By Jill Harlow — Loveland, Colorado…Over the past weekend, 15 students and six sponsors packed their tents, sleeping bags, food, and other gear in their backpacks and headed off for an adventure to summit the highest peak in Colorado: Mt. Elbert.  Leaving after classes on Friday, they hiked in from the trailhead about two miles under the light of the full moon.

The next morning, they took on the challenge of reaching the summit which was about nine miles round-trip and 4,700 feet of elevation gain. The hike was long and strenuous, but the group was rewarded by magnificent views along the route and especially at the summit. Students and sponsors teamed up to encourage each other along the way and helped each other surpass their individual limits.  The weather was clear and comfortable for hiking, allowing the group to relax at the top and enjoy the afternoon hike back down to camp.

After hiking back out to the trailhead parking lot on Sunday morning, the group was faced with one more unexpected challenge to overcome; the school vans, trailer, and Steve Eickmann’s car were all blocked in by other cars in the parking lot.  The group quickly put their heads and muscles together and began rolling boulders out of the way to create a narrow opening between a few cars.  After some multiple point turns and readjustments, Yves Clouzet got the first school van through.  The trailer had to be unhitched so the second van could go through, then everyone pitched in a hand to push the trailer through and hitch it back to the van on the other side.  Finally, Eickmann proved that he is acutely aware of the width of his vehicle by squeezing it between some of the parked cars, sparing less than an inch on either side.

— written and photos by Jill Harlow