This guest post was written by WWO Participant and incoming transfer student Michaela Rhine.  She will be studying Communication Studies  beginning Fall 2014.

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I had the pleasure of travelling to Trinity Alps July 24th-28th with Adventure Outings this summer for W.W.O., or Wild Wilderness Orientation. I was blessed to have Melissa Berndt as the leader and Riley Cox as the assistant leader. The 8 hiking participants included me, Michaela, the transfer student and the freshman, Brittany, Sophia, Alex, Evan, Noah, Dayton, and Austin! From day one it was great, I got dropped off at the WREC and met Brittany right away and we both were so excited, and we gave each other a hug instantly. Then she helped me carry my stuff to the Adventure Outings equipment room, where I met the others with them seeing my first impression me creating pre-judgments of them in my head; I awkwardly shook everyone’s hand. After packing our pack and doing the name game we packed up in the van and went to Trinity Alps! We began having conversations and started to get to know one another.

We stopped at Whiskeytown Lake and my jaw almost fell to the ground, it was that pretty! Then we went to Melissa’s favorite town to get permits at Weaverville and saw scary prisoners on the side of the road and while standing in the heat, we were very thankful we weren’t them! Then after re-routing a few times on the map, we got back on track and arrived at the bumpy 6 mile road to Swift Creek Trail where we started our trip up the trail! Riley taught us all how to use the map and compass before we started. “The first 2 miles are always the hardest,” said Brittany. The rest of the group agreed, but after seeing the green forest and Christmas trees and serenity of calmness, it was so nice. We always walked near a creek and always heard water ahead of our boots, which was so cool! The temperature was hot, and we started getting sweaty and stinky! Then, five miles later we stayed in Bear Creek Meadow where our neighbors had horses! One “Nay’d” in the middle of the night and it freaked us out and we thought someone died.

It was fun learning how to use the cooking stoves and how to cook in backcountry with our cook groups and map where we were going to go the following day. The next day we woke up and got ready to go to Granite Lake! This was one hard hike! It started flat with gradual up and down hills, then straight up. It was cool to be able to see our progress and continue going up gradually up and up the mountain! “She’d be coming around the mountain, here she comes!” Ha-ha! After taking many stops, we ate lunch on the top of the stunning, beautiful ridge and then continued our way down switchbacks. Poor Brittany and Sophia got stung by bugs, but they were troopers and survived! Then Melissa sprained her ankle and Riley came to the rescue! Then we all waited for them after since we were taught that morning about good expedition behavior and leave no trace. Then we unpacked after 5 hard miles and enjoyed an evening at the lake and then the rest day that followed that! We got to know each other and the pre-judgments went away instantly! It was funny to hear everyone’s first thoughts and then what we thought now, after getting to know them. The time bonding and stretching out our sore bodies was well needed and it brought the group much closer, which I loved seeing. Then we went on our solo and that was an amazing time to spend time by ourselves and write about what we were thinking and our future Chico goals and dreams.

By observing and being the oldest participant as the transfer student, I learned so much about myself and my actions and I cannot wait to go on another Adventure Outings trip! After this solo we came back and were treated with cinnamon rolls, yes I can’t believe it either, those sneaky leaders are creative in their backpacking kitchen skills! Throughout our next 3 mile hike to Swift Creek we went downhill a rainy, green, and peaceful path and then jumped off rocks into the deep creek right before dinner!  This was a huge highlight as being the only girl jumping off the highest rock! This hike was the most relaxing and I enjoyed this, minus the 5 mosquito bites I got. Then we woke up early and had a fast breakfast and got on the trail, then freaked out when we saw the car. It was nice to get those packs off, but it was sad and weird driving back because it felt like we were going so fast! We closed with the compliment circle, where I got very emotional. Then we went and pigged out at In-N-Out and jammed to our rock tunes and last conversations before move in week at Chico State! Throughout the trip we did our dinner ritual, Chico talks, and saw many deer, including mamma’s and their babies, chipmunks, fish, and even ants, ha-ha! Finally, the last day, we had the one mile back to the van and we had a journey of a lifetime and that was just 14 miles in 5 days. I can’t wait to create more friendships and explore more of Chico with this amazing program, Adventure Outings!

Thank you so much and I hope you get the chance to go to one of these AMAZING Adventure Outings trips! The first week of school one can buy one trip and get 50% off their second trip! See you all on the trail!

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