Sunday, April 25, 2010


Word seems to be getting around about the fantastic hikes that the ACS Hiking Club has taken so far. This weekend I accompanied 23 students to Stara Planina, the mountain range that runs through central Bulgaria. We took a lift to the ridge and walked around for awhile, enjoying lunch on rock outcroppings overlooking the central plains of Bulgaria. Sopot, the town where we started, is famous for its mountain biking, and we found ourselves sharing the chair lift with many a mountain biker preparing for next weekend's European competition on this very mountain. Several of them whizzed by beneath us as we were carried up. Adding to the excitement was a group of about a dozen para-sails floating down the mountain.

At the beginning of the year, I mandated that we have a faculty-student ration of 1-7 on these trips. But as I have gotten to know the students, I've slowly realized that this isn't really necessary. They're so well behaved, and so supportive of one another, that it's really a privilege just to accompany them. When they proposed a hike on the last weekend of the quarter, I knew that most teachers would be finishing grades and I may well be the only faculty member on the trip. No problem. On the train ride back, we even got into a 15-person game of 20 questions, or at least the Bulgarian version of it. Their group dynamic is astounding, and I've been grateful this year to see so much of this incredible country with some of its most enthusiastic guides.

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