Arches, “Nature’s Disneyland” 

The Third Grade trip to Arches National Park near Moab, Utah is a great way to start off the spring adventure season. Students build upon their fall rock-climbing experience with some extensive practice bouldering on the red rock “outdoor gymnasium” of this famed national park.

The children develop their “hard skills” in the outdoors — camping, hiking, bouldering, desert ecology, geology and history of the area, climbing safety, and more. They also develop their “soft skills” in team-building and cooperation, bringing these important lessons back to the classroom after each trip. Each day is packed with adventures, and everyone tends to sleep soundly in our tents or, weather permitting, under the stars. On the last morning, everyone pitches in to pack up our camp and head home, stopping for lunch along the way home.

Sample packing list

warm hat for evening
rain gear (waterproof pants AND jacket with hood)
warm jacket
shirt for hiking (non-cotton; tech or smartwool-type fabrics are best)
fleece pants for around camp
fleece jacket or pullover
gloves or mittens
socks (2 pair)
1 pair sneakers
1 pair Teva/Keen-type water sandals (no flip-flops)
sleeping bag with waterproof compression stuff sack
non-inflatable sleeping pad (best are the ridged foam kind that don’t need to be inflated, allowing children to be more independent)
toothbrush & travel-size toothpaste
headlamp or small flashlight (NO other electronics, please)
1 lunch*
2 days of snacks*
1-qt. wide-mouthed water bottle (Nalgene-style, full)
hat with visor (very important for the sun)
lip protection with SPF

Aspen Country Day School Outdoor Ed trips are tech-free — no personal electronics allowed. “Radio silence” and a chance to unplug are important aspects of the Outdoor Ed experience. Photos from the trips are posted shortly after return for parents and children to share.

Complete instructions, final packing lists, and staffing details arrive via ParentSquare shortly before each trip. At least one certified Wilderness First Responder accompanies every expedition. NOLS Risk Services of the National Outdoor Leadership School has recently completed a comprehensive analysis of policies and procedures for the Outdoor Education program at Aspen Country Day School. This program operates under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, White River National Forest.