Sunday, May 20, 2007

camping with 5th graders

Had a great trip camping with Sam's 5th grade class. We stayed at Colorado Bend State Park, and took a day trip to Enchanted Rock State Park. It was a wonderful experience because it challenged so many fears of the kids. The first day we tromped through these spring-fed water holes with slippery rocks, muddy bottoms and algae - but they were beautiful with lots of little waterfalls. Some of the kids did not like the mud and algae but all went through everything anyway.

The next day, hiking up Enchanted Rock was awesome. I'd been there before, in fact I wrote about it in a story called Top of Texas for Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. Sam and another couple of boys were truly terrified they would fall down the rock! It's a steep walk, but it's not rock climbing that we did - just a steep hike up a giant granite batholith. I encouraged Sam and another boy to overcome their fears, and just put one foot in front of the other. They didn't want to look backwards, and they didn't want to go forward at one point, but they did it, and by the end they climbed down just fine. We also clambered through some "caves" made by giant granite boulders and this was a bit scary for me! Several kids were scared at this point too, but we all did it - every single one! They were saying things like they overcame all their fears. ;) It was cute.

That afternoon, we drove back to CO Bend to our camp and "swam" in the Colorado River which had a very swift current but was pretty shallow. I stayed downstream because I was really worried some of the kids would lose their footing and float downstream beyond me or the other parents and Mr W. In fact several kids did lose their footing and I had to grab them, because they would sort of panic and lose their wits. We then went on a night hike and saw a deer and its spotted fawn (only a couple of us saw it) and several armadillos. Later, we looked at the stars. The first night it was partially cloudy but I showed Sam and his friend the stars both nights. I brought my star chart with me! We made Smores the 2nd evening - my favorite!! Here are a few photos.

Overcoming fear... on a steep hike up Enchanted Rock!

A beautiful view on the way.

A brilliant orange prickly pear cactus flower.These little depressions at the top of Enchanted Rock get filled in over many years with dirt, allowing plants to grow. Fairy shrimp live in some of them also.
Mr. W "falling off the rock." The campsite.

Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park. We hiked here the 3rd day, before heading home. Sam sitting by the Colorado River.

1 comment:

Sus said...

LOVE the waterfall pic! Just gorgeous!! Who'd of thunk that'd be in Texas! *lol*

I have to say I totally understand Sam's fear. I tend to get pretty skittish in those situations myself as I have such lousy balance and coordination.