The Bishop O’Dowd High School Outdoor Adventure Club, continues to live up to the name as club members recently journeyed to Grover Hot Springs State Park in Markleeville for their annual Winter Camp.
The Outdoor Adventure Club has been in existence for some time, and faculty member Ray Lehner became the Club Moderator in 2006. Club members started going to Grover Hot Springs for their winter adventure in 2010, in that year the club had a bit of a revival when a genuine outdoors man Blaise Gisslow ’13 became president, they have not missed a Winter Camp since.
While no experience is required Winter Camp is not for the faint of heart as camping in the snow when the nights get below 20 degrees is pretty extreme. “Some years we arrive at camp after dark while it’s dumping snow on us and we have to pitch tents and, build a fire and get some food on, not the ideal, but fun none the less,” Lehner said.
Over the years the club has had great leadership. Sabina Tuleja ’16 and Andy Pike ’17, both whom were four year winter campers, followed Blaise and this year club president and vice president Eleanore Carper ’18 and Geogie Pease ’19 join the elite ranks as four year winter campers. “I feel like we need an award, I keep saying that someday I am going to get some engraved belt buckles or Swiss army knives to honor the elite four timers,” Lehner said.
“It’s all about the kids and giving them this great experience in the outdoors. Every year we get a couple students who are novice campers – even first timers. I tell them that if you can camp for a couple nights when its 18 degrees outside and snowing you can endure just about anything,” he said.
This year Winter Camp fell on the full moon, which makes for a very magical and enchanting night time campsite. “It feels like we spend most our time sitting around the fire where warmth, camaraderie, survey questions, dumb jokes and lively banter are a standard,” Lehner said.
As far as activities go, Lehner said that some kids go on predawn hikes to catch the sunrise at just the right spot, others sleep in and prefer the late morning trek to the frozen water fall. “The highlight of every trip is the hot spring which is incredible. It is a licensed facility with the hot spring and a cold pool, with lifeguards on duty, nestled in the shadow of a 7,000 foot peak. The view is breathtaking; here you sit in the 102 degree natural hot spring and look up at these snow-capped mountain peaks, just gorgeous and of course very warming,” he said.
Campers eat well, too. Friday night’s dinner was Frito Pie, with Smores and hot chocolate for dessert, Saturday morning breakfast included oatmeal, muffins and toasted ham and cheese bagels, and Saturday’s dinner was hearty southwestern chicken foil boats cooked directly on the coals.
This year’s campers were Zoe Chan ’18, Erica Sue ’18, Eleanore Carper ’18 (Club President), Cosette Backus ’18, Georgie Pease ’18 (Club Vice President), Max Williams ’18, Juliana Mcelroy ’20, Colleen Cushing ’19, Bo Chappell ’20, Ayssa Evans ’20, Cole Danish ’18, Katelin Williams ’18, Sabine Schroepfer ’18 and Julia Hubb ’18.
Chaperones included Ray Lehner (Club Moderator), science teacher Zosha Adam ’09 and James Cunningham ’09.