The number one question I received when telling my friends that I would be attending a Partners in the Parks trip always concerned the fact that I would be in the woods for a week with 19 strangers.
It was pouring rain and thundering outside on March 11th, and I was in an unfamiliar room surrounded by unfamiliar faces in central Arkansas, 1,480 miles from home.
I arrived in Arkansas in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane that had turned most of the Southern United States into a swimming pool. After seven hours of weather delays, a terror-inspiring flight featuring lightning flashing outside the windows, and an uncomfortable few hours spend sleeping on the floor of the Texas airport, I made it to the University of Central Arkansas, soggy and exhausted but ready for the hurricane-induced surprises to be over.
For my first trip out west, I couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful place to visit and learn about than the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. With old, pre-Cambrian exposed rock and over 2000-foot vertical canyon walls, it’s understandable why John Gunnison himself was astounded and intimidated by the deep canyon.
Partners in the Parks was a great opportunity to travel to the Great Smoky Mountains and meet some interesting and talented people. First off, a big thanks goes out to our advisors, Bill Atwill and Christina McIntyre who organized the whole trip and looked out for all of us.
Great Basin National Park is a hidden gem in the Department of the Interior’s crown. When I arrived in the park with six other students from universities around the country, I wasn’t prepared for what I experienced: nothing.
Partners in the Parks allowed us the unique opportunity to get under the surface and hear about the mountains from seasoned park stewards.
In an increasingly globalized world, I think it is as important as ever to discover the wonders right here at home
What wilderness is to me now, is a place free from invasive technology and free from human development.
There could be no better time to start living wholeheartedly, and for this realization, I thank Glacier.