Wilderness Weekly 1.14.22

Photo Credit: Ebonee, Meg, Ryan - Field Guide Team@ outBACK


The week began with an elder Goanna known to us as Resilient Monarch,  prepare for his departure from outBACK as he is now ready to continue his journey outside of the program. This meant that the leadership roles in the group have now shifted to two new Goannas: Steady Snowfall (Our emotional leader), and Golden Season (Our logistical leader). This did not deter them one bit. The new leaders welcomed a new Goanna this week with open arms, and immediately showed him the ropes. They were all heavily task oriented, working together to accomplish a common goal to leave campsites during the expedition portion of our week and reach the next by a good time to set up and complete all of our hikes! While making our way to our sites the students showed interest in finding the location using map and compass and this improved their technical skills. Golden Season also was extremely motivated in using his busting set, and got his first fire! It was met with high energy and praise from all of his companions. In other news, Steady Snowfall took time this week to honor his fellow Goannas with tokens for their hard work and dedication to their therapeutic growth, as well as their camaraderie that they have developed over the months. Golden Season received Vital Fire to recognize his determination and energy. Steady Snowfall received Giver to honor his giving attitude and willingness to support the group. Another student received Maker to honor his creativity and resourcefulness with the materials around him, not to mention his phenomenal cooking skills. Through all of the students’ commitments, they have kindled an amazing group culture that will last for the future goannas to come!


The Pindaris absolutely crushed it in the desert this week! The week began with several group members receiving tokens and one group member being honored with his trail name “Energetic Mongoose.” After the token ceremonies, the Pindaris offered some heartfelt goodbye-ceremonies for some of their group members. Each member shared their first impression, favorite memory, and hopes and fears for the future for each of the departing members. It was incredible how the Pindaris held such a sacred space for one another. While it was certainly bittersweet to say goodbye to friends, the group focused on fostering resilience, communication skills, coordination, and maintaining a secure community. The Pindaris continually refined their skills as they learned to effectively and efficiently complete camp tasks. Throughout the week the Pindaris continually supported each other in both a physical capacity with camp-tasks, but also in an emotional capacity. The Pindaris showed resilience and motivation for change as evidenced by completing each hike during expedition phase of the week! The Pindaris were able to witness the fruits of their hard work and determination by shortening the amount of time it took to reach the campsite during each hike. During the final expedition day of our time together, the Pindaris rallied together and collectively decided to peak a small mountain for a day hike. While the hike was certainly strenuous, every group member expressed a sense of pride and satisfaction at being able to behold the gorgeous Utah landscape from the peak of a mountain. While on top of the mountain, group members were honored with a separate token. Energetic Mongoose received Peacewalker, honoring his growth in walking in peace and not letting things get to him. Others also received tokens: Maker for one’s determination to create a foundation of strong culture within the group and Strong Cord to honor one’s incredible resilience. Towards the end of the week one of the group members showed tremendous amounts of vulnerability by being willing to share his life story with the rest of the group around a campfire. To summarize the week, the Pindaris are in an extremely tight-knit spot and fostering a spirit of family and community amongst each other. The Pindaris are refining their wilderness skills and diving into their therapeutic journeys! 


The Ulurus had beautiful weather and morale was high as we completed three hikes throughout the expedition portion of this week!  We started the week with a trail name ceremony that was held by a student for a staff member. A lovely sacred ground was created in the snow for her, and she received the name “Colorful Constellation”. We played glove freeze tag in the snow and had time for students to work on various projects during skills hour. We worked on fire busting sets, bullroarers, and spoons. Our first hike we arrived at an awesome campsite and watched a spectacular sunset. Two staff members busted and blew their first coals into flames which inspired students to work on their busting sets throughout the week, Exotic Raven came close to busting a coal, producing smoke several times! There were gatherings held on The Path of Two Ways, cognitive distortions and thinking errors, fears and hopes for the future and feedback to students and staff. We closed the week with another trail name ceremony for “Chipper Canary” and the token Strong Cord was awarded to Resilient Moon. Strong Cord represented his willingness to help with any and all tasks at hand. Chipper Canary honored a staff member with Brightness, representing her vibrant energy and positive attitude. Chipper Canary and Electric Scorpion are off to Peak for the week and are sure to have many adventures further south. Overall, the Ulurus had a wildly successful week in the desert, we made it to camp before dark every single day and had time to work on projects and enjoy time around the campfire.


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Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is continuing to support families through this unprecedented time. We are closely monitoring information related to COVID-19, adhering to recommendations set forth by CDC, and have implemented additional safety precautions to mitigate risks. To learn more, contact us at 800-817-1899.