6th graders bond at Motherlode

By staff writer Katrina Chan

For future 6th graders who want to know, this “always looking forward” place — MotherLode — is an extraordinary wilderness with trees and a river.

Just two miles away from Coloma, where Bay Farm fourth graders do their first overnight trip, MotherLode and its ways are very different from the Coloma gold-panning ways.

For instance, students don’t hike. They go higher than their limits, and they sleep in tents. The naturalists are very green and very nice. And they prepare fun activities, delicious food, and clean tents or cabins for stydebts.

The main attraction? What people refer to as the obstacles. The obstacles are the rock climbing structure, the log walk, the partner wire, and the Leap of Faith.

“The leap of faith was awesome!” said 6th grader Ryan Chang after coming back from the trip earlier in fall. ”The pipeline (a wire above the ground with poles spaced out) was really a huge trust thing. The catwalk was really fun, but I’ve done those kinds of things in the past.”

Sixth-grader Sophia Nguyen said the Leap of Faith, where students must jump from a platform in the trees to an acrobat’s hanger — harnessed, of course — was tough to climb to and even tougher to jump. ”The Leap of Faith was so fun and I wanted to do it again,” she said. “On the way up, it just wasted all or most of your energy, and the jumping part looked so close to you but it was really far.”

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Bay Farm 6th graders go every year to MotherLode, but Teacher Joni Reynolds said that it’s always exciting to see a new group of students step up to lead.

“It was fun for Mrs. Oducayen and me to watch our students the  learn and play (and wash their own dishes),” Mrs. Reynolds said. “I love the counselors because they interact with the kids and teach them things that will help them in the real world — and that was the whole purpose of sending them there.”

Mrs. Reynolds said she and Mrs. Oducayen enjoy watching the students bond with their classmates. Students who attended the retreat agreed that it’s a great experience.

“I’d recommend to go to Mother Lode over the summer, or any break when the weather is nice and warm,” Nguyen said.