He may have been sore the next day, but Class of 2020 senior Joel Bustamante finished the TMC/A-Mountain Half-Marathon race on Sunday, Oct. 28, in just one hour, 36 minutes, which is excellent time considering that the first place time was one hour, 06 minutes.
said that Hiking Club sponsor Mr. Ernesto Somoza motivated him to participate
in this event by giving him a coupon to participate in this event.
always wanted to run a complete marathon,” Bustamante said, “but maybe I should
stick to half-marathons until I have completed enough conditioning.”
To run 13
miles (a half-marathon) is a challenge for anybody, but Bustamante said that
the beginning of a lengthy race is the most challenging.
feel great pain until they become numb,” he said. “After about seven miles, I
couldn’t feel my legs, and I felt that ‘runner’s high’ which is actually an
said that he is fervid member of the Hiking Club and was an avid member of the
Cross Country team last year, which gave him more confidence with running.
encourage my friends to exercise, in general,” he added. “Exercising is healthy
for everybody, and I guess I just want all of my friends to stay or to get
and added, “This half-marathon is just the beginning for me. Some day I want to
participate in the Boston Marathon.”
During fall break, the Outdoor
Adventures’ Club (aka, Pueblo’s Hiking Club) traveled to the Grand Canyon for
four days, beginning on Oct. 13, with sponsors Mr. Ernesto Somoza and language
arts teacher Ms. Angela Gonzalez.
Somoza said that trip was a“triumph”, although club members faced minor challenges. For example, thetemperature plunged to 20 degrees, and yearbook/exceptional education teacher Ms.Marie Little, a chaperone, injured her knee.
“Anything can happen on a
trip like this,” Somoza said. “The trails are rigorous.”
Senior Andrew Romero, who
describes himself as a “fervid member” of the Hiking Club, said, “I love this
club because it gives me a chance to be active, and I love traveling. I love
the outdoors. I’m not stuck to my phone.”
Leo Parra, a junior and
member of the Hiking Club, said, “The sights [this school year] have been
beautiful, and I’ve made a lot of crazy new friends while making a lot of new
Not all of the trips will be
as extensive as the Grand Canyon, Somoza added. The club plans on small trips
to Tumamoc Hill and Madera Canyon—about a three-mile hike for each.
In November, new students
will have an opportunity to join the Hiking Club with the restart of the “point
system”—that is, collecting points from attending meetings, participating in
the hiking trips and providing supplies for these trips.
Starting all over will allow
students to join the club and build their points up to be able to participate
in the trips.
“I expect students to
participate in all our monthly meetings and join us on the majority of our
camping/hiking trips,” said Somoza. “I have high expectations for our members
and expect a certain amount of loyalty.”
There are at least two significant
hiking and two camping trips left this school year. In December, the club will
be venturing to Phoenix and hiking the trails of Camelback Mountain. In March, during
spring break, the club will be going to White Sands National Monument in
Southern New Mexico.
Club president Kevin Lopez, a
senior, said his experiences during the trips so far this school have been “therapeutic”
and were positive bonding experiences. He also said that being outdoors is
always a humbling and refreshing feeling.
Somoza, who has been the
sponsor of this club for the past four years, said that the Hiking Club is a
long overdue organization.
“I was incredibly involved in both high school and college,” he said. “Now, as a teacher, I want students to go outdoors and enjoy the outdoors.”
The Outdoors Adventure Club has
already collaborated with Pueblo’s television class (taught by Mr. Michael
Gunnels) to produce a promotion to attract future club members.
Somoza said, “With this
promotion, students will be able to tell their friends and family this year and
get even more members involved.” He paused and added, “We also extended out to
Tucson High to collaborate with them on trips. Our hope is to extend to other
schools throughout Tucson, including University High School next year—to
produce an inner-city Hiking Club.”
Somoza wants his students to “unplug”
and appreciate their surroundings.
“I want students to see and
hear their memories,” said Somoza, “and to spark their interest for the
outdoors. That’s all I want.”
On Saturday, March 17, Pueblo’s Hiking Club, consisting of 13 students, five chaperones and advisor Mr. Ernesto Somoza met at Pueblo at 3:30 a.m. in order to get on the road at 4:30 a.m.—sharp—in order to make it to the Grand Canyon. Along the way, they stopped at Sunset Point for breakfast and to readjust to the drastic weather change, putting on additional clothing, jackets, beanies and gloves.
There was nearly a 40-degree difference from Tucson weather to Northern Arizona temperatures.
The Hiking Club spent four days touring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The weather continued to get colder—from approximately 40 degrees down to 27 degrees, for a high. The trip quickly turned from a normal camping trip to a “snow” camping trip.
During the club’s first night, around 2 a.m., snow began falling—and students awoke to four inches in the morning. The club was prepared for this event, and camping resumed with some adjustment to the weather.
The overnight lows dipped to 11 degrees, which students prepared for—using multiple sleeping bags, cold-weather grade blankets, snow gloves and beanies.
Senior Thai Kromrei said that this was the first time in his life that he actually saw snow falling.
“I’ve seen snow before—but it was always after I woke up in the morning,” Kromrei said. “This experience was as awesome as the hike itself. I am glad that I brought a thick Mexican blanket to keep warm.”
Sponsor Somoza said, “The students were amazing on this trip! They adjusted to the weather without any complaints. I did give students an opportunity to vote if they wanted to stay or return to Tucson, and all students wanted to stay in order to hike into the Grand Canyon on Monday, March 19.”
Students, chaperones and Somoza completed the hike to Indian Garden (South Rim)—specifically on the Bright Angel Trail. This 13-mile round trip hike took 10 hours—and the group endured an elevation change of 3,500 feet.
“I want to congratulate all of the students who completed this hike. Not only did they complete the hike as individuals, they helped each other throughout the entire hike,” Somoza said. “Some students were struggling towards the end, but as a team, they encouraged and helped each other make it up.”
Senior Iram Arce, a “guest” on this trip due to a Hiking Club member not being able to go at the last minute, said, “After spending weeks in Alaska a few years back, I suppose that 11 degrees didn’t bother me too much. I was grateful for the experience of seeing Northern Arizona and experiencing a part of Arizona that I don’t get to very often. Thanks, Mr. Somoza, for this opportunity!”
The Hiking Club members were welcomed to Tucson and 80-degree temperatures on Tuesday, March 20.
President senior Annette Durazo said, “I loved this trip—it was truly an out of this world experience—but it was also nice to return to sunshine and warm temperatures in Tucson. This was my first time to the Grand Canyon, and I’m certainly planning to return some day. I’m proud of my hiking team peers that they united during this trip—truly, we seemed like one family looking out for one another.”
The Hiking Club is planning one last outing this school year—to Sedona, Ariz., on May 12.
It seems that almost every teenager today in the 21st century is on his or her phone for hours each day—playing video games or exploring social media. However, communications media technology teacher Mr. Ernesto Somoza is changing pastimes for many of our Pueblo Warriors. He is the sponsor/adviser of the schools hiking club.
When Somoza initiated this club two years ago, only a handful of students committed to being in the hiking club. But, through the word of mouth and some promotion, the hiking club has more than 30 Pueblo students.
This school year, Somoza is planning to take the club to new levels—including a trip to the Grand Canyon in the spring.
During this past summer, Somoza was already researching trips to Tumamoc Hill, Sabino Canyon, the Tucson Mountains—among other locations in Southern Arizona.
“Arizona is a hiker’s paradise,” Somoza said. “Even around Tucson, there are wonders to be explored for the average hiker. I look forward to experiencing these local treasures sometime this school year.”
The Hiking Club meets every first Tuesday of the month, and they hike once a month.
“Right now we’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon which will be for about 10 students,” Somoza said. “We’ll be spending a couple days there! This will be happening sometime in the spring, although I haven’t set a definite date yet.”
He added that there is still room in the club for any students still interested in joining the Hiking Club. Somoza said that students do not need any experience hiking because there are several levels of hikers in the club.
“I will make accommodations for all levels of hikers,” Somoza said.
Please see Mr. Ernesto Somoza in Room T-12 after school every first Tuesday of the month if you are interested or curious about the club.