“Pacific Crest Trail Academy”


Heather and Sierra Burror

Heather Burror and her 8-year-old daughter, Sierra of Bishop continue on their way to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.  They started in Mexico and will end in October in Canada.  We checked their blog to see how things are going.  Sunday, Heather posted this blog about how Sierra continues to study and learn on the arduous trek:


Sunday, May 6, 2012
Day 15: The Pacific Crest Trail Academy
People frequently ask how Sierra is continuing with her schoolwork, so while we are taking a “zero” or rest day, I thought I would take a few minutes to explain.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is both rewarding and educational. It is also an all-consuming task. Most other hikers think it is cruel and unusual punishment for any hiker, especially Sierra (who with her shorter legs must work harder than the rest of us), to be expected to do anything other than just hike and learn from the beauty that surrounds us.

But as much as we are learning on the trail, it cannot replace the reading, writing, and arithmetic Sierra would be studying if she were enrolled in school. So we developed a plan for Sierra to continue to study and to learn on the trail. We call it the Pacific Crest Trail Academy.

Reading: Sierra is a voracious reader, and loves to talk about the books that she reads. Fortunately, her grandparents gave her a Kindle for Christmas, so she can carry a whole library in her pack, for less weight than a single paperback.

Writing: Sierra is keeping a journal, do she is getting practice with writing and spelling each day. We also talk about writing and related topics sometimes while we hike.

Math: Sierra has a math journal, and I write out problems for her. Occasionally they are trail related, but most often they are not. Sierra also has all her math practice book pages on her Kindle, so we can copy down problems from there in addition to the ones I create. We also practice multiplication and division facts on the trail.

Science and Social Studies: We are learning a lot about the plants, animals, and history of the places we pass through. We also are learning about the moon and the constellations, which we can see clearly at night.

Physical Education and Health: Sierra hikes between 10 (our shortest day) and 24 (our longest) miles every day. We are also learning the importance of nutrition and proper hydration on the trail.

So, how does all this fit into a day on the trail? Sierra usually reads in the morning, at lunch, and in camp in the evening. While we are hiking we are getting physical education, learning about plants, animals, and history, discussing books, and, for a few minutes each day, practicing multiplication and division facts. On rest breaks, at lunch, and/or in camp, Sierra writes in her journal and practices her math. And at night we like to look at the stars.

There you have it: a day at the Pacific Crest Trail Academy.
Posted by Heather and Sierra at 10:43 AM 2 comments
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2 Responses to “Pacific Crest Trail Academy”

  1. Trouble May 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    This is awesome. I would love to see a map of their trails.

  2. Andrew Kirk May 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Benett, thanks for this inspirational story. Godspeed them. (If they need “angels” near Indy, please let me know.)


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