Photo by Eryn Pierce.
In January 2019, ten students enrolled in the University of Texas' Canfield Business Honors Program (BHP) participated in an eight-day backpacking expedition in Arizona’s Galiuro Mountains. Their top take-aways from this customized NOLS course ranged from building closer friendships with one other to the paradigm-shifting realization that “cold is a choice.”
“Over the course of eight days in January, ten Canfield BHP students travelled through the Galiuro Mountains of southeastern Arizona. Although conditions were largely cold and wet with intense precipitation, the group also experienced highlights such as making pizza, seeing a full arc double rainbow, throwing a backcountry birthday party, and forging deeper bonds and connections. As a group, we put together our top four take-aways from the trip:
Gaining perspective and making the abstract more concrete
1. In the wilderness, concepts like self-care become real and you actually have to internalize what to do in difficult situations. We had a saying on our trip that we heard on day one: “Cold is a choice.” Essentially, it reminded us that if we were cold, we had to do something about it – put on another layer, do some jumping jacks to generate body heat, etc. This saying applied to any other feeling, such as sensing the start of a blister or being hungry or tired. “It is a simple concept, but one none of us had needed to act on before,” said Sreya. Also, the difficulties we faced on the trip put every day annoyances into perspective: “I complain less about the cold,” said Evie.”
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