Florida native and self-identified city kid Reza Darvish recently joined 10 fellow Whitman College students on a week-long NOLS expedition in Utah's Canyonlands. For Reza, the trip was a transformative experience--the rapport he formed with his coursemates taught him important lessons in community-building and helped him successfully navigate the challenges of canyoneering for the first time.
"Two weeks ago, I came back from the Utah Canyonlands in the southern deserts of Utah, with a group of 10 other people on a hiking trip that lasted one week. We lugged 50 lb. backpacks, climbed and descended canyons and navigated off-trail with our eyes, maps and persistence.
This is new for me; I was born and raised in Miami, Fla., where there are absolutely no hills, and much less any canyons. I am a city kid with no prior experience backpacking or climbing. On this trip, I transformed. I pushed boundaries I didn’t know I had, to become the rough-necked ruffian I now know myself to be today."