The day was Wednesday, Mar 9, 2022. It was a very cold, windy, rainy, and snowy afternoon. The people were tired and the time dragged on to feel like years. I woke up that morning ready to work and accomplish something that I had never done before. I was ready to have fun and learn something new. Little did I know it would be one of the hardest days of my life. Getting to school and the bus ride there were all easy, if anything it started off great. I felt great. Once the bus had stopped, and I saw that we were in the woods, I knew that I didn’t fully know what I had signed up for. I felt the rain drop on my face one by one as the cool breeze filled my lungs. The mud gripped my boots as I took each step with my heart beating faster as I moved. My hands felt like ice as I worked on my tent and made where I was going to eat lunch that day.
Once we finished we went on a hike. That hike felt like I was walking miles, for years trying to survive. The view around me made it feel like I was in a movie. It all felt unreal. I can hear the rain around me pitter patter on all the leaves. I can see the snow falling making a white sheet on the ground below me. I could see smoke coming out of my mouth as I said each word.
Ms. Karen and Mr. Codio really made the experience so much better. They encouraged me every step of the way, and that was one of the main reasons I didn’t give up. During lunch, we were able to sit in a warm area. As I saw all my peers and teachers warm up and eat something fulfilling around me, I knew the best thing I could have done was not give up. After lunch we went on another hike to pick a spot where our project would be. I learned so many cool things about how hike trails were made and signals on trees to indicate where you were going.
As we made our way back into the bus, I saw the woods leave behind me. I had realized all the cool things I had done that day. My body melting into the seat as each minute passed, my mud covered boots indicated just how much fun I had.
I’m so so so glad I got to go to the trip because there is no way I could’ve missed such a good time. Although the weather wasn’t very amazing (it was very cold and muddy), I got to work with new people in a totally new environment. Thanks to our great guide, Ms. Angel, I got to learn so many new things such as how many different ways people use the park, the different species found in the park, the dangers of not staying on the trails, and, of course, all about the bad conditions of the trails when it rains. It’s all muddy and very dangerous to walk on without the right equipment.
We were separated into 3 groups, although I’m not sure about the exact role of the other 2 groups, our group was the film and documentation group (taking photographs, videos and analyzing everything).
First, when we arrived at the park, we walked into this sitting place and made a circle. Then the teams were chosen and everything was coordinated. After that, we went ahead and set up our tiny houses which was so much fun and right after that we headed into our adventure to the trails around the park. First we went to a swamp trail which seemed to be in a very good condition, but it got very muddy by the water level. The trails were very steep which was okay at the time we were climbing but now my legs hurt a lot. After the swamp trail we went to have lunch. Thanks to Mr. Codio and everyone for the amazing pizza and garlic knots, which were actually exquisite. We were supposed to have lunch in our little houses that we built, but it was raining and almost snowing so it was better if we had lunch inside and warmed up a bit before we headed into our next adventure to the paw trail, which was steep and slippery, full of very dangerous random rocks and tree roots anyone could trip over, connected to the old road in the park and it lead to this beautiful kettle pond 🙂
Overall, although my hands were freezing and I couldn’t feel my toes, high rock was totally worth the new experience.
On Wednesday March 9th, a group of students and I took a trip to High Rock Park in Staten Island. It was a very beautiful space, with an abundance of trees, and many different hiking trails on which to venture and explore. While we were there we got to hike some of these trails and experience nature up close. Our main goal of coming to High Rock Park was to revitalize the trails through methods such as adding/modifying water bars, drainage ditches, and checkstepping. The water bar and drainage ditch can be implemented to divert water that is gathering on the footpath, and direct it somewhere else where it is less dangerous to hikers.
Water bars are elevated wooden planks or stones that prevent water from passing on from a certain point. It is very helpful in containing the flow of water on a hiking path or dirt trail. In the past, steel rebar was used to bolt wooden planks in place, but after time passes, it can pose a problem when the wooden planks decompose or are moved. When the wooden plank is no longer there, the steel rebar stays in the ground standing up, because it is unable to be broken down through decomposition. This is a problem because it is a safety hazard for hikers who don’t see it and may trip over it. It can cause serious injury. As an alternative, we can use wooden dowels to hold the wooden planks in place.
Drainage ditches are, just like the name implies, small ditches dug out near a path that can divert water from the path. These are useful in diverting the flow of water from a path because if placed correctly, they can greatly affect the flow of water in a given area. Drainage ditches are cheaper and easier to create than water bars but are sometimes only easy fixes and need to be constantly maintained. Both water bars and drainage ditches are useful in controlling the flow of water on a hiking trail but have different advantages depending on the situation. The checkstep is used to keep the trail from deteriorating to help control the landscape of an area. They are usually placed in areas where runoff is a problem and can prevent sediments in rain water and other runoff from coming down the trail and eroding it. They are extremely useful, and are perfect at correcting the problem that they were built to fix: runoff.
Checksteps are usually stone or wooden planks that span the width of a trail and, just like the water bar, are supported through the use of steel rebar or wooden dowels. Just like in the case of the water bar, people are switching from steel rebar to wooden dowels in the construction of a checkstep because the wood is a biodegradable material that is better for the environment.
Another thing we talked about was replacing a puncheon bridge that was slowly deteriorating. A puncheon bridge is a small wooden structure used to span a wet or boggy area on a trail. To replace the puncheon bridge, we would have to measure the distance between the two sections of land that it connected, and then figure out how long the bridge would have to be to span the pond that it was constructed above. Once we did this, we would have an accurate measurement of how long the bridge would have to be and then we would be able to obtain the right sized wooden plank and replace it with the old one.
Another thing that we talked about was keeping hikers on the right trail. On the trail that we were on, someone had created their own path, so it would be confusing for upcoming hikers to choose the right path. We talked about ways to repel hikers from walking on to the wrong path, and we came up with some solutions. The first was that we put a large rock or boulder in front of the path to deter people from going past that point. The second idea was to plant native trees and plant towards the front of the false path that would discourage people from stumbling onto the wrong path. The final idea was to cover up the arrows that marked the wrong path by using a blend of different paint colors to camouflage with the trees and disguise the arrows on the trees. The final thing we talked about was revitalizing the hiking path by re-vegetating the entire area by planting native plants throughout the entire trail.
Angel Diaz Jr.
High Rock is a project started by students and Mr.Codio. The project is an architecture related one involving things like trails, hiking, and shelter building. I had no experience with High Rock at the time.
Mr. Codio divided us into groups almost immediately after a long bus ride. I was in a group with Zaidyn, Conrecia, Sheena, Sebastian, Waylon and others. Our first task was to set up shelter for a place to eat at while it was raining and snowing. I took one part of the tarp and tied it to the rock while my hands felt excruciating pain while the snow and rain came down while my other teammates had frantically started to tie their ends to the stage and the other to a nearby tree. Soon we needed another tarp since the floor was muddy and began sounding like gooey mac’n’cheese. I laid the other part of the tarp down, and we had a place to put our bags and stay under to not get soaked.
Eventually, we’d go trail hiking looking for trails and parts of the place that would need to be renovated with things such as drainage tunnels because too much water was flooding the trail, making it super muddy. A lot of things in High Rock are super interesting and make you feel like an actual architect figuring out other things besides the design and layout of a building. After a while we all went inside to eat then came back out looking at more trails where someone ended up falling. We reviewed ways to make this place much more safer for people to pass along. An hour later we’d return back to take out all of our tarps and head to the bus returning to WHSAD. Overall I did like my first High Rock trip even though I had to tie knots in the middle of a snow and hail storm. I still enjoyed it and want to thank Mr. Koestner for letting me attend the High Rock trip.