Major: Psychology
Hometown: Glenwood Springs, CO

Year: Junior

Because Fort Lewis College is a liberal arts school, all students are required to take a variety of classes in almost every subject. One of the classes needed in order to graduate is physical education. Each student needs one credit of PE, which means that you need to take at least one PE class while attending Fort Lewis. My schedule this semester was busy and I couldn’t seem to find much time between working and classes to add a PE class. I knew that I had to get it done in order for me to graduate next year so I sat down with my advisor and read through all of the PE classes available this semester. One really stood out to me: Camping and Backpacking. I didn’t know how I was going to have time for that but it sounded really fun so I signed up for it. The backpacking and camping class was probably the best choice I could have made because it turned out to be a college adventure that I will always remember.

The class started out with the group of students and the professor getting together to meet before we took off for the long weekend in Utah. We met twice before we left so that everyone could meet each other and find out what to expect on the trip. Each student presented some information about camping safety and what we needed to bring and be prepared for. The following Saturday, we took off early in the morning and headed to Southern Utah for the weekend.

Taking in views in the desert
Taking in views in the desert

When we reached our destination, we started our trek of about three miles to where we set up camp. Once we got there and set up our tents and cooking area, the group of us went for an afternoon hike. There were 15 of us but we all stayed together because we didn’t know the area yet. The professor led us through the desert and we climbed high onto rocks overlooking part of the desert and a deep canyon. We all sat there soaking in the warm sunshine and sharing past stories of our personal camping trips. The bonding experience was incredible because we were in the wilderness on an adventure with 15 other college students who we didn’t know. I kept thinking how lucky I was to go to a school where I got class credit for having this much fun.

When we got back to camp, we all helped to build a fire and cook our dinners together around its warmth. The sun was now gone and the only light and heat we had was from the campfire so we all gathered close around it as the night got darker and colder. We played games, shared stories, roasted marshmallows and laughed together for many hours under the stars. When morning finally came, none of us were ready to leave because we were really enjoying each other’s company and the quiet and stillness of the desert. We were not ready to go back to our busy school lives so we all decided one last hike was much needed. We spent all afternoon once again, together, climbing up rocks and canyons in the warm desert sun.

By the time we made it back to campus, we were exhausted from the long fun weekend. We all agreed that this was an awesome experience and a great way to get our PE credit out of the way. I made some new friends and had an amazing time hiking but also relaxing outside and taking a break from school. Fort Lewis offers many physical education classes such as this one and there is something for everyone. The backpacking and camping class was something I will always remember about my college experience and I am so glad that I got to be a part of it!