This past weekend, ten Earth Team outdoor explorers joined Outward Bound for a backpacking adventure to Mt. Diablo State Park. The team was pretty fresh to this new activity, with only one participate having some prior backpacking experience and a few participants participating for the first time on a camping trip.
The trip started right after school on Friday. Participants backed up the gear using the last bit of sunlight left and enjoyed a delicious meal under the moonlight.
On Saturday, the group woke up early to get on the trail. The group split up and took on leadership tasks they were interested in like; meal prep and cooking, gear management, and navigation. Students led the way up the mountain, which was a little steep! Although challenging, students persevered and showed an immense amount of support for one another.
While at camp, students participated in team building activities in addition to solo time to reflect and write letters to their future self. After reconvening, the group revealed that this time was precious and meaningful for them, and helped them prepare to adjust back into their daily lives.
On Sunday, the group set off for a sunrise summit attempt to the top of Mt. Diablo. Unfortunately, a student twisted an ankle on the way up, and the group had to turn back a little early. The group was incredibly supportive and proud of the individual for speaking up for their needs. A fellow student, Emma, interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, was able to wrap up the ankle (with the support from a wilderness first responder) and get a feel for what a medical job might look like when you are in the wilderness! Here is what the Emma had to say after learning about career opportunities in the medical/outdoor field.
“I don’t think I thanked you quite enough .. for bringing the wilderness first responder career to my attention. That meant a lot to me and I’m going to be doing a lot of research into it. It’s a huge possibility that that might become my career. So, I just wanted say thank you. That was a really big deal for me” – Pinole Valley High Intern
Students were given certificates of completion to celebrate their accomplishment of completing the “Mt. Diablo Backpacking Expedition”. The group shared out appreciations for one another and soon took off back to the city!
Special thank you to Outward Bound California and our wonderful trip leaders Rachel and Carolyn!
Here is what our outdoor explorers had to say about their adventure.
“This weekend at Mt. Diablo not only gave me time to reflect on my relationship with myself but also my relationship with others. I got to have fun and build friendships with people I had never met before while simultaneously gaining more knowledge about the environment we were in and how to properly care for it. Overall, I could tell a big difference in my confidence and how I carried myself when I got back to school that week.” Gracy, San Lorenzo High Intern
“I had an amazing day backpacking. I met many people and made friendships. I also know what I need if I go backpacking again. I learn a lot of things to survive in the wild and I met amazing mentors who helped me and answered all the questions I had. I hope to go again and have lots of fun. I also had time to reflect on myself and let myself be happy as well as letting go of all my problems. I realized that I had to stop worrying about other people and focus on myself because who else is going to be there for me. I have to let myself be happy and let go of all the things I have held inside. Going backpacking has helped me and has challenged me in doing more hiking.” Guadalupe, Richmond High Intern
“This weekend was very fun; I learned a lot of things about how to backpack and what you need. The activities were really fun, and I just about made friends with all everyone. This trip gave me the time to get out and really learn my limits, and to also know my self-worth, I’m a strong young woman that can accomplish kind of a big thing.” Delaney, Antioch High Intern
“It was an amazing experience, and I had so much fun. I really needed that trip because I need a break from my life and the reflection made me open my mind. Also, I finally learned to speak up for my needs normally I place others before me, and I learned that sometimes I need to put my needs before anyone else’s” Allison, Richmond High Intern
“What I can say is that I don’t have to give up so soon knowing that I can keep moving forward and I got to know that this weekend. I’m grateful that I can be strong if I put my mind to it” Arlette, Skyline High Intern
“I had a wonderful time this weekend. I got a chance to go backpacking for the first time, and I met a ton of wonderful people. It was a super positive experience that was a super refresher from the everyday humdrum. I really appreciated it.” Emma, Pinole Valley High Intern
“It was lots of fun and a great experience. I was definitely .. brought to light that I would love to go backpacking on my own” – Michael, Antioch High Intern
“The trip for me was about pushing myself, and I did and found I can do more than I thought. A challenge I thought I’d have was getting along with everyone but I found that it was pretty easy once I stopped worrying. Though I did have to leave early, I really enjoyed the trip and appreciated everyone that was there. I’d go again.” Nick, Skyline High Intern
“The backpacking trip to Mount. Diablo was relaxing but challenging to go up the mountain with the huge backpack. I got to see the sunset and sleep under the stars. Though I did not sleep much those past day, it was an amazing time bonding with the .. group who I was able to know more about. This trip gave me a way to reflect on life and was able to get my head on straight.” – Mariana, Richmond High Intern
Outdoor Explorers Program