CCC Takes Students on Adventure Hike in the Grand Canyon
June 2, 2012
CCC students join faculty to hike the Grand Canyon in May 2012. (front l-r) Joe Miller of Meriden, Kan.; Amelia Firns-Hubert of Lawrence, Kan., Amanda White of Goddard, Kan., and CCC administrator, Jill Kososky. (middle l-r) Cliff Palmer of Tyro, Kan.; CCC coach, Christie Ellis, CCC employee, Denise Smith; Laura Swanson, Melissa Ashenfelter of Longton, Kan.; and Red Raven Alumnus, Herb Hilderbrandt. (back l-r) CCC faculty member, Brad Weber, Elijah Rose of Fredonia, Kan.; Caitlin Hollinger of
After a one-year hiatus, Coffeyville Community College (CCC) returned to the Grand Canyon with students enrolled in the new Adventure Hiking class. Whether students completed 11 or more than 30 miles in three days and two nights below the rim, the experience was life-changing.
“It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. Hiking the Canyon was challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally, but it was so worth it. When I finally got out of the Canyon I felt like I wanted to cry of joy and accomplishment, it was so surreal,” said Angel Colon.
Three groups of students dropped below the rim on May 15 with the goal of hiking to the Colorado River and back out in three days. The groups traveled trails including Bright Angel, Hermit, South Kaibab and the Tonto. Carrying 25-40 pound backpacks, the students began the adventure. They camped at Indian Gardens, Bright Angel, Granite Rapids and Horn Creek. Camping out under the stars and eating salty snacks, trail mix, and lots of beef jerky, the groups bonded with each other and learned to respect and enjoy one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
“It was really fun. I made a lot of really fun and cool memories on this trip and really want to continue to do it annually. I have been inspired to do more with my life,” said Caitlin Hollinger.
The CCC students joined the only one percent of the visitors to the Canyon who see the five ecosystems below the rim. Students learned how to pack a backpack, how to hike in a desert, and many other aspects of hiking. However, some of the most potent lessons were personal ones. The mental battle one encounters on the long sets of switchbacks and the challenge of eating when one is not hungry are two examples.
“I wasn’t mentally ready to be all the way at the bottom of the Canyon,” said Amanda White.
“I’ve learned a lot on this trip,” said Melissa Ashenfelter. “Have fun, and drink and eat while your hiking, even if you don’t want to. This trip is a blast!”
“They say leaving is always the hardest part, but in the case of the Grand Canyon hike, the expression is a bit literal,” said Elijah Rose.