ranch to Highway 70, the main highway out of Denver. It winds through the mountains, and is high in elevation. We all agreed that a 900 feet elevation gain from this starting point would allow for a spectacular view. After we parked our cars and headed up the trail, we soon realized that this was no normal trail. It was far from a moderate hike. On our hands and knees, we planned each step, ensuring that no rocks would lose their place and careen down the slope. We couldn’t believe where we were.
“Oh my gosh you guys,” Jill exclaimed. “This is not cool.”
In the exhiliration, disbelief, and fear of the moment, we kept climbing until we reached the top. This forty-five minute hike turned into an hour and a half crawl up a slope meant for far more serious equipment than hands and feet.
“Anyone have any ropes?” Amanda jokingly remarked about the seriousness of the climb. “I cannot believe we just climbed that.” That was the first time during the whole hike that we took the situation lightly.
Looking down the rocky slope, we realized how difficult the ascent was. Either the rocky climb was not part of the trail, or Rick Zomer’s hiking book told a huge lie about its difficultly. After sitting down for a while, we prepared ourself for the climb down. This time, however, we zig-zagged through the woods on the other side of the mountain toward the road. Who knows what our descent would look like if those woods weren’t there. We refused to go down the same way we came up. I’ll be the first to say that the hike back down was much easier.
I think Amanda summed up the hike nicely: “If you don’t like someone, you definitely need to bring them on this hike.”
.... No, not to lose them on the way up (as we joked about later on), but to experience some true team bonding. This is one hike we won’t soon forget.
Oh, and by the way, the pictures make it look much easier!
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
celebrating the 4th.
Happy 4th of July from Snow Mountain Ranch! In celebrating our country’s 229th birthday, we planned an action packed evening at Elise’s cabin and Grand Lake for fireworks. Almost everyone in our group was able to attend, and Elise’s family generously welcomed all us to their beautiful cabin for the ideal meal: burgers and hotdogs. The scenery was amazing. With an unobstructed view of the Colorado Rockies, we sat on the cabin porch, and enjoyed a time of relaxation, socializing, and eating.
It only got better from there. We headed into Grand Lake, an otherwise quaint tourist town, which was full of Coloradoans and other tourists eager to watch fireworks. Highway 40, the main road into town, was lined with cars, and we pulled into a parking spot before heading to Grand Lake Chocolates. Every time we head into Grand Lake we have to indulge ourselves with this incredible ice cream. Jill is right—the Toasted Coconut Macaroon wins every time. There were a lot of other Snow Mountain Ranch staff in town to watch the fireworks, too. Many of the students that we work with are from the Navigator Program, an intercampus ministry that is focused on discipleship and spiritual growth. A lot of us have made friends with these students, and it is exciting to hear about what they are learning from their time out here.
We eventually found a spot to watch the fireworks from. I must say, it is a bummer to watch fireworks be shot over a beautiful lake with mountains in the background. Yah right! People drove their boats onto the lake before the fireworks began for an even better view. It was weird not being at home for the 4th, but I can’t complain about spending the 4th of July with the people from LCI. We sat on the edge of Grand Lake bundled up in fleeces and blankets realizing how awesome our time has been here so far. I don’t like to think of the fact that we only have a little more than a month left here. (I’ll just pretend that I didn’t type that). With that said, we continue to be stretched and find valuable lessons from our time out here, though.
Last night we heard our lecture series from Jane Hendriksma, Dean of Judicial Affairs at Calvin. Her talk was about learning from our mistakes, and she challenged us to focus on our response to mistakes, not on the mistake itself. It’s great hearing from Calvin professors our here. It’s very evident that they believe whole-heartedly in this program, and they love spending time with us. From Mr. DeVries hiking Adam’s falls and Aaron Winkle playing basketball with the group to Professor Freeburg teaching us campfire songs and Rick Zomer taking us out for pizza at Hernandos, everyone is enjoying Snow Mountain Ranch.
Here’s some more pictures to let you know what we have been up to: A trip to Denver to pick up Torian, a friend of a lot of ours from Calvin. We decided to make the most of our time in Denver by heading to the 16th street mall, a popular place for shopping and dining. Some of us by the 16th street mall Getting some coffee before picking up Torian at the airport