A Capstone Expedition
The Eighth Grade river trip is the capstone of the Country Day Outdoor Education program. In five days on the river, we are self-sufficient, not leaving the river from Sand Wash to Swaseys Landing. Students spend about five hours a day on the river floating through majestic canyons. We read selections from classic environmental literature: Abbey, Powell, Rousseau, and Brower. Students write in their journals, draft their graduation speeches, and conduct the traditional “Green River Olympics” at campsites along the way.
All the lessons learned over years of outdoor trips come together on this trip, and the Eighth Graders return with a vivid understanding of the core values of our Outdoor Education program: character, respect, responsibility, community, and perseverance.
Background: the philosophy of the Eighth Grade river trip
Using the intentional approach that we depend upon at Aspen Country Day, the school plans this trip using an essential question: What is the meaning and purpose of the Eighth Grade Outdoor Ed spring trip? The consensus is that this expedition should be:
- a multi-day capstone experience that deepens and solidifies students’ understanding of the core values of our Outdoor Education program
- a remote wilderness experience; an immersion in an off-the-grid, tech-free adventure
- a river experience that builds upon “hard skills” (wilderness travel, camping, and paddling) as well as the “soft skills” of teamwork and collaboration.
- an academic experience with literary and scientific content related to the privileges and responsibilities of growing up in the West
- a fun experience that leverages the intimacy of the wilderness to foster memories and friendships
- lightweight capilene long-sleeve shirt and pants (cool in sun, warm in rain), absolutely required
- wool socks for under Tevas
- sneakers or trail runners for hiking
- bathing suits: “surf jams” and rash guards are best for both boys and girls, for swimming and sun protection
- t-shirts – three
- bandana or buff for sun protection
- camp pants: sweats or pajama type pant
- long underwear
- lightweight gloves
- long pants with zip off option for shorts (ideal)
- shorts – two pair
- rain suit, top and bottom, important
- wool hat
- lightweight down coat for in camp, cold nights
- heavyweight fleece
- sunglasses with croakie
- sunhat (for function, not fashion – a baseball cap works with a bandana for ear flaps)
- toiletries, hair brush, tooth brush, etc.
- Tevas, or Teva-type sandals that can get wet and stay on during a swim or short hike; heel strap or back required, no flip flops
- sunscreen: waterproof and strong, packed in ziploc bag
- lotion for dry skin
- lipbalm with SPF
- sleeping bag
- sleeping pad in separate sack
- pillow is a stuff sack with fleece wrapped around it
- water bottle with strap or caribiner attachment (quart Naglene bottle)
- headlamp/with NEW batteries installed
- pack everything in a DUFFLE bag
- day pack
- If if stays hot, you won’t need much stuff. If the weather turns nasty, then you need warm, functional gear. Packing will be your responsibility, but we reserve the right to repack you.
- Dressing for intense sun and heat — and being able to cover all exposed skin — is just as important as dressing for cooler temperatures. It’s important to pack Items that can be layered as the weather changes.
- We will keep your rain gear and lightweight long underwear accessible while on the river in case of sudden weather, but everything else will be stashed in dry bags during the day. Please remember to MARK AND LABEL everything with your name.