A Golden Saunter

On September 25th, 2018, 7 students from Flagstaff High School’s Outdoor Discovery class went for a hike on the Arizona Trail San Francisco Peaks passage. The goal of the day was simple. Students wanted to hike 5 miles total and experience the beauty of the mixed conifer forests at a higher elevation than town.


Prior to setting out on our excursion I had visited the classroom to give a short lesson on topo maps and allow the students to figure out as a group where they wanted to go. After pouring over the options, the AZT on the western side of the Peaks was the vote.


When the appointed day arrived, there was mixed chance of rainstorms. After careful consideration, we decided to go for it with rain jackets and trashbags as back up. We are so very glad we did.


The rain held off, save for a few sprinkles while we hiked, took turns being team navigator, lead, and sweep. Along the way we paused to look for color matches in nature, played the bell game, and guided one another in a round of “hug a tree”. At our turn around spot we ate lunch, relaxed, looked for shapes in the clouds and took  mindful moment. Before leaving we talked about the history of The Nature Conservancy property we could see in the valley below us. We learned about the Beb Willow community, the small watershed that spread in front of us, and the prairie restoration efforts that have been taking place.


On our way back, the storm rolled in when we were mere minutes from the bus. Perfect timing if you ask me! And a perfect opportunity to practice how staying calm during surprising events helps everything seem easier and less stressful.


This was one of those golden days we live for. A day for students to learn at their own pace. Explore, build teamwork and love of place. We can’t wait to do it again!