Course Update: Hiking the Headwaters

Today is the first of two full days at Shadowcliff on the west boundary of Rocky Mountain NP. After a delicious family-style breakfast we continued our conversation with Bob Mann in a classroom simulation/game that helped the students viscerally understand the concept of Tragedy of the Commons (some people went without Goldfish snacks). Bob then introduced Kirk Klancke, President of the Colorado River Headwaters chapter of Trout Unlimited and a leading voice for river conservation in the state. Kirk talked with us and answered questions for about an hour and made a big impression with his passion and singular dedication to a cause that he believes in.

After lunch, we hiked up the spectacular valley that is the Colorado River’s headwaters, where we spent time solo journaling and working on field sketching techniques, both as a tool for better journaling and, more importantly, better observation. Bob Mann enriched our experience with both historical anecdotes and natural history interpretation.

Back at Shadowcliff after a full afternoon, we had some downtime, ate dinner in town, and then enjoyed a visit from retired park ranger and professional storyteller Dan Overholser, who shared stories from Native American folklore and Colorado’s colorful history. We finished the day around the fire out on the point. Students shared their questions, impressions, and connections from the experience so far.

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