Photo Essay: Through the eyes of Lauren Robson in quarantine

By Nyah Fernandez , Multimedia Editor

This photo essay is a part of the Oracle photo essay series called “Through the Eyes of.” This series features students, faculty and staff at Archer and uses photo, audio and video to depict their individual experience at Archer. This particular photo essay uses text and images. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the regulations surrounding it, big get-togethers with friends, vacations, spending time at the beach and other classic summer experiences were all limited or ceased to happen. With this unique situation, people around the world were advised to stay home, even during their summer break. However, junior Lauren Robson did the opposite while still being safe from COVID-19.

Junior Lauren Robson and her family climb the final part of the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. (Photo credit: Lauren Robson)

Robson said she “loved” her NOLS  experiences throughout her time at Archer so she decided to try it again in the summer of 2019 in Wyoming. This was Robson’s introduction to mountain climbing, and she liked it so much that she decided to try it with her family this summer as the experience was COVID safe.

During Robson’s summer 2020 trip, the family first ascended two mountains in Southern California, Mount Baldy and Wilson, and then headed to Colorado to ascend Wilson Peak, a Class 3 mountain in Colorado.

“I had to use crampons and ice peaks, which was pretty intense,” Robson said. “It was an amazing and rewarding experience to summit a mountain that is over 14 thousand feet.”

In addition, Robson and her dad summited the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park located in California, a granite dome with an elevation of almost 9,000 feet. Robson explained it as “equally challenging” in contrast to the Colorado mountain, even though it was less elevation, as there was extreme heat.

“It was really rewarding in the end, and as I look back on my experience it was challenging but at the same time, I felt great knowing it was something that I can achieve,” Robson said. “This experience will definitely be something I can remember, unlike the rest.”

Robson said that she fell more in love with mountain climbing than she ever has this summer. She finds this activity as a great way to get outdoors and to be with nature.

“What I love about mountain climbing is that it is a great activity to do during quarantine,” Robson said.  “You know you’re not really around other people, it definitely felt safe. It was a sense of comfort.”

Robson, who runs cross country and track for Archer, said she felt mountain climbing was a good way of getting outdoors and keeping in shape through summer amidst a pandemic.

“I did cross country last fall and then I missed out on this track season because of the virus,” Robson said. “I definitely miss the physical challenge of cross country and track, so I decided to put that energy into training to climb mountains over the summer.”

Apart from scaling mountains, Robson has kept herself busy with various activities in quarantine such as attending an 8-week online college class at UCLA for psychology while working on her service learning project called “Students to Seniors” which encourages connections between youth and elderly individuals during this time of isolation.

At Robson’s house, she is on a call with homebound seniors for “Students to Seniors”. (Photo credit: Lauren Robson)

Additionally, Robson took an 8-week program by PENN (University of Pennsylvania), which focused on social innovation. During this program, she was asked to identify a problem that would create value in the world today.

“I focused on families who face food insecurity. I meet with the leaders at Meals on Wheels, which is an organization that helps deliver meals to older people that can’t leave their homes,” Robson said.

Robson feels that seniors citizens don’t really struggle with the lack of food but struggle with maintaining social interaction, especially during the pandemic.

“They are the most vulnerable population because a lot of seniors can’t leave their home and many of them have limited family and friends who they can talk to,” Robson said. 

In the summers, Robson’s family loves to travel together to different places and to learn about different cultures. She said that each time her family plans a trip together it is a “really great” bonding experience, especially during the quarantine.

“During quarantine, we got to spend a lot of time together and I think that is what we all truly valued,” Robson said. “We went on a little mini road trip this summer just to keep up our tradition and did it the safest way we could.” 

Robson said she felt that the quarantine has made her family have a stronger bond than before. Since her family is always busy they decided to the quarantine to their advantage and spend more time with each other by mountain climbing and going on mini road trips, all while safely maintaining COVID-19 guidelines.

“My brother is really busy and we never get the time to focus on each other or spend quality time together,” Robson said. “This summer has given us that opportunity and it doesn’t really feel forced, it feels natural and I think we really appreciated this time to just spend quality together with one another.” 

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  • Junior Lauren Robson uses crampons to hike up the snow on Wilson Peak in Colorado. Robson and her dad reached an elevation of 14,016 feet on this summit.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

  • The granite Half Dome in Yosemite National Park from the half way point.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

  • Robson enjoys the views from the top of Mount Wilson in the San Gabriel Mountains.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

  • Robson poses with her dad at the top of Half Dome. “Spectacular to see in person, Half Dome rises 4,737 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley at an elevation of 8,844 feet above sea level,” Yosemite Mariposa Country said.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

  • Robson stops for a break and posing next to the sign saying 2 more miles left.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

  • Robson on the top of Mount Wilson in Colorado.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

  • The final stretch to ascend the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

  • Looking down from the top of Half Dome into the valley below.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

  • Robson enjoys the views from the top of Half Dome. “When I go hiking I don’t listen to music. I just focus on myself and being in nature. It really helps me clear my mind,” Robson said.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

  • Views from the top of Half Dome. “Half Dome the most well-known rock formation in the park, perhaps even in the entire United States.” Yosemite Mariposa Country said.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

  • Sunset view of half dome when Robson’s family first arrived in Yosemite National Park.

    Photo credit: Lauren Robson

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