| AspenTimes.com

A lesson in independence

Recently Basalt Recreation sent a group of eight children out with Aspen Expeditions to Markley Hut. We had some nervous kids at the beginning of the trip, uncertain of what adventure would unfold for them. For some this was their first experience hiking into a hut, carrying their own backpack of supplies and food and their first experience on their own with no parents. Our very amazing guide, Greg Shaffron, was so accommodating, but yet allowed the kids the opportunity to make smart choices on their own. He was funny, encouraging, yet had the backcountry experience to teach the kids how to be smart and savvy in the backcountry. He taught the kids how to use avalanche peeps through games, how to make a snow cave, how to read the mountains and the snow structure to be aware of snow safety, and many life lessons in being part of a backcountry team.

As I drove the kids back to Basalt to their parents, I asked them what did they like the most about the experience and their reply was, “Everything!” They had just spent three days and two nights without their parents and the kids I drove back to Basalt were one step closer to being comfortable with their independence. I would like to thank Aspen Expeditions, Dirk Bockelman, Fred Stover (our local chaperone), and Greg Shaffron — yu were all a part of an experience that will last a lifetime for these kids!

Dorothy Howard

Basalt Recreation Department