By Fatima Magana '22
ADIRONACK MOUNTAINS, NY- Each summer, a group of students at Mount Union prepare themselves to take a trip out into the wilderness. This summer, 18 students and three group leaders traveled to New York to explore our beautiful environment for eight days, six of which were spent backpacking.
Lizzie Regovich ‘24, environmental science major and biology and sustainability double minor explained that there were three different groups comprised of six students each and one student leader and one faculty leader.
“My group went to the five ponds region in a low-lying area for the first half, then moved to the high peaks' region by Marcy Dam,” stated Regovich. “We tried to sleep in Lean-To’s every night, which are three-walled covered structures. We cooked a few feet away from the Lean-To’s most nights, but in the high peaks' region we had to be at least 50 feet away due to high bear activity.”
These groups hiked and swam all throughout the trip. However, Regovich explained that she enjoyed all the swimming she did out of all the activities that were performed.
Haley Hunt ‘23, nursing major, stated that she believes the purpose of going out into the wilderness is to learn to care for our environment and appreciate its beauty along with learning about oneself by escaping the real world for a while.
Hunt added that her group got to climb the steepest ascent known as Algonquin and hiked during the night to be able to see the stars. Hunt explained that she liked looking at the stars and sleeping below them, and just seeing everyone’s face lighting up at the top of the Algonquin ascent.
“All of our food was packed into bear canisters, and we cooked over pocket stoves. We are lucky enough to have Barb Tidman make all the menus for us, so we had anything from frozen dried fruit to strawberry cheesecake and spaghetti and meatballs,” explained Hunt.
Hayley Koon ‘25, neuroscience major and biology and chemistry double minor, explained that the trip was an eye-opening experience as she learned about everything that harms the environment and everything she can do to start making a change.
“My favorite part was the night we talked about the Lorax and how it relates to our society today. I don’t want to call this discussion scary but, in a way, it was,” stated Koon. “We discussed how we are a world driven by money with a “how does it benefit me” mindset.”
Koon expressed that while learning about wilderness ethics was scary, the topic motivated her to change some of her daily habits to have a beautiful environment.
Danielle Bisesi ‘25, exercise science major and psychology minor believes that the wilderness trip allows students to escape from reality which is driven by technology and embrace nature and its beauty.
“My group hiked a 30-mile loop around the western high peaks for the first part of the trip, and backpacked the whole trip,” explained Bisesi.
While on the trip, Bisesi explained that her favorite activities included swimming and jumping off a few cliffs. Though, Bisesi added that she enjoyed getting to know her classmates throughout the trip.
“This trip served as a learning experience because everyone experienced different things; some people struggled physically while others struggled mentally thinking that they could not perform an activity when they could," stated Bisesi. "So, it was good working on our team bonding skills because we encouraged each other to keep going.”
Although the students enjoyed the trip, there is no doubt that they missed their home and a few commodities like interactions with friends and family.
“I did miss my Dunkin coffee a few times," joked Regovich. "But my group made me forget about it almost immediately."
While Hunt and Koon missed their daily showers from back home, they did enjoy jumping into the river after their daily hiking.
The Wilderness Trip is one of several unique experiences provided to Mount Union students of all majors and backgrounds. Learn more by contacting Paul Tidman, professor of philosophy and religious studies, at firstname.lastname@example.org.