Busy, Busy, Busy

Posted: April 2, 2012 by None Smith in English, Logistics, Medical, Training
Tags: , , , , , , ,

NOT what I've been doing at work.

Phew! Life has been hectic the past couple days! The rock gym has been booking a crazy amount of parties and staff belays which gives me more hours (a good thing) but it means I have to keep pushing kids and adults to their climbing limits for 10 hours or more a day! While its extremely rewarding and inspiring to see a child who could barely make it off the ground climb 40 feet into the air, it can be draining as well.

But as I think about it, it is good preparation for my first summer with Adventure Treks. Which in turn is going to be even better preparation for the 360 Extremes expedition. Let me explain…

I am truly excited about my summer months. As a co-trip leader, I will be working with 5 other leaders to lead teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 on adventure trips around the country. So for around 20 days at a time I’ll be out in the wilderness, living in my tent, pushing kids to their potential whether we’re backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, white water rafting or mountaineering.  They told me multiple times in my interviews that I would (a) have very little free time and (b) most likely be functioning on around 4 hours of sleep a night. That’s quite a challenge, especially when I’m used to a bed at home and at least 6-7 hours of sleep each night.

However, as with any pursuit, especially with the outdoors, the challenge is part of the adventure.

Taking teenagers and young adults out in the wilderness can be quite a test of willpower. As the summer months press on we (the leaders for Adventure Treks) without a doubt will face a number of issues, challenges and situations that must be smoothed out. I can’t imagine what will present itself during the trip, but what I hope to learn about is group management. Especially on a larger scale with 24 teens.

As leaders we have to take care of medical supplies, gear and equipment, water, food and general nutrition; as well as monitor the kids for their morale – mostly, are they having fun? In all this, we’ll be out in the wilderness where the ability to control situations greatly diminishes. On top of logistics we must be fully prepared for any situation that may arise: inclement weather, wildlife, impasses due to previous days weather and more.

In many ways this mirrors what we have in store for the actual journey with 360. While group management won’t exactly be at the forefront (although we’ll constantly be monitoring each others moral, strength reserves, food and water intake etc) the logistics of 360 will far surpass any other trip I’ve been on.

Besides pre-expedition logistics (working out finances, where to leave gear, where to pick up gear, what we will need for each leg of the trip) actually executing it will be even more hectic! One thing I learned from my instructors at my Wilderness First Responder course was this: If you have Plan A, you better have Plan B, C, D, E, F and G. Or more. And a basic rule of plans? They don’t ever work out.

Keeping that in mind, we’re going to have our hands even more full than we do now when we finally set off in 2014. Conditions will change drastically with each environment and so will the equipment we need as we progress. If we’re not logistics experts by the time we leave, we better will be! We have a lot of learning to do and it’s going to be a great journey. It’s already begun!

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