07 October 2013

Weekend Trip and College Outdoors


This last weekend I took a much needed trip with College Outdoors. I've talked some about them already, but basically College Outdoors is a super awesome group that runs outdoors trips and programs on the weekends. There's a really wide variety of trips- some are science based, some specific activity based (like yoga), and some are enjoying the scenery based (though you do this on every trip!). I've done a fair number of trips in the past:
My first trip was my New Student Trip. The main point was to set up plots for the ecology class to use for ivy studies, but we had a lot of free time to explore Oregon. This picture is from the day we hiked by the coast. We also got to do a hike by Mt. Hood, and a hike in the Columbia River Gorge. I definitely recommend doing an NST before you come here for orientation- I'm still friends with people from this trip!
My second trip was fall of my freshman year. It was a "yoga on the coast" trip, and we went for a weekend to a state park on the coast. It was pretty rainy, but we got to do a hike in addition to all of the yoga.
My third trip was early last spring. It was a birding trip, and we went to a wildlife refuge just across the border in Washington. As you can see, we saw lots of birds!
My fourth trip was kayaking in Scappoose Bay, which is on the Columbia River. It was my first time kayaking, and I liked it! I'm actually going kayaking at Scappoose again in a few weeks- with College Outdoors!
My last trip for freshman year was a waterfall and wildflower hike in the Columbia River Gorge. We went to the dry side of the mountains and saw a ton of wildflowers, then stopped on our way back at this waterfall.
I started early with CO this year. My first weekend back, I student-coordinated a watershed tour. College Outdoors has a nice system for how you can become involved. You start as a participant, then apply to begin student-coordinating trips. As an SC, you get to participate in the process of planning a trip and learn about the CO system. You help others get any gear they made need for the trip, and get to practice leadership skills. Eventually,you can begin moving up the "leader ladder," as CO calls it, and can become an assistant leader and then a trip leader. Student coordinators get to go on the trip for half price, assistant leaders go for free, and trip leaders are paid to go.
On the watershed tour, we got to see where Portland's water comes from. This is a dam we saw!
This last weekend, I went to the desert on an astronomy and geology trip. It was really interesting, and really relaxing. We left after dinner on Friday, and drove for about three hours to some cabins near Madras. It was a really peaceful drive- I had forgotten how nice it is to drive at night. Once we got to our cabins, we sat outside and learned about some astronomy. It was really clear, and because it was a new moon it was really dark. We saw a lot of stars, and the milky way. The next morning we woke up and had breakfast, then went on a 7-mile hike. It was gorgeous, and I had never seen terrain like where we were before.
Our hike was really steep initially, but it was a giant plateau once we were at the top. The river carved out this area, and we talked a lot about the rocks and how they were formed as we hiked.
The views were really nice- we could see a lot of the major mountains in the Cascades, and the weather was great. That afternoon we sat by the water near our campsite and just relaxed. When it got dark we learned about more astronomy and sat and watched the stars for a while. Sunday we packed up and headed back to school, but we stopped at a waterfall on the way.
It was really pretty.
Once we got back to campus we cleaned up and returned everything we used. I came back to my dorm and showered, then did all of the homework I neglected during the weekend. It was so nice to be able to leave for the weekend and step back and look at the bigger picture of things. It's so easy to get caught up in all the work you have to do.

I'm going to be pretty busy with College Outdoors for the next few weeks- I'm going kayaking in two weeks, on a student coordinator orientation trip the week after that, and hopefully on a mushroom hunting trip the weekend after that. I'll be busy, but it's worth it!

This week is a short week, because of fall break- we have next Thursday and Friday off. I don't have any major plans. I may go apple picking with my brother and sister-in-law. I'll probably catch up on any homework and also on sleep. My work load is definitely intense, but I'm learning a lot of interesting things.

If you have any questions about college outdoors, the application process, or anything related to LC, email me at rekidder@lclark.edu.

I hope that all of your applications are going well- I know you can get through them!