Outdoor Education Program Hikes Grand Canyon National Park

Trinity Students Build Outdoor Leadership Skills Through Unique Spring Break Experience

​Hartford, Connecticut, April 15, 2016 – Not all students leaving campus for spring break fill their bags with swimsuits and beach books. Six Trinity College students recently stuffed their backpacks with hiking poles and sleeping bags for a week of hiking and exploring Grand Canyon National Park with Trinity’s Outdoor Education program.

​(L-r): Amy Zhang ’19, Doris Zhang ’19, Darcy Cogswell ’16, Peter Hallet ’16, Alex Laferriere ’18, Adam Hammershoy ’17. Photo by Kevin Johnson
The trek in Arizona included five days of backpacking from the south rim of the Grand Canyon to the north rim and back. According to Director of Recreation Kevin Johnson, it covered “a distance of 42 miles and over 8,000 feet in elevation gain.” But Trinity College’s Outdoor Education program offers students much more than hiking excursions. Johnson said that there are two main goals of the program: “One, to provide lifelong outdoor pursuits to the Trinity community through short and longer trips over weekends and breaks. Two, to educate the students in outdoor leadership skills,” he said. “In an age of being plugged in to technological devices, these trips allow for us to unplug and experience nature through activity with other Trinity students, faculty, and staff.”

Outdoor Education puts on Quest Leadership and Wilderness Pre-Orientation programs, weekend hikes, trips to a rock-climbing gym, ski shuttles, movie screenings, and group trips over Trinity Days, spring break, and winter break. Johnson said that some memorable trips have included paddling in the Florida Everglades, backpacking in the Adirondacks, rock-climbing in Kentucky, and hiking in Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire.

​Photo by Kevin Johnson
One student who went on the recent Grand Canyon trip, Adam Hammershoy ’17, has been involved with Outdoor Education since he came to Trinity in 2013. “The whole trip was amazing,” he said. “The sights from above and below the Grand Canyon were phenomenal. Waking up every morning in the canyon was breathtaking and the trails were mellow, other than the steep inclines!”

Hammershoy appreciates Outdoor Education not just because of the people and the trips, but also because he plans to apply what he has learned from these experiences to his life after graduation. “My career goals include working in the wilderness with an environmental science influence,” he said.

Another participant, Peter Hallett ’16, said, “As a transfer student I never participated in any of the offered Quest [pre-orientation] opportunities. This was my first experience participating with an outdoor school trip.” Hallett noted that his favorite part of the trip was reaching the north rim of the Grand Canyon. “It had only been open to hikers for about a week prior to our arrival and it was the most isolated we were from ‘civilization,’” he said. “That day we hiked 7 miles to the top of the rim, 2 more miles to replenish our water, and then 7 more miles back to our campground.”

​Photo by Amy Zhang ’19
Hallett said he wishes he had gone on more trips like this one. “I love the outdoors and it’s a good opportunity to take a step back from reality and get back to your roots. There is a lot of time to think to yourself and it’s very therapeutic. It’s also a great way to release stress through exercise and take a break from technology,” he said. “More people should get off campus and participate.”

Johnson said the Grand Canyon expedition was a great success. “Trinity students of all years worked together to help plan and execute the backpacking trip,” he said. “Watching the group reach the south rim on the last day, the smiles and sense of accomplishment were a joy to see.”

For more information about Outdoor Education at Trinity College, click here.

Written by Ursula Paige Granirer ’17