Granby " Weather puts damper on Middle Park High School rafting trip, but not spirits
May 12, 2008
Despite cold and windy weather, Granby’s Middle Park High School students continued their annual whitewater rafting trip last weekend.
Last year a ranger prevented them from experiencing the outdoor field trip.
“It wasn’t the ranger this year ” it was the weather that messed us up,” said Steve Frazier, an East Grand Middle School teacher who has been a trip leader for the past four years.
While the students were able to experience rafting for a couple hours Friday, there plans to raft all day Saturday were foiled.
When they woke up at 6 a.m. three inches of snow covered the ground.
“It was very cold and very windy,” Frazier said. “We waited as long as possible before we said, ‘OK We’re not going to go rafting today.’ ”
Around 10 a.m. they decide to pack up.
Many of the teenagers were disappointed. However, they enjoyed their two hours out on the river Friday, Frazier said.
“The river was running really high,” he said. “Even though it was windy and cold they were still really excited to get on the boats.”
Last year a ranger interrupted the trip because they didn’t have a commercial permit, and “bureaucratic red tape” stood in their way, he said.
“A state ranger came up and he just grilled us on everything,” Frazier said. “It wasn’t that we weren’t following the rules. We were never expected to have a commercial permit.”
This was a “big blow” and a “deep cut,” Frazier added, because the school could not afford a commercial permit.
This year, Adventures in Whitewater sponsored the trip and allowed the school to run on its permit, so the tradition that has gone on for 35 years could continue.
“They stepped in and took over,” Frazier added. “It was important for us to consolidate everything and make sure everything … was legal.”
The trip also encourages students to be stewards of the environment, he said.
Even though students may live in the mountains, not all of them have had the opportunity to experience all of the recreation and take on the Colorado River, he said.
During the trip they also learn how to rock climb and rappel. “They really have to apply themselves to be on the trip,” Frazier said.
On Friday students took an orienteering course. This taught them how to use a compass, identify plant life and animals tracks while they learned about the geography of the area.
They also set up their camp and put up tents, before learning how to raft.
“They go out and they’re separated into groups,” Frazier said.
Students interact with pupil they’ve never talked to. This is where leadership skills emerge, Frazier said.
“You really start to see people kind of blossom,” he said. “It’s a really cool kind of bonding experience for them. They build these great interpersonal relationships.”
“Even kids with severe disabilities were included (on the rafting trip),” Frazier said.
The trip included 38 sophomores, seven seniors and five staff members.
High school seniors participated on the trip to assist staff in making sure everything ran smoothly, Frazier said. The adult supervisors and guides benefit from the trip as well, he said.
“We all spend hours and hours of extra time to do this program because we love it,” Frazier added.
Other supervisors included program director Robin Alt, Rebecca Baynard, Kery Harrelson and Maggie Keller. Doug Wyler was the trip sponsor.
Superintendent Robb Rankin also visited the group during the trip, Frazier said.