⇐   September 26th, 2021   ⇒ 

Copyright 2021 Michael Anttila

For those that may not know, we switched Aila to a Waldorf school this September. Then, just as the school year started, her teacher informed us that there would be a three day class camping trip! Since Aila didn't really know anyone in the class (and neither did we, for that matter), I volunteered to be one of the chaperones for the trip.

We drove down to Valens Lake Conservation Area, and each of the 13 kids in Aila's class set up their own tent in a big circle. On the first day, we went to the Arboretum at the Royal Botanical Gardens, near Hamilton. The kids were doing a unit on botany at the time, so after we went on a little hike, everyone spent some time drawing trees in their notebooks. While they were busy drawing, I used the opportunity to try to take some interesting nature photographs. I also snapped this photo of Aila hard at work drawing an interesting little grove of trees.

On the second day, we went Treetop Trekking at Binbrook Conservation Area, also near Hamilton. This was the same location that Angela took me for my birthday this year. The kids in Aila's class had an absolute blast pushing their limits on the various courses there. When we got back to the campsite, we all walked down to the lake. A few brave kids went swimming in the chilly autumn water, and the rest of us just waded in up to our knees.

Before we left on the trip I had checked the Clear Sky Chart to see what the night time weather was going to be like, and I knew we had a chance of a clear sky on the second night. So, with the teacher's permission, I set up my Celestron binoculars so that the kids (and adults too) could see Jupiter and Saturn. We had a great view of Jupiter and its four big moons, and a pretty good view of Saturn's rings (it looked kind of like a flying saucer).

On the last day, we packed up our tents and headed back to the school for a pizza lunch. I was very gratified to overhear one of the other parents ask their kid about their favourite parts of the trip, and to hear the response: "Aila's dad brought some binoculars and I got to see the clouds on Jupiter!"

Overall, it was a very nice trip, and it was good to completely disconnect for a few days. Since it is a Waldorf school, there was no technology allowed on the trip at all. No cell phones, no radios, no electronics of any kind. I was kind of breaking the rules a bit by bringing my camera, but the only time I brought it out was at the arboretum while the kids were drawing trees. It also gave me time to get to know Aila's teacher a little bit, and hear her story of how she became a Waldorf teacher, which was really interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the school year goes.

Technical Details: This picture was taken with my 5D Mark II + EF 100mm Macro at ISO 100, f/2.8 for 1/400th of a second.

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