Teacher shares outdoor adventure with Gateway students

Gateway art teacher Amy Thornton on her 20 day trip down the Colorado
River. Thornton gave a presentation to the Gateway Outdoor Club on March 22. (Photo submitted)

HUNTINGTONLast year, elementary art teacher Amy Thornton embarked on a 20-day, 226 mile adventure down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon. Last month, Thornton shared photos, stories and videos with members of Gateway’s Outdoor Club, also attended by several faculty members.

“I was on a non-commercial trip so we were self-guided,” she explained. “The National Park Service tells us when we can start on the river and when you must be off. Aside from that, it’s all up to the paddlers/rowers on the trip.”

Thornton traveled to Arizona and put in at Lee’s Ferry, spending much of nearly three weeks in a cataraft—a two-person inflatable paddle raft—on the river. The route included 42 major rapids rated Class 5 or higher.

Students and staff alike were held spellbound as Thornton shared materials from the trip showing canyons, Indian ruins, the Grand Canyon from the bottom, and Pueblo Indian ruins.

“The only way out once you start is emergency evacuation/airlift or a whole hike out at one of two points and hope someone meets you at the end,” Thornton said. “There is no cell service, but we had a satellite phone for emergencies.”

Thornton’s presentation was funded in part by Local Cultural Council grants from Chester, Middlefield, Montgomery and Russell. Local Cultural Councils are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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