Students Hike Mt. Loafer

By Rillene Nielsen and Garrett Johnson, pics by Awesome Parent Volunteers
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For two weeks they prepared.  Then, at 5:30 AM on September 11, 2015, seventeen intrepid hikers met at Spanish Fork Junior High, boarded a bus, and drove up Payson Canyon to the Loafer Mountain Trailhead. 

Their goal?  To summit Mt. Loafer and make it back—a twelve mile round trip. 

SFJH coach Garret Johnson spearheaded this activity.  Here is his report:

“We met up with Payson Jr. High and began hiking about 6:45am.  Leaves on some trees had started to change colors.  Parts of the trail were steep and rocky while other parts were very dusty.”

“We made it to the half way point—about 3 miles on the trail.  This point is called the saddle and the view was spectacular.  After a short rest, most of us charged on to finish the rest of the hike while some people stayed at the saddle.”

“We stop once more just before we summited and watched some mountain goats on the cliffs.  Then it was on to the summit.   At the top there is an American Flag and a mailbox with a notebook in it.  Hikers sign the book to prove they made it.”

“We ate lunch at the top then had a really cool reflection and discussion on the significance of September 11th.  After a short moment of silence, we packed up and hiked back down the mountain.”

Tired and dust hikers made it back to the bus around 3:15 PM and came back down the mountain.  Seventeen students put their strength and endurance to the test and returned not only with the knowledge they could accomplish hard things, but also with a new perspective of the valley where they live, an appreciation of the grandeur of nature, and insights into the sacrifices many have made in the name of freedom.

Who says the only place students can learn is in the classroom?  Congratulations student hikers, and thanks to Mr. Johnson for heading up this unique and engaging learning opportunity.  Hopefully, this will become a SFJH tradition.