Wilderness Weekly 5.27.22

Photo Credit: Rosalie DiRado

Goannas:

This week in the west desert of Utah, the Goannas had an exciting week full of bonding and building a positive culture. Adventurous Silverback received their trail name and Giga Blowfish received the Solid Ground token. Giga Blowfish was honored for his ability to pull himself from behaviors restricting his progress and lead the group in profound ways for exponential growth. We accomplished two day hikes this week: exploring Broad Canyon and peaking a mountain full of cliffs and quartz crystals. We also accomplished two pack hikes as well.

Leaving our therapy site is a challenge as it has been our home for multiple nights. Giga Blowfish led the Goannas with patience, persistence, and love. Our second pack hike we traveled the plains for nearly 5 miles to the sandiest site in all the land: Oasis–named for paradise. Students expressed their creative side spending time working on detailed projects like a dream catcher, didgeridoo, and  spoons. Enthusiastically, the group is building a strong busting culture by every member completing their set with a bottom board, bow, top rock, and spindles. Goannas initiated time throughout the week to complete their therapy assignments. Our community was full of strong willed Goannas. We battled the urge of inappropriate conversations and actions and were able to recognize poor decisions to lift each other’s spirits and recognizing greatness  in a constructive manner. Admiral Mustang was nervous for his parent visit, and afterwards he expressed he couldn’t help but smile. Towards the end of the week we received two new group members. We were excited for the new energy and welcomed them with open arms. Giga Blowfish and Admirable Mustang left the group temporarily to experience adventurous PEAK week. We held a goodbye ceremony for Spirited Panther as he stepped away to reflect on his time here at outbACK before departing soon.

Pindaris:

The Pindari started off the week with Relentless Lobster moving on from outBACK and the whole group coming together to support and wish him a heartfelt goodbye. We had three thrilling adventures throughout the week playing Dungeons and Dragons, written and guided by one creative student. Another student made a lacrosse stick out of willow, leather, and a bug net, showcasing his own creativity.

We had a slow start to our first pack hike, but the students uplifted one another to get packed up and going. The next site became home for a couple days with two day hikes. The first day hike was a failed attempt to find cottonwood, but became a win when we got to enjoy sweet, fresh watermelon and have an insightful gathering about overcoming hardship. The next day we intended to peak Dutch mountain, but when a staff got injured the group supported him and found other ways to make the day productive: we played a game that taught them how to control emotions and facilitated a trail name ceremony for newly named Endangered Butterfly. The next pack hike was a long one, and students were efficient in packing up and getting on the road. With lots of water breaks and encouragement, we had a smooth and productive hike and set up at the next site with ease. A student blew his first coal into flames, while another finished his busting set and came very close to busting a coal! This week was packed full of singing parties, creativity, and growth for each and every student. The group has learned to work as a team, with every student stepping up and learning how to be a leader in their own ways. Go Pindari!

Ulurus:

The Uluru had a lot of growth this week!

The growing pains were real this week, with a few new students added to the group things were bound to change. Nothing, however, was too much for the resilient Uluru to handle! Throughout the week of getting to know each other, friendships were made and strengthened. Accompanied by all of this growth was a trail name and token ceremony, the name decided upon was Spirited Obsidian. This ceremony was a great moment of connection and bonding between the students.

Many animals were seen throughout the week as well! At our first campsite, we found a gopher snake and endearingly named it Anthony, who was then hung out in its own area near the site for the next 4 days. Lizards were seen, rabbits were seen, and even a second snake on our first hike of the week, who looked suspiciously like Anthony. The Uluru crushed 4 hikes this week, with of them being pack hikes and 2 as day hikes. One of the pack hikes was all cross country over hills and down valleys. It may not have been the longest hike, but its difficulty challenged all the students. Despite the challenge, the group rallied and helped each other successfully navigate the difficult terrain. The day hikes were both very eventful and were met with enthusiasm by the group. One of the hikes brought us to the top of a peak with an amazing view where we discovered an abandoned mine, sparking several creative songs! The other day hike led to a wealth of valuable materials at outBACK–wood! Not just any wood, however, some of the rarest to be encountered in the field: willow, which can be made into optimal pack frames and fire sets. We also encountered another of the rarest wood in the field, cottonwood, which can also be used for creating impeccable fire sets. The group harvested armfuls and are now eagerly crafting objects with the willow and cottonwood this week. Many of the gatherings focused around attitude, and in honor of the student’s growth and positive attributes four Uluru were awarded tokens throughout the week.

At times the week was difficult. but as always. the resilient Uluru became stronger because of it!

Brumbies

This week in the Brumbies!

We started off our time together working on skills and first camp assignments such as leather straps for backpacks, spoons, keepers pouches, and first camp books. We also took the time to relax around camp, enjoy the shade, and get to know one another better before setting out on our next week of planned hikes.

This week the Brumbies accomplished 3 hikes that were challenging to say the least, but the group’s ability to pull through, support one another, and find endurance was a pretty cool feat. One of these hikes was a day hike where we were able to explore Judd Canyon, a cool area of the west desert with running streams, historical cabins, and petroglyphs. Some of the group harvested a rare type of wood called willow, used to make all kinds of different things such as U-frame backpacks, chairs, and spoons. Dapper Moose found a cow skull they wanted to bring home to mount on their bedroom wall. We even saw a double rainbow in a circle around the sun!

Throughout the week one of our fellow members Mindful Raven entertained us and taught everyone how to play a really fun game called “Ravens Town”. It was so much fun that everyone was constantly asking to play! This game brought the group together in many ways but that’s not to say there were not any challenges or conflict. The group hit a couple bumps in the road that led to a long group discussion/gathering on the heart at war, heart at peace. Everyone was able to respectfully and maturely share who they were in the box with and why. It was one of the most significant highlights of the week, so much so that the staff decided to do a ceremony to honor each student with the token Making Amends and one of our fellow staff with Peace Walker  for his amazing ability to help us all navigate the difficult situation. This week had its challenges but there were also many stellar moments. Signing off on another good week in the Brumbies.

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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.