Here at RRO we are constantly encouraged to expand our skills and have new experiences. Well, I just got back from the most amazing adventure that I have had yet! I spent 3 months sleeping outside in the American Southwest with the National Outdoor Leadership School. We were in the wild areas of Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico – backpacking, canoeing, and rock climbing. I fell deeply in love with being outside in all sorts of weather and really getting to know and appreciate the places that you are in. There is no better way to get to know an area then diving in and exploring the natural features through outdoor sports.
During the two week backpacking section we woke up with frozen water bottles every day and were constantly surprised and excited with what the desert threw our way. We did a lot of off trail navigation and found that if something is not sharp in the desert it makes your entire day better. For our two week canoeing section down the Rio Grande we experienced super long, fun days and learned the importance of adding a little flavor to our lives – I now love hot sauce. I think my favorite section was three weeks base camping at Cochise Stronghold in AZ. This is probably my favorite because I got to push myself in new skills every day as hard as I wanted to. We spent two weeks on the west side of Cochise that looked somehow a lot like the Serengeti, it was magical and the sunsets every night were astounding. The last two weeks of school we spent backpacking in New Mexico in the Gila Wilderness, which is the first designated wilderness area. We spent a the last week without instructors and I lead my group through a successful completion of the planned route. We saw everything from mountain lions, arrowheads, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and wolf tracks. We experienced everything from intense heat, hail storms, a snow thunderstorm, and dry creek beds. Basically, I loved every minute of it.
Now I have brought all of my experiences back to River Rock and I am so excited to get out and play! There really is adventure in any direction and I fully intend to take advantage of every single one.