Wilderness Weekly 10.9.21

bright green leaves with a creek


The Goannas started their week honoring one another in a token ceremony that flowed into a goodbye gathering for one of their elders. Throughout the remainder of the week the group worked on rebuilding their culture, focusing on relationships and trust. The group completed four hikes during the expedition portion of the week with one of them including another peak hike up Red Pine Mountain. They also came together in groups to discuss team dynamics and the power of community, exploring different ways they can support one another transitioning into the West Desert. The seasons are beginning to shift, so the Goannas are having to adapt to their new environment and climate. They were very excited to use fire pits and for the reintroduction of cheese blocks and butter. The Goannas ended their week spending time and working together on their busting sets to all have the ability to contribute to fire making.


This week in the Cassowaries we started off our time together with token ceremonies and beautiful goodbye ceremonies held around the campfire. Each student shared about their experiences here at outBACK and all of their favorite memories. The tokens given were vital fire, strong cord, and giver to honor the attributes each student has that the group sees in them. The next morning the group said goodbye, wishing students the best of their next journeys in life.

There were some somber emotions of saying goodbye yet the rest of the cassowaries had the chance to sit down and share their goals and how everyone could best support them throughout the rest of the week. Altogether everyone completed a multitude of beautiful hikes, the temperature was a bit cooler and the leaves of all the trees were changing colors from greens, to oranges and reds. The students had time to work on their fire making sets, with one student even making their first solo flame. They made moccasins, and fix up their backpacks. Our final hike this week led us to a large space up in the mountains full of oak, massive Juniper trees, and even a stream running through our camp.This is where the Cassowaries held more token ceremonies and sacred ceremonies for their fellow peers. The tokens given were strong cord and winged heart to honor the leadership and resilience of students. During the goodbye ceremony we shared our time around the fire laughing most of the night. Through the up’s and the down’s, the challenges of saying goodbye, difficult hikes and making fire, the group overcame many things this week and saw many beautiful views. Signing off on another good week in the cassowaries.


The Brumbies excelled this week at processing their feelings, communicating with the group and pushing through challenging and growing moments. The Brumbies completed all 4 of their hikes this week, with two of them being cross country. When members struggles on the hikes, and at other points they all had moments where they showed up to support each other. Between a parent visit and parent letters a lot of the week was spent connecting around families. The Brumbies focused their energies into games and honoring each other. One student was awarded the giver token, another their trail name and students honored two staff with patches. When conflict arose the Brumbies met their challenges with insight, and even when making mistakes were willing to process and repair relationships.


This week the group got to experience some changes. Some of the students went out to experience Peak Week and the remainder of the group got to hike through the beautiful foliage in and around Red Pine Mountain. The welcomed cooler temperatures and moisture and the group was excited about unjoying their time around the campfires. This week, the students demonstrated resilience as they honed their skills in packing, knot tying, making fire, and setting up personal shelters. One of the students also received their trail name, Resilient Lightning. The group had an overall great week and even had the chance to become overly excited about utilizing cheese and butter into their cooking regiments!

The Peak Week crew had an instantaneous level of connection this week and they made any situation into a high energy fun experience. During our rock climbing progression, they enjoyed the climbs, encouraged each other, and even raced each other in side by side races. The group made a trek at Snow Canyon State park where they got to hike on the petrified dunes and in the canyons of the park. They took personal time below the cliffs in one of the canyons where we got an opportunity to explore behind a detached pillar. The students enjoyed new foods they were offered and took full advantage of the snacks they were given. The students did a lot of processing about next steps and what comes after outBACK and seemed much more prepared to transition from the desert and onto their next adventures after their experiences during peak week. At the end of the week the students all said their goodbyes and talked about how much they enjoyed spending time laughing and exploring southern Utah with each other.

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