One of my favorite moments of the day came when Wolk gave us the opportunity to listen to music for the last stretch of our descent. As I blasted “Take Me to Church” through Ms. Rubin’s headphones, I thought about the sacred temple of nature in which we found ourselves, a place so fittingly named Zion.
After waffles and tefillah, we bundled up in all of our layers for our first daytime adventure in Zion National Park. The group split to tackle two different and equally beautiful hikes: Angel’s Landing and Observation Point. On the Angel’s Landing hike, we marveled at the beautiful red rock and pink—yes, pink—sand.
Thanks to Marty and Avima, we found a hidden tunnel in the rock that led to a surprise sunny outcropping. We posed for many, many pictures and inspired a line of hikers behind us to clamber up and explore the hidden passageway! We nicknamed one of the most heart thumping parts of the hike “Lombard Street” given all of its switchbacks; it really did look like our our very own San Francisco street, remade Utah-style in sandstone and red rock.
At the well-earned summit we had time for more great photo opportunities as well as our bagged lunches. We circled up and talked about personal goals we are trying to reach (like going from fear to acceptance or from worrying about the future to grounding in the present) before clambering back down the mountain—it felt so much shorter on the way down than the way up! One of my favorite moments of the day came when Wolk gave us the opportunity to listen to music for the last stretch of our descent. As I blasted “Take Me to Church” through Ms. Rubin’s headphones, I thought about the sacred temple of nature in which we found ourselves, a place so fittingly named Zion.
After both groups returned to our base camp (aka the Quality Inn) we had some free time to explore the postage stamp sized town of Springdale replete with art galleries, ice cream shops, and gemological stores. After dinner and tribe meetings, we had another late night treat: stargazing. We drove to a nearby campground and sprawled out on the ground to gaze up at the sky. Under the cover of darkness, Eli shared a beautiful d’var Torah about taking off his mask and finding his place at JCHS. Mr. Grossenbacher then regaled us with the stories of the stars as Mr. Brody pointed out one after another constellation. Our confusion became revelation as we began to recognize the pictures—and tales—in the starry firmament above us.
The serene mood was unexpectedly broken when a police car rolled up to the campsite slowly with its lights flashing, and (almost) everyone panicked. But Officer Weber only came over to see who we were and wish us a good evening. We returned to our beds weary yet satisfied with another full day of adventure.
Thanks to Ms. Rubin and Dr. Draskoczy for the photos.
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The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.