Schooligans on the Move to the Owyhee Canyonlands!

Alzar School | 02.10.14

When this post is posted we will be day four into our epic backpacking trip in the Owyhee Canyonlands- giggling, playing, and running around with the company of the wild horses. Our route through the Owyhee Canyonlands will take us over part of the Oregon Desert Trail- the woman team starting their trek at the Owyhee Lake State Park, and man team starting their hike north from Leslie Gulch. Four days in, when this is posted, the teams will be hammering out the last miles before one last good sleep out under the desert sky, and then reaching the other team’s starting point and the awaiting vehicles to bring us home.

Maximum group size limits for our route necesitated a split. Taking advantage of this opportunity, we split groups by gender, giving the young women some time to be empowered by themselves and eachother in the backcountry, taking full accountability for their power and ability, and the men some time to practice sharing responsibilities, working as a team, and learn the balance of leadership and active following. Both groups will take their burgeoning backcountry skills to the next level as they make meals in independent student cook teams, learn to navigate by map and compass, and practice Leave No Trace ethics in a desert environment. Those students who did not get the oppoetunity to be Leaders of the Day will work in pairs to lead their peers through our cross country route. The smaller groups will also allow for some more one on one time and a chance for us all to dive into some deeper bonding.

We are all really excited to be headed off into the desertscape that awaits us. As our very own Mimi Bourdeaux reminisied on how during the orientation expedition she had expected to suffer during the backpack but was pleasantly surprised at how walking was one of the only activities a person has the endurence to do all day and then how accomplished she felt at the end of a day. And as Harrison Grant remarked how he is looking forward to the efficiency of travel and activities that will come with the smaller groups.

The weekend prior to leaving we went on a hike outside of our very own Cascade, on the Eagle Nest Trail, and the air was filled with laughter, enthusiasm for the outdoors, and goofiness. we expect to see a continuation of this weekend hike: trucking, and doing the cha cha and the disco slide all the way down the trail.

Check out this link and watch the video to see a few breathtaking pictures of the environment we will be immersed in!