The underpinnings for multi-day treks into the wilderness as older students are established through small-scale adventures into local forests and to nearby streams. With Walking Mountains and through the lens of science, students learn about local ecosystems by exploring the nearby Booth Creek Trail. As another example, second graders learning about buoyancy build miniature boats that are run through similarly scaled rapids in Gore Creek. Fourth graders take a fall hut trip to enjoy an overnight adventure amidst gorgeous changing leaves. The capstone outdoor education experience is the annual fifth grade overnight hut trip that serves as a formal introduction to backcountry travel and safety. Experiences like these, combined with explorations of Vail Mountain on Ski Fridays build a comfort level and respect for the abundant natural playgrounds nearby.