Trip Worth the Cold Nights, Says Freshman

October 21, 2013


Photo by Mario Andreatta Freshman Chris Cordova scopes out the camp spot

Photo by Mario Andreatta
Freshman Chris Cordova scopes out the camp spot

Freshman Chris Cordova narrates the ASK 2013 freshmen and sophomore Jemez camping trip. To see more photos from the trip, go here

Battle for the Best

The freshmen and sophomore camping trip started with a bus ride from the campus to Bernalillo for lunch, where a couple friends and I headed to Burger King and everyone picked up the cardboard crowns. After we ate, we gathered back at the bus and left for Jemez. Along the way, everyone was talking, joking, and taking pictures.

When we had arrived at the campsite there was a mad rush to unload as everyone battled for the best spot in the camp. My group chose the first spot available, and though the four of us initially had trouble remembering how to set up our tent, another scholar stepped in and, in the end, our site turned out great. After the madness settled, everyone gathered near a picnic area, made a fire, and socialized with friends for the rest of the day until bed time.

Cold, Wet Day in the Mountains

We woke up Friday to freezing temperatures, but luckily there was a warm fire going in the picnic area. Once everyone awoke, managers announced that we needed to pack our lunches and to get ready for the day’s activities. We left on a bus to go to our assigned activity; for me and several others it was a hike at the Coyote Call Trail. Unfortunately, it was closed and instead we opted for another trail close by. We stumbled upon a herd of cows who left us some stinky presents on the trail.

Not long into our hike, the sky opened up and it began to pour on us. Despite it being cold, the rain made our journey feel more adventurous.  It was still coming down by the time we got back to camp, so some of the activities were canceled, and for the rest of the day everyone just chilled out and played poker by the light of our lanterns. For dinner we grubbed on hotdogs and burgers and all was well until a cell phone turned up missing.  Managers stopped the fun and did a search of camp, which ended at sundown when the phone was found in the boot of the scholar who had lost it.  We harassed said scholar for making us stand out in the cold for so long.

As bedtime approached and we retired to our tent, it was difficult to doze off because as one would imagine, a tent full of high school boys does not make a peaceful environment.

Next Stop, Bandelier

When I woke up on Saturday, it was insanely cold. My glasses frosted up and my boots, which I had left outside the tent, were frozen solid.  I quickly changed into warmer clothes and headed to the picnic site where others were struggling to make fires.  At that point, after two nights of freezing weather, I think most of us were ready to leave the Jemez Mountains.  When everyone was packed and the campsite was clean, we loaded onto the bus and headed to the Bandelier National Monument for the last activities planned.

My group hiked to a water fall where, because of flooding, the bridge across a river had been taken out, leaving us to our own methods of crossing. Some of walked straight through (this is what I opted to do, soaking my feet, since the water ended up halfway to my knees) and some of us hopped across rocks in the river. When we had arrived at the waterfall we rested and took pictures – the scenery was beautiful. Where we stood overlooked an immense canyon and a gorgeous waterfall.

On the way back to the bus I crossed the river at the point where the water wasn’t very high and when I was half way across, I suddenly sunk two feet into the ground as the riverbed turned to mud and fell out beneath me.  I immediately heard laughter from my fellow scholars who had crossed at a sturdier part of the river.

In the end,  I learned about fire conservation,  the rich history of the Jemez people, and I gained further insight and respect for New Mexico. The trip was fun – I would love to do it again next year. After spending more time with my fellow scholars and project managers, I have a better relationship with them.  Spending two nights in the forest will do that to you.

-Chris Cordova

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