We’ve been on a winter hike!

From frozen sandwiches to art workshops, the first week of the new term at LEAF Academy has been as experiential as it gets. To start the semester off on an adventurous note, the whole academy embarked on a winter hike through the trails of Velka Fatra. We were divided into four groups based on hiking intensity – here is a quick overview of their experience.

The evening before the journey, preparations were in full swing…

…next morning excited students from the first three groups, me included, set out on their expeditions into the mountains.

While making our way through 1,5m deep snow in freezing temperatures, we still managed to keep smiles on our faces.

In the spirit of Bear Grills, we made ourselves at home in the middle of the forest – we slept in shelters, cooked for ourselves, and even dug a fire pit to warm up our freezing feet. Thanks to the drive and endurance of everyone involved, everything went smoothly and with zero casualties.

We came back frozen, exhausted and happy, overflowing with stories and experiences and with a profound understanding of what it means to improvise, adapt and overcome.

“As I was walking one of my feet warmed up while the other one was still freezing. So I took off my shoe and found my friend’s lost spoon in it!” – Matej, year 1 student

The third group experienced a one-day hike, and although it didn’t include a sleepover, it was laden with wonderful experiences. The highlight of their experience was reaching the summit of Velky Choc, which usually provides a stunning view of the mountaintops.

“We were excited about the view at the top, but when we finally got there, all we could see was fog. So we looked at photos of the view instead.” – Adela, year 3 student

Another group explored the cultural heritage in the area surrounding Ruzomberok. They immersed themselves in the cultural heritage of the region, visiting national wonders such as Vlkolinec. They also visited the Ruzomberok Art Center, in which they developed their creative side through figure drawing and a linocut workshop.

On the last day, there was the opportunity to learn about Slovak forest ecology, compete in building the coolest snow fort, or make linocut t-shirt designs. The trip ended with a very much needed dip in the thermal waters of Besenova, after which everyone felt relaxed and ready to dive back into academic life.

This experience was valuable to all of us. We strengthened bonds, overcame our limits and discovered more of ourselves. To be honest, the experience is hard to describe with just a few words and pictures, but we will cherish it forever in our memories, and will be happy to talk about it to anyone interested 🙂

Would you also like to experience boarding high school? You can apply to LEAF Academy until February 28th.


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