This week in the Goannas we all spent time getting to know one another and adjusting to the beginning of a new week.
The Goannas also said goodbye to one of our fellow members, Steady Snowfall, partaking in a fun burrito night in honor of and per request of our parting student. To kick off our time together we all spent a good amount of time on making wooden backpacks from juniper trees, carving spoons and chopsticks, and sewing bags for carrying books, snacks, and other miscellaneous supplies. These supplies came in handy all throughout the week, especially during our hikes. The group had to make new adjustments and overcome the challenges of a new environment and group dynamic, but the support everyone was able to offer each other made all the difference in the world. The veteran students all stepped up to set the example for others and kept things running smoothly throughout the week. At the end of our first hike day, the students faced a hill which they could choose to walk around or over and all of them chose together to summit the hill despite their weariness. At the top they were rewarded with a view of junipers and sagebrush that stretched miles into the distance. Each individual accomplished so much and even found ways to have fun in the desert, including lots of hacky-sack and lively singing and talking around the fire during dinner.
We held several ceremonies this week, including one on top of a big hill near our site with a beautiful lookout over the snowy desert. Golden Season led ceremonies to honor two members of the group with their trail names. Our fellow staff was given the name Peaceful Lotus and our fellow student was given the name Insightful Willow. Additionally, six tokens were given this week to honor staff and students alike, including the Vital Fire, Brightness, and Openness tokens.
Through welcoming new students to the group and saying goodbye to another, the group accomplished 2 hikes, worked on new skills, and got to know one another better. Signing off on another successful week with the Goannas.
The Pindari began this weeks’ adventure with sunshine and good vibes. The sun was a constant theme throughout the week and the strength of the sun reflected the strength of this group! On Wednesday with the sun shining and the sounds of bull roars, Unbroken Bear reunited with his family during their parent visit. By the end of week they blew their 10th and 11th coal into flames. On Thursday, our first trek in the desert brought us to a beautiful site where the Pindaris set records at how fast they put up shelter and main camp. The gathering at this site was centered around the topic of the earth and how we connect to Her. The group enjoyed paying their respects back to the land. After two more hikes near the tall and elegant Red Pine Mountain the group arrived at an open and whimsical therapy site. Throughout the week we found time to have S.A.M.s (sunset appreciation moments), where we took time to see the colors dance in the sky. We also saw two different ceremonies this week. At the first ceremony one student was honored with the Maker token for the way they made new choices and an open mindset here at outBACK. One field guide was also given their trail name (Vibrant Sunset) from the group. On Monday a special ceremony was created for Energetic Mongoose to help them with an important event that was happening later that day. The ceremony was a good vibes/calming mindset ceremony. Energetic Mongoose received a calming stone that had the design of a circle and all 4 elements (wind, water, fire, earth) to help them with balance and mindset. Others in the group expressed advice, positivity, and support. The rest of the week was filled with working on Ngarnas, chatting around the campfire, spoon making, busting coals, skills and some games.
This week’s adventure ended with the group gathered together in a sage field while a beautiful sunset dipped down behind Indian Peak. The sunset’s colors coating the sky was a sure sign that the Pindari’s upcoming week will be just as magical as this last one.
p.s. The Pindari’s challenge to you this week is to take some time to appreciate a sunset- and when you do, know the Pindari group is out in the West Desert doing the same.
It’s now the time of year where a “pre-changing of the seasons” begins–the snow is melting and the Uluru can look to the sky to welcome a long lost sun as an old friend. Speaking of welcomes, we began this week with guiding some visiting parents to see their long lost “sun” and the Uluru constructed a ceremony circle with a rock tower center to honor a staff with a trail name. A mysterious visitor trotted into the vicinity of the site: a horse by the name of Cobra, a former wild stallion who may quite possibly have called this very desert home at one point in his life.
Cobra the horse is an old soul who carries a load of life lessons to teach the Uluru. Though we can neither confirm nor deny if Cobra has a valid degree in therapeutic training, he certainly has a unique gift for being a therapist of little-to-no words. On the outside looking in, it may seem as though the Uluru were guiding Cobra on a small obstacle course, in his humble reverence, it was Cobra who was guiding the Uluru through the obstacle of life.
The Uluru engaged in two hikes this week, each being 2.8 miles. They arose promptly to the challenges ahead and faced the hike days in style. They traversed along tree lines, crossed the desert plains, climbed atop juniper encrusted hills, all the while snapping some good photos of sunsets on their disposable cameras. In this day and age, there is no proper adventuring without a well placed photography break.
When the Uluru finally placed their feet amongst their most recent therapy site, we were welcomed by the sight of a steep, rocky hill which we utilized as a special place to honor one another with yet another ceremony circle. Everyone received Tokens. Exotic Raven received the Strong Cord and Maker tokens, Chipper Canary and Electric Scorpion received Making Amends token in recognition of their growth and desire to continue upon the same path, one of our newer Uluru, who has yet to receive their trail name, did receive the Openness and Giver tokens in recognition of their attitude in embracing the desert and all they have to offer. Resilient Moon, received a Peacemaker token in recognition for their ability to thrive through the good and hard times of the desert. During their goodbye ceremony they received the Uluru token that symbolizes the pillars of our group: Resilience, Integrity, Spirit, and Empathy.
All in all, this was a week of rising to new heights, conquering fears, and personal growth. As the desert sun sets on this glorious week, we are honored to have basked in the shining glory of Uluru.