Seventeen Georges Valley High School juniors and six adult leaders recently returned from Trekkers’ 15-day Cross-America Expedition.

From July 29 to Aug. 12, the Trekkers crew traveled through Colorado, Arizona and Utah to explore the region’s environmental and cultural uniqueness, while continuing Trekkers’ mission of building strong relationships between students and caring adults in the community.

As with every Trekkers program, students met throughout the school year to plan their trip around five core components: adventure-based education, cultural and environmental awareness, wilderness exploration and community service. Students satisfied these components by choosing to go spelunking in the Cave of the Winds near Manitou Springs, Colo., learning about water conservation issues at the Grand Canyon, taking part in a cultural exchange with members of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Vale, Colo., and hiking Independence Pass at the Continental Divide, located at 14,000 feet above sea level. The group also visited Garden of the Gods, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Glen Canyon, Lake Powell, Arches National Park and Mesa Verde National Park.

The experience had a profound effect on all. “Being in Trekkers is the best thing for a person,” one student said. “It teaches you so much about the world around you, the people around you and yourself.”

To read the daily log and view pictures from this year’s Rocky Mountain Expedition, visit trekkersonline.com. For more information about Trekkers, call 594-5095. Trekkers is a nonprofit community-based mentoring program in the Midcoast that focuses on creating dynamic ways for caring adults and students to form meaningful relationships.