On Friday, October 1st we led our last hiking and archery session of the year with Elevation, a local Tahoe day group for adults with developmental disabilities. We started off on the Tahoe Donner Nature Loop where Isaac, one of our regular hikers, had the opportunity to lead the group. The leaves in the trees along Trout Creek were just starting to change color, and the group kept stopping to admire the mosaic of burnt orange, ruby red, and rich evergreen in the canopy above. Sheila, one of our volunteers, led the group down to a wetland area with a beaver dam. Everyone tip-toed around, trying to move silently so the beavers might come out, but the beavers stayed hidden.

After breaking for lunch, the group headed over to the Tahoe Donner Archery Range. Most of the participants had never tried archery before, but everyone was excited as they had all idolized the archers in the movies Brave and Lord of the Rings. Before anyone had a bow and arrow in their hand, Laurel, our archery program coordinator, talked through the archery range safety rules and explained the basics of how to shoot. Finally, the group was ready to nock their first arrows. Though no one instantly had the archery know-how of their movie inspirations Merida and Legolas, everyone enthusiastically found ways to learn and improve their skills as archers. Zach took time to focus on precision and posture; it took him several tries, but by the end he was consistently shooting bullseyes. Though Teddy had trouble hitting the target at first, he applied himself with patient determination and kept trying. Even Elias, who at first was slightly trepidatious, loved shooting so much that he tried to make a deal to buy an Achieve Tahoe bow. Everyone would have stayed on the range into the night if they could have.

We can’t wait for Elevation to gain more elevation with us next year at hiking and archery!