Science teachers scale summits over spring break

Features

Over March break, science teachers Noah Lynd, Natalie Lynd, and Josh Garrison ventured out West to go rock climbing and canyoneering. 

For the past six years, the trio have enjoyed rock climbing in various forms, starting with indoor climbing in 2016 and gradually progressing to outdoor expeditions. “I first invited [the Lynds] to go indoor rock climbing near Glastonbury,” Mr. Garrison said. “That eventually turned into our first outdoor trip to the National Parks near Moab, Utah.” 

This year’s trip was the group’s third time out in the Utah-Nevada area. Unlike previous years, however, this trip was much more spontaneous. “With the ongoing pandemic, we kind of assumed that it wasn’t going to be an option to go on trip like that,” Mr. Lynd explained. “However, as we got closer to spring break, we started thinking about it and consulted the School Nurse, Ms. Scully, and Mr. Dillow on the proper protocols to make sure it was safe.” 

The trip lasted around 10 days and started in Las Vegas, where the group stayed at a local Airbnb. During their trip, they would typically go climbing for most of the day in places ranging from smaller cliffs to massive 1000-foot mountains. Just outside of Vegas, the trio went climbing at Red Rock, where they encountered huge sandstone towers. “The view was just incredible,” Mr. Garrison said. “You could easily see the downtown as you climbed.” 

After leaving Las Vegas, the group started camping outdoors. “The weather was just perfect for most of the trip,” Mrs. Lynd said. “Sleeping in the quiet desert and staring at the crystal clear stars was very restorative.” 

The group later made their way to Zion National Park in Utah, where they opted for the lesser-known routes. They continued to Castle Valley, Utah, a place renowned for its lone sandstone towers that peak over the desert.

 It was in Castle Valley where the group was met with their toughest challenge yet: Castleton Tower. The steep 400-foot sandstone tower was a familiar adversary, as they had previously tried to scale it on two separate occasions in previous years. The sheer altitude along with bone-chilling temperatures made the climb tremendously difficult. However, this year the group was finally successful in conquering Castleton Tower. 

On their way back from Castle Valley, the trio went canyoneering, in which they traversed through narrow canyons by climbing and rappelling. Finally, the group ended their trip back in Red Rocks, making one big loop around the Southwest until finally returning home.

Since returning home, the Lynds have been climbing locally. In previous years, they took a trip out to Wyoming and Colorado, and while they’re uncertain whether they’ll continue the tradition this summer, they definitely plan to embark on another expedition sometime soon.

Despite facing challenges, the group, especially Mr. Lynd, really enjoyed their impromptu vacation. “It felt really good to just spend time outside with beautiful landscapes,” Mr. Lynd said. “As a person who really enjoys being active, the physical challenge was great, and of course, camaraderie that we had throughout the trip was probably what I enjoyed most.”