Youth in Yellowstone National Park
As I’ve alluded to a few times within the blog, I teach music during the school year. Something that I love about the school districts in this area is that they work hard to get the students in Yellowstone for school field trips. Monforton School District is especially good about it by making sure that there is an annual field trip for the 7th grade class in the Fall and the 8th grade class in the Spring.
I’m not quite sure why, although I suspect it’s due to the fact that I’m a music teacher (and therefore, moderately unhinged) – but I absolutely love getting students into the backcountry. The fact that the Science teacher at Monforton and I are friends also helps. She is a huge help to me during the Concert Season and I love helping her with these field trips. For some of the students, even though they’ve grown up here, it’s their first time sleeping in a tent in an area that doesn’t get cell reception. Throughout the entire trip, you can watch as they start to truly love and appreciate the natural world that they are so lucky to grow up near.
The entire trip was memorable…which it was bound to be with 40 students and 8 chaperones. However, my favorite part was one morning when I convinced two students who had brought their fly-rods to get up bright and early with me to go fish the river just down from our campsite.
To say it was glorious would be to do a disservice. We watched the sun rise and the steam come off of the river while we were each bundled as warmly as possible against the cold – which was inevitably settling in to our fingers. There wasn’t really much talking as we spread out along the shoreline, each waking up in our own ways. Shortly before we had to head back to the campsite for breakfast, a bull elk just upriver from us began to bugle, steam rising from his mouth and catching the sunlight. We walked back into camp just as everyone was waking up and the echo of people unzipping their tent doors begin to sound throughout the campground.
The boys and I didn’t talk very much throughout the morning. I don’t think we needed to. I didn’t need to tell them how absolutely lucky we all were to share those early morning experiences.
How do I know that they loved the experience just as much as I did? Because that evening, after everyone else had eaten dinner and was goofing off around the campsites, we put our rods together and made the same walk back down to the water.