Wilderness Weekly 1.6.23


This week was a week filled with adventure and introspection as the Goannas headed down south to kick off the new year! They excitedly got prepared for their adventure expedition with the help of everyone in the group. We managed to not only listen to “Way of the Peaceful Warrior”, but we also shared lots of laughs along the way. We got to camp with plenty of daylight to explore and hunt for rocks and the night ended with setting up our shelter and making dinner. The first day of our adventure expedition was filled with teaching the Goannas how to trust themselves and others with rock climbing. That evening, our group gathering was filled with the Goannas rekindling their bond as a group.

On this week’s adventure expedition, we embarked on many activities. After traversing through the lava tubes of Snow Canyon we related the experience to how we can do hard things despite it being a new experience. The hikes through the southern Utah landscape were a wonderful time to process and reflect on the hikes we have in the West Desert. The red rock landscape was sprinkled in lava rocks and desert vegetation of a wide variety that could be seen in every direction.

We ended our week in Little Sahara, where we held feedback gathering with one another to discuss what we as students and guides could improve on and what we did well to support one another as well as ourselves. We headed back to our campsite and were welcomed by a beautiful 9-inch blanket of snow. We made the necessary adjustments to our shelter and camp site, and we collectively exhaled with gratitude on completing another successful adventure expedition.


As the entire field focused on the theme of Resilience this week, the Kangaroos faced several opportunities to epitomize this value. Kicking things off, the students were able to prove their mettle by persevering through several bouts of wintery weather that passed through the field. It was imperative that each student stayed on top of maintaining their gear and be proactive in planning ahead throughout the day. They also had to work as a team to get camp tasks done quickly and efficiently to combat challenges the weather brought us. Despite the myriad of emotions everyone experienced, they were able to beat the weather and the blues by teaming up and supporting one another.

Our Kangaroos also proved their resilience by pushing themselves on their hikes throughout our backcountry expedition this week. As some students struggled with their packs and started doubting their ability to keep going, the group supported and encouraged them, giving them the confidence they needed to reach the end. And once they arrived at the next site and got themselves settled in, they were able to revel in their amazing camaraderie by having fun as they played several games together.

This week was a game of trying to stay ahead and catching up when we fell behind. Even as the Roos faced the challenges presented to them, they were able to learn a tremendous amount about how to navigate difficult experiences through productive, supportive, and healthy coping skills. As they banded together, they were able to recognize that they are even more capable than they had realized, and as they looked beyond themselves and extended patience to others in trying times, everyone could grow together.


This week the Ulurus were presented with a variety of challenges that allowed for the opportunity to grow both independently and as a group. The group found new ways to navigate challenging situations and offer each other support. The Ulurus got creative and found diverse ways to have fun. The group worked out using water jugs, built fake furniture out of snow to create a living room in our main camp, made new recipes, sewed leather bags with pockets to hold a variety of things, and put together their fire making sets. The students even created a new game that resembled Dungeons and Dragons called Campfires and Conquests.

The Ulurus also did a lot of therapeutic and emotional work this week. With the start of the new year there was a lot of intention put into how everyone wants to go into it. One of our fellow guides led a gathering on new year’s resolutions and placed an emphasis on the importance of setting realistic and attainable goals. We talked about how it is easy to set ourselves up for failure when we set too many goals that are too big because we can become discouraged and want to give up when we do not meet them fast enough. If we set small goals that can be achieved more quickly, we feel more motivated and inspired to keep growing our goals. The group also focused on therapy assignments like the story of the lotus eaters, which talks about Odysseus and his 10-year journey home. This was followed up with a handful of questions about the things in their lives that are appealing and temporary to them but are holding them back and hindering their relationships.

One of our fellow students was also honored with their trail name, Muscular Storm. This was chosen because of the strong impact the student makes in the group and the leadership they carry. Two guides and one student were also honored with tokens. The first guide was honored with strong cord and the second was honored with Solid ground. The student who was presented with a token also received the Solid Ground token for the hard work they put into keeping the group together and their positive attitude in stressful situations. Although there were some challenges, there was so much creativity, fun and growth that the group experienced along the way.

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