Here's my comment:
Oh wow, Karen, I love (LOVE) this chart from David Kolb. My immediate sense is: that is my life!!! And of course I would love to make that dynamic sense of growth through experience a part of my students' lives also (as opposed to just doing the minimum to get the grade to get the degree, etc.). So, I'm bookmarking that image to put in my class announcements for sure.
I don't know what you think about the question of TIME, but I am more and more convinced that this is one of the essentials. That kind of process (experiencing, reflecting, applying, generalizing) is something that benefits from more time rather than less time. Your backpacking trips with the students, for example, sound like a very precious gift of both time and focus, so different from the hurried and hectic way of life we take for granted in schooling.
Again and again it seems to me that LACK OF TIME is what is holding us back. Teachers don't have enough time to devise and experiment, not enough time for their own processes of experience-reflect-apply-generalize, and also, of course, not enough time for one-on-one engagement with students. And so too with students: not enough time to just explore and think, not enough time for their own experience-reflect-apply-generalize, and not enough time to really benefit from what school can offer.
So when an experiment goes awry, when a class does not go well, when a student has not learned something... it can be so hard to disentangle the factors: is the problem with the "thing" itself (the experiment, the class, whatever)... or is just an accursed lack of time that is the problem...?
And if the answer is that we need more time, I think we have to be prepared to STOP doing some of the things we are doing now that we judge as less valuable. But it was only when I resigned my job as a tenure-track faculty member and became an instructor that I finally gained CONTROL of my time. For many college instructor, it feels (and probably rightly so) that they don't really have a lot of choice...
How does time work for you? For your students? I feel pretty good about my time situation. My students, though, I suspect are pretty frantic...