This past July, Wilderness Inquiry went to the Beartooth Mountains in Montana with eight students and two teachers from Edison High School in Minneapolis. Over four days in the mountains, our three outdoor leaders hiked with the group. While one of the students had been to the Boundary Waters and two had been to Yellowstone with Wilderness Inquiry before, for most the backpacking trip was a new experience. “I think that there were times that they struggled but they kept pushing and as staff we were really proud of them,” said WI outdoor leader Julia Schweitzer. “It’s one of those things that is really hard while you are doing it, but then you look back and realize it is an amazing experience.”
While hiking into the backcountry, the students saw fresh grizzly tracks and scat. Later on, they saw a dark animal emerge from the woods 30 feet away from them. “Well, at first we thought it was a bear, so we were a bit freaked out,” said Schweitzer. “And we got excited when we saw it was a moose.”
Other highlights of the trip included the students soaking their feet in a mountain stream after a long day of hiking and incredible campsite views of snow-capped peaks. The amazing wildlife and scenery impacted the students in a big way. “It showed them that there are opportunities like this out there for them and this world is bigger than Minneapolis,” said Schweitzer. “It was a way for them to connect to nature that they wouldn’t be able to do in the city.”
Here are some of the best photos Schweitzer took during the trip, so you can get some idea of what the students experienced.