Eleven students from DePaul University in downtown Chicago, accompanied by a DePaul instructor/WV leader, recently made the trek nearly 1,400 miles to the Utah desert where they set up camp along the Colorado River for the week. The long drive in cramped quarters allowed for optimal bonding time for the students, who were all too farmiliar with eachother once they arrived in Utah.
For their week of work the crew completed an incredible amount of work. They began their week working on Richardson Amphitheater Loop Trail where they made the trail more usable. They brushed out the overgrown Juniper trees, lined the slick rock sections of of trail with rocks to guide hikers, closed down social trails, removed large and small rocks from the tread, created cairns to illuminate the trail, and installed numerous rock steps and a few retaining walls.
For their off-day, the group slept in, had a feast of a breakfast consisting of pancakes, bacon, and strong coffee, then set off to hike the scenic and famous Fisher Towers Trail. After the hike and a picnic lunch, the group went swimming at a local creek.
Their final day of work was at the Grandstaff Trail. Here the crew installed check-steps and a large earthen water bar with a rock-lined drain. After completing their work the group hiked the grandstaff trail to enjoy the views, while other hikers enjoyed the improvements to the trail!
Every participant chooses to join a project for a different reason, and each person will take their own gains away from the week. These gains could be personal growth, learning a new skill, meeting new friends, pushing their physical limits, or the simple treasure of having a adventurous vacation. Here are some of the things that DePaul students gained from their week working and exploring in Moab.
Mandy, a senior at DePaul loved the trailwork!
Martha, an environmental science student at DePaul, loved learning about new plants.
Matt, a public relations student and plant lover, got excited about desert ecosystems.
Maddie, a member of the DePaul Urban Farming Community, loved exploring a new place.
Stay tuned for more WV testaments from projects throughout the summer!