Talkin’ Outdoor Action

Soon after arriving on campus, 721 freshmen piled into buses to take part in the 42nd year of Outdoor Action, with 88 groups going on five-day orientation trips from Virginia to Vermont. Another 205 students took part in Community Action’s public-service programs. PAW spoke with Outdoor Action participants as they returned from the trails.

What’s with the horse? We wrote goals on the handle that we wanted to accomplish. And did you accomplish your goal? I put down “fun,” and I did! What skills did you learn? Bear-bagging was important. You take anything that smells, like food and toothpaste, and you put them in bags and you hoist them up in the trees so that bears don’t come overnight and go through your stuff. Any tips to pass on? Drink lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated! My body didn’t adjust very well, and I had to get evac-ed for one day.

— Justin Ramos ’19
Scowhegan, Maine

Ever do anything similar to this trip back home? I hadn’t ever been in the woods and lived off the woods before. Was it what you expected? Bear-bagging every morning was really tiring, but it worked ­— we had bears come by. How close did the bears come? Probably about 10 feet, but they walked away. Any advice for next year’s campers? Know that the leaders have your back, so you’ll be OK.

— Adeniji Ogunlana ’19
San Antonio, Texas

What was the strangest thing that happened? I did the one-shirt challenge: I’ve worn this shirt every day. Everybody in the group smells bad, but at least we have a very distinct scent. What’s the biggest takeaway from not being able to use your phone? You need to have two people speaking to each other. Because that’s what makes us human — it’s not the machines.

— Iskandar Haykel ’19
Manhattan, N.Y.

How’d you get that dirt on your forehead? We got ash from the fire and everyone drew stuff on each other’s faces. Someone decided to give me a unibrow. What was the best part of the trip? The people — sleeping under the tarp when it was raining, all compressed together to avoid getting wet, was an awesome experience. What would you tell future campers? Bring more socks!

— Gabriela Pitten ’19
Porto Alegre, Brazil

How was the trip? CJ: We went to the Catskills — we ended up running out of water, so we had to change routes. MS: And on the first day, we missed our trail and walked about a mile and a half too far, but we met Daisy the dog. She was super feisty and really cute. How did you two become friends? MS: It was [easier] because we didn’t have our phones or any kind of technology to rely on. What was it like without the Internet for four days? MS: What I noticed the most was when we came up with a question and we couldn’t Google [the answer]. Like what? CJ: Like names of polar bears, and Latin names. We had some pretty crazy discussions!

— Mary Sauve ’19
Nashville, Tenn.

— Christine Jeong ’19
Seoul, South Korea