High quality, affordable gap year program? Here’s one.

Gap year participants and team leaders standing by a van

Affordable gap year programs are hard to find. The other day we went online to look and the results amazed us. Most gap year programs cost more than $1,000 a week. That’s $20k for a semester. For many people, that’s just not possible. You might have even spit your orange juice all over the breakfast … Read more

Activism 101 from Ed Marston

Today we met with Ed Marston, former editor of High Country News (HCN) and current President of the board for Solar Energy International (SEI).  Ed took us out of town to a place below the Ragged Mountains where we could look over Bill Koch’s ranch (of the famous, wealthy Koch brothers) and his private western … Read more

Canyon Country Backpacking

IMG_0387We left on a rainy day and drove up high onto the Umcompahgre Plateau.  The original plan was to hike into the top of the canyons, but muddy roads and a low gas tank dissuaded us, and we drove around to the bottom of the canyon.  We started late, but a short hike later we were camping under sandstone cliffs under clearing skies eating meals cooked over our homemade tuna can stoves.

Next came four days of canyon adventure and fun.  We swam and perched on high rocks to dry.  We climbed out of one canyon and down into the next, getting caught in the dark and descending a steep slot canyon in the dark.  We navigated using topographic maps and practiced leadership skills; played games and worked on bow drill fires; watched hoodoos and desert bighorns.


Picking Peppers

Today we went to work at Thistle Whistle Farm. The first thing we did when we arrived was to milk goats.  Next we toured the farm and saw bees, strange plants that made your mouth numb, and over 60 species of hot pepper.  Next we helped harvest.  Some of the group picked tomatoes, long rows of diverse kinds … Read more

Mountain Backpack

 I woke up early on Tuesday, the day we were leaving for the backpacking trip. I watched the sun rise over the huge crumbling shoulders of Gunnison. The other sleepers woke slowly, grudgingly around me. They rose, drifting thickly out of the building we slept in, like the heavy clouds off Mount Lamborn, whose steep … Read more


Today we went to a farm called Delicious Orchards and met with Jeff Schwarz who says his farm his an organic, biodynamic farm that is used by the community.  They grow lots of fruit, varieties of apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums and cherries.  Jeff is a “doer” who says “yes” to most things and likes … Read more

First Three Weeks

Everybody arrived at the High Desert Center on September 7th. In the next three weeks we visited farms, climbed some mountains, danced a lot, celebrated a marriage, experienced some ups and downs of group living, and went on a five day backpack trip. Thanks to Journey Temple for the photos.

A farm Visit
Picking Apples
The High Desert Center Dorm
Climbing Beckwith
High Lakes