Basis North explores an oasis
On October 19th, 2019, 15 students from Basis North left for an adventure onto the Arizona Trail. Our goal was to hike to Sycamore Reservoir to explore high desert biomes, riparian gallery forests, and the history that dominated this area in the earth 20th century. Some of these students had hiked here in the past, and for them, it would prove to be a wonderful experience to return twice. This hike was about the physical experience, rest, and relaxation. This Saturday club let students pause from long weekend homework, and let themselves have fun and relax outdoors. This area would help them gain challenge, as well as sweet rejuvenation.
Following dry creek beds is soothing to the ear, and soft granite beads grinding together makes a satisfying crushing sound. This group has a large age disparity. 5th grade blends neatly with 12th grade, and though there are some maturity differences, it does not disrupt too intensely. This also means we have many different lengths for legs, and the hike can feel very different to different people. Those who had hiked this trail in the past reminisced as certain views, individual trees, even some boulders triggered memories. We were lucky to see many different species of bird flying overhead, from vultures to hawks, to small huttons vireos. The place seemed to be alive, and it was special for the students.
When we arrived at Sycamore Reservoir, we rested in some sweet cottonwood shade, eating lunch and listening to the sweet sounds that echoed through the valley. The Arizona Trail led us all the way to this oasis, where water pools and keeps the landscape thriving for all kinds of wildlife. Once we finished eating, we split into three groups. One group set out for an educational walkabout, learning about the different plants and animals. Another group decided they wanted to play games, and as a semi-large group they darted around the forest like little desert mice. The last group decided they preferred to relax, so instead of learning or playing, they found a comfortable spot in a beautiful location to sit and rest their bones. This approach was really successful, Each student was able to have their needs met, accomplishing their intentions easily.
We began our hike back after all the learning, play, and relaxation had run its course. It was a long hike back, with steeper slopes and a bit more sunlight. This added a slightly metaphorical fire under our buts, and let us move a little quicker. This hike offered the perfect opportunity for students to develop a bit more strength and expand their capacity for challenging hikes. It also provided us the chance to learn and relax in a beautiful place. The Arizona Trail was our path to such a place where history, both natural and human, comes together to create a richness not often experienced. Basis North maximized this opportunity, experiencing every drop this place had to offer.