Our third expedition will be much different than our other two expeditions. This time around, we have Student Expedition Leaders (or SELs) who will help make this expedition run smoothly. We got to vote for our SELs, and we’re excited about the leadership that they’re already showing. SEL responsibilities include helping to choose our route for the entire expedition, make trip schedules, go through gear lists, and delegate tasks to other students. Our SELs also take on important decision-making responsibilities if we get the chance to head out on independent student travel (or IST). IST involves hiking and camping without much oversight from our instructors—good proof that we’ve gained some serious outdoor skills during the past two expeditions!
During prep day for third expedition, each of our expedition groups set group goals, and came up with things we’d like to try such as sleeping under the stars, new games, and ways to improve our cooking skills in the backcountry. We also rationed our food, like always! This consists of packing hundreds (not exaggerating) of bags of macaroni, rice, cheese, oatmeal, snack mix, Snickers, dried fruit, pancake mix, brownie mix, among many other food items all while dancing to rap music from 2008. Overall, a pretty enjoyable process! We gathered the belongings we planned to take with us and sorted through group gear, ensuring the presence of each necessary piece. Once we were sure that we had everything, we packed our backpacks and loaded up our vehicles. Additionally, we were in charge of teaching classes to our peers as a means of reviewing some of the skills we’ve learned on our previous expeditions—hydration, LNT, navigation. We cruised through classes pretty quickly, and it was a great reminder of everything that we already know!
Although today was one of the more stressful days of the semester, each and every one of us appreciated it in our own way because we realized we are going into the field together for one last time. The moments spent on expedition are some of the best here at HMI. So while we leave for the backcountry one last time, each and every second will be cherished and nothing will be taken for granted.