Posted by: csdailyblog | December 16, 2012

Beyond the Black Trail



~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS5 student Carolyn Raihala. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s 17 learning goals. Carolyn is from Madison, Wisconsin where she attends Madison West High School.~

Conserve School Learning Goal: Demonstrates deep knowledge of and affection for Lowenwood, the 1200 acres on which Conserve School is located.

I am very proud to report that I have finally navigated all three campus trails: the green, blue, and black loops. As a result of my love for the black trail, it took me two months to walk, hike, and/or bike on the blue or green trails.

Conserve Campus Map

Conserve Campus Map

Conserve School looking North

Conserve School looking North

For the first month that I was here at Conserve School, I didn’t step one foot onto the blue and green trails, except on our class bike trip to the logging site and one run when I got lost. Every time I went out “on the trails,” I really just headed to the black trail. The black trail passes through some strikingly gorgeous bits of forest, and it’s the perfect length for a run. In fact, a few of my very favorite experiences I have had here at Conserve School have been on the black trail. But at some point, I decided I needed to branch out and explore Lowenwood’s trails. About a month ago, I walked the blue loop with Garrett, and discovered Inkpot Lake. I loved that area so much, I staked out my phenology spot there. Since then I have returned many times.

UW Madison Arboretum

UW Madison Arboretum – UW Wisc Photo Library

However, it wasn’t until I took a wrong turn while biking (or trying to bike, but getting lost on) the green loop this weekend that I stumbled upon my very favorite spot on campus. Nestled in a cozy corner of the property, my secret spot reminds me of the University of Wisconsin Madison Arboretum. In November in Madison, when the leaves have fallen and it gets dark right after school, one of my favorite places to be is the arboretum, walking the trails with my mother and brother. I was so happy to find a spot that reminded me so strongly of home. It’s so secluded that I spent 45 minutes biking around trying to find it again. I appreciate how hard it was to find, because I had the joy of rediscovering it. In fact, I learned two things from getting lost two times: if you don’t want to get lost, bring a map, but getting lost is an experience all its own and sometimes, it’s worth your while to wander.

~Carolyn Raihala, Conserve School Semester 5

More photos of Carolyn on campus and Conserve School.


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