Wilderness Weekly 2.18.22

Photo Credit: Will Stewart; Unsplash

Goannas:

This week the Goannas overcame a new set of challenges to emerge an even stronger and closer group than ever. The beginning of the week brought news of the departure of the most senior student, Golden Season, who was honored with the Letting Go token.

The Goannas hiked four days this week, including one day hike to explore an old ranch down the road. Throughout these hike days the group was blessed with warm sunshine and clear skies. They moved so quickly on the trail that there was even time for working on skills and taking personal time at the site after the hike. Several students made progress on their busting sets, and nearly every student got a coal this week.

After their oldest student left, the group was faced with the challenge of re-making their social dynamic with one less person. Though there were some disagreements at the beginning of the week, they were slowly replaced with joking and games as time passed and the group began to find its groove. By the end of the week, the group was laughing around the fire about the challenges they had faced getting along just a week ago.

There was plenty of time for ceremony this week, including several tokens such as Giver and Openness. On Sunday, the Goannas honored student Magnificent Goat with his trail name. Throughout the week, the group faced difficulties from each other and the desert, but emerged on top as a united group ready to face the next week.

Pindaris:

This week in the Pindari the group worked hard on overcoming a variety of physical, emotional, and mental challenges which they handled with absolute grace. Together we accomplished 2 different hikes, one being a 6 mile pack hike which everyone felt very accomplished about. On the subsequent 5 mile day hike, we took the time to play various games and enjoy the sunny weather from atop a beautiful ridge with a stunning view of the field below.

In gatherings, the group discussed a variety of topics: breaking unhealthy cycles and recognizing what they look like, and how to overcome them. We had a parent visit which was also very exciting–the students took interest and supported their peer in the next step of their journey. The group had amazing energy, were all very supportive of one another, and found opportunities for laughter–not to mention the phenomenal weather of nothing but clear blue skies and sunny days.

3 students were given new tokens to honor the positive attributes everyone sees in them: Unbroken Bear received Solid Ground, Radiant Sequoia received his trail name and hewed stone, and one of our newer students received Openness. Unbroken Bear and Radiant Sequoia also received the Pindari token–a rare token given to those who exemplify the pillars of the Pindari as well as leadership and compassion amongst the group. Signing off on another amazing week in the Pindari 

Ulurus:

The Uluru, a group named after the biggest rock in the world, rocked it this week. This was a week with hard goodbyes and warm hellos as we began our week sending off one of our senior Uluru back into civilization and on the same day a new Uluru rolled into the group– a big personality and handshake to match, and so, the life cycle of the Uluru continues its upward spin through continuous success in the wilderness.

We started our week building packs and working on busting sets. Since most of the kiddos were still rather new, they were eager to learn new skills. We engaged in a 3.5 mile day hike through some surrounding mountains–quite possibly the Uluru’s natural habitat as some were outpacing staff. 

2 days later after packs were built, we engaged in a 3 mile pack hike to our next site, the Uluru took 10-minute turns carrying our hiking water. This hike was the first pack-hike for several of the Uluru, all of whom conquered the distance and braved the desert heat. We arrived to our next site with flying colors cheering, hooting, and hollering, as the Uluru stared at their pre-hike anxiety in the face and overcame it.

We ended our week with a trail name ceremony for our most senior Uluru, a happy-go-lucky individual who has called the desert their home now for 4.5 weeks. We are honored to celebrate Playful Polaris and the time she has put into Outback. She has been a great example to all the incoming kiddos and watching her embrace the program has been a treat. 

All-in-all, through the ups and downs, through warm and windy days, the Uluru improvised and adapted. We, as staff, are simply lucky to stand and behold the Uluru in all their blazing glory.

 

Boom:

This week one Pindari went off into the desert on a solo journey with two guides. The journey started in a valley between the beautiful Red Pine mountain and the striking Indian Peak. At a campsite surrounded by bendy juniper trees this Pindari reflected on being out here in the west desert. The week mainly consisted of slow walks through a huge sage field. Among the aroma of sage, the strong beams of sunlight and the grand view of mountain ranges, this Pindari and his guides had talks on a wide array of topics. Topics included equity and equality, camping, skiing, future plans, and much more.

Time was also spent around the campfire making tea and food, discussing gratefuls and having gatherings. Throughout the week this they observed many different skills that can be done out in the desert including carving spoons and chopsticks, sewing leather pouches to hold belongings, making a leather hacky sack, grinding down a rock into an arrowhead, using a bow drill set to create fire, and more. Every night ended with the warmth of the wood stove and group reading of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The week came to a close with wind blowing through the campsite bringing with it a dusting of snow and the start of a new week. In the words of The Alchemist, hopefully this snow is an omen of the new adventures and changes to come!

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COVID-19 Update

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.