Adventures ease academic demands
Can you believe the first quarter of school is already over? For many students, the PSAT was last week. Soon we will tackle midterms, the CAHSEE and then, toward the end of the year, STAR testing.
Thankfully, we can look forward to breaks, holidays and little escapades from the stress and craziness. Recently, CORE at Camptonville Academy students took two field trips: rock climbing at Rocknasium in Davis and a tour of Shasta Caverns.
Rocknasium is a huge warehouse filled with thousands of oddly shaped rock-climbing grips mounted on a dozen custom-made, seemingly random-shaped walls. All the walls reach to the ceiling except one that ends in a platform.
While climbing, you can boulder — which is climbing about halfway up the wall without a harness. If you want to go to the very top, you need to be belayed using a harness system and rope.
As you get more experienced, you can use hand holds on the ceiling and can actually span, using rock climbing security clips, across an arch and go down the other side.
The platform wall serves a specific purpose: It allows you to take the Leap for Life. Jumping from this platform, roughly 14 feet to the floor while harnessed, you leap to a suspended trapeze bar hanging from the ceiling. (It's not called the Leap for Life for nothing!)
If you jump high enough and far enough off the roughly 1-by-12 board and hold on to the bar, you are able to swing or do pull-ups before going down.
William Socha, a senior and CORE student body president, said, "It was something that tested my nerve and will to move forward due to fear, despite my complete safety." It was an experience I will not forget.
Last Thursday, we ventured to the Shasta Caverns. We hiked to the lake, where we boarded a large barge to take us across. At the opposite shore, we traveled halfway up the mountain side by bus to a museum, where we grabbed hard spelunker hats and knee pads. Once in gear, we headed up a couple more steps to the cave entrance.
On first entrance, you do not say "Wow!" as it simply looks like a tunnel with a bunch of stairs. But once you reach the top, a beautiful sparkling room with many stalactites and stalagmites confronts your vision. Below you there are calcite flows and damp cave dust, which is mostly calcite also.
Another room is a large cave that was once filled with water and has many unique formations that formed under water. The last room, the Cathedral Room, is about 100 feet tall with formations more than 80 feet long. Each calcite drapery produces a unique musical note when struck. Imagine playing a cave in the high school marching band!
Among the formations are some that look like a castle and drawbridge, Snow White and the seven dwarfs — and an enchanted forest of broccoli. Among all these wonders there is the certainty that there are many, many more undiscovered caves in the caverns.
All in all, it was enchanting and beautiful.
Evan Campbell is a sophomore at CORE at Camptonville Academy. His column appears every six weeks in Education.