Wilderness Adventures

Wilderness Adventures

About

Wilderness Adventures is the intersection of the summer camp experience and hard-skills backcountry education. Have fun and develop your leadership and outdoor skills while immersing yourself in new environments, cultures, and community living. Wilderness Adventures is a launchpad– an important step that teaches our students to pursue a life of fulfillment where the journey is as important as the destination.

Reviews

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Rose
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing experience

My gap semester with Wilderness Adventures was nothing short of transformative, and I can't recommend the program enough to any student considering taking a gap year before or during their time in college. The WALI program takes a small group of college-aged students out into the backcountry to foster their outdoor skills while backpacking, canoeing, and rafting. Yet the true lessons learned are in students' leadership and relationship skills as the small student group reads and discusses texts on leadership while forming a tight group bond. The WALI program is the perfect choice for students who want to expand their outdoor skills and take time to explore themselves and their interests before beginning their college experience. WALI will change your life; it changed mine.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Rafting through the Big Drop rapids in Cataract Canyon through Canyonlands NP. They are class IV rapids and can get pretty gnarly! We followed the instructions of our river guide and made it through in one piece, thankfully. We celebrated by listening to our river guide play the trumpet he had packed with him for the week as we floated down the Colorado River.
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R
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Loved this program!!

I took a gap semester this past spring with Wilderness Adventures and it was the best decision I could have made for myself this past school year. This past spring I traveled through the southwest for 67 days. My 3 leaders were amazing. They were all so energetic, kind, passionate about their job and the outdoors, supportive, inclusive, and really helped us all of us on this trip. It was truly inspiring and being someone who never really did outdoorsy things prior, I learned a lot about myself and have a newfound passion for nature. Overall, this program is really family oriented making the atmosphere a really cool place to do activities, travel, try new things, and go on adventures.

What was your funniest moment?
There were many but one moment was when one of my friends wrote a poem about Lizard doing Lizard stuff.
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Maggie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Learning Experience!!!

I spent my first semester of college overwhelmingly disappointed with virtual learning that resulted from COVID. I felt as though I has wasted time and money on an experience where I retained little knowledge in the classroom and made few meaningful social interactions on campus. My Spring semester spent with WA contrasted my Fall semester in numerous way, but mostly in the knowledge and perspective I gained throughout the 70 days. The various backgrounds and personalities of the individuals on the trip enabled me to learn more about their views and understandings while also developing my own. Unreal scenery combined with the cultural and historical significance of most of the locations we visited stimulated conversation among us that cannot be replicated in a classroom setting. There truly is no substitute for in person interaction and hands on learning.

While normalcy begins to be reestablished and I return to in person classes this Fall, I continue to think how grateful I am for my semester with WALI. Though the pandemic did instigate my search for an alternative to conventional school, the value of this gap semester still holds true even in COVID were negligible. I learned essential lessons about wilderness safety, the environment, and myself, and did so in the absurdly beautiful American Southwest. Could not recommend enough.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Probably any food combination you can imagine, but in a tortilla. Nothing quite like peanut butter, turkey, trail mix, and string cheese burritos on the trail.
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August
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester with WALI

This trip was phenomenal. The WALI crew as well as the other students quickly became my family. There’s nothing I would trade for this experience. I learned, grew, and had an amazing time while doing it. One of the biggest highlights for me was earning my Wilderness First Responder Certification! We gained hard knowledge about medical first response in wilderness areas but also just common sense medical care in every kind of situation. I strongly recommend this for anyone and everyone looking for an adventure!!!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
We had a student on our trip who was from Israeli and she made us shakshuka, and Israeli dish somewhat like an egg/tomato soup. It absolutely blew my mind and I loved it. :)
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Natalie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I wish I could relive this trip !

This program was 70 days long and man, was I nervous! But as soon as I met my trip leaders and peers, all my nerves were assuaged — the positivity and delightful energy of the leaders and the curiosity and kindness of my peers seamlessly smoothed my transition. From canoeing to backpacking to getting my wilderness first responder certificate, the adventure was nonstop! I’ll cherish the moments of laughter, tranquility and even discomfort (I know that’s where I grew the most), and especially the amazing, beautiful views. As time passed, the group turned into family. We shared triumphs and supported each other through tribulations (long days on the trail, bad weather, someone having a bad day etc.), I knew that these people had my back. The trip leaders were incredible, helping both the novices and experts of the group push themselves physically and mentally. I know I have changed from this program — not only do I have a deeper appreciation and excitement for outdoor adventure, but I have found a sense of community and a family in the group I met. I cannot imagine my year without WALI gap, I feel so so fortunate to have found this program !!

p.s. do yourself a favor and sign up immediately :)

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I think the most surprising thing I saw was more to do with our groups ability to push ourselves — specifically during a day on a canoe section. It was a really windy day, and we were pushing ourselves so hard against the white-capped river. We couldn’t stop paddling for a moment — our boat would either capsize, or we would lose a lot of distance. It was really tiring and difficult, but we were all in it together and fed off each other’s intensity. Through determination, and a LOT of rigorous paddling, we got through that windy segment and all felt so much relief!! It was an amazing moment of hard work and reward (I’m pretty sure we all slept great that night!).

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