Reflections on a summer well spent

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 6:00pm

As strange as it seems my time here at the Henry’s Fork Foundation is coming to an end. This Friday will be my final day. After work Zac and I will head to Jackson Hole to spend the night before hiking to the base of Grand Teton. On Sunday we will attempt to climb the Grand via the Exum Ridge.

 

Despite having an excellent last weekend of climbing and hiking, I will be focusing this blog more on reflection of the whole summer rather than a recap of the past few weeks. I’ve learned a ton during my time in Idaho and I think going back on reflecting on this will be both good for myself as well as enjoyable to read.

 

Although I haven’t focused much on my actual internship project for the summer in my blog posts it is what I have I spent the vast majority of my time out here on. I spent about a week learning HTML and CSS in order to begin working on creating a new mobile friendly looking website. This site is now live at www.henrysfork.org/mobile. Check it out using your phone, but I wouldn't recommend using your computer as it will look bad. 

I spent a number of weeks coding the website using a text editor and the languages that I had learned; however, our website uses what is called a content managed system to allow employees who are not as technically inclined to edit the site. The largest challenge I ended up facing this summer was figuring out how to integrate the code that I had created into the content management system that we use. After a week or so of bashing my head in I was able to able to figure out how to do this.

All that is left is downloading a package to force mobile devices to navigate to this new mobile site instead of the regular homepage. Unfortunately, this is not something I can do and will have to wait a couple of weeks for our web host to install it.

 

I was initially pretty uneasy about what my experience would be like spending all summer coding. I had never built anything from scratch to be implemented somewhere rather than quick programs I’ve made on my own time or school assignments. I ended up really enjoying my experience. It was quite rewarding to spend my time on something tangible and actually see the results in front of me as I worked. I especially enjoyed being able to do all of this on my own time. Once I was given my project I was pretty much left on my own to get it done.

 

Just as I expected, I ended up enjoying my work for the same reason that I love rock climbing and the outdoors in general. Each problem is an obstacle, be it figuring out how to integrate a static HTML and CSS webpage into a Drupal website, figuring out the beta to a crux pitch of a rock climb, or attempting a backflip on a snowboard.

 

My goal was to find a way to mix my love of the outdoors with my enjoyment of problem solving through technology and a summer with the Henry’s Fork Foundation allowed me to do exactly that. I spent days outside putting up fencing, taking water quality samples, or surveying anglers. I also spent time inside designing and implementing a site to allow fisherman fast, easy access to the information that they need most.

 

I had a few other goals for the summer as well. The first being to climb as much as possible and to grow my skills in this. As I’ve seen working at summer camp and guiding trips for St. Lawrence, teaching is one of the best ways to improve one’s skills. I spent time teaching Zac skills that I have picked up over the years, as well as introducing him to trad climbing. Through this I was able to learn from him and solidify my knowledge. One of my favorite parts of climbing is the spots that it has taken me. I can now add the City of Rocks state park and Grand Teton National Park to the list of incredible places I have visited to climb.

 

This weekend Zac and I will attempt the Grand Teton, a goal that I set for myself in my first blog post. There is no way to guarantee the summit because of external factors, mainly weather, but I feel that we have placed ourselves in the best possible position to succeed.  

 

Lastly, I set myself a few personal goals related to my guitar playing at the start of the summer. When I first started playing two winters ago I always had one song in the back of my head. This song is called Further Away by Ben Howard (You can listen to it by clicking here). I knew that this summer I would finally have the time to be able to start learning it.

 

Early on I looked at the tab and instantly closed out the page because I couldn’t figure it out. As the summer progressed I started to attempt to play it and I’ve finally gotten somewhere near to what the actual song sounds like. Learning this also helped me with another song that I had been working on, also by Ben Howard, called Promise (Listen here). Music has played a huge role all throughout my summer. Mainly in the songs that have blasted over my car stereo as I roamed the empty roads of the wide open west, but also in times shared with friends. Playing these songs allows me to experience again the wonderful memories that I have created whilst listening to them.

 

I’m sad to be leaving the place that I have called home for the past couple of months, but I am excited for my drive across the country and return to Massachusetts before beginning my senior year at St. Lawrence. This summer has been an incredible experience that I will not soon forget.