SMU Outdoor Adventures

SMU Outdoor Adventures offers recreational trips and outdoor skills workshops from its “base camp” at the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

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Lessons learned in Big Bend

An update from David on Outdoor Adventures’ Spring Break trip to Big Bend National Park:

This trips never ceases to amaze us. Relatively easy to plan and pull off. Beautiful scenery, easy river, able to pack a lot of food (we weren’t going to starve on this one), and incredible people. This really should be a regular trip.

With OA represented by Chris and I, we were fortunate to have Jin-Chen, Sam, Breanna, Sarah, Kristin, Arden, Jessica and Logan on board. What a fantastic group!!! From “never befores” to “old timers,” this group was composed of various outdoors people, or soon to be. AND we only experienced two fatalities: canoeing egos (mine anyway) and 1 jackrabbit unable to get out of the way of the mack-daddy OA van.

Instead of the normal trip summary, we decided to do a “What did we learn?”
So, what did we learn?

- There is very little to look at between Abilene and Alpine.
- Don’t buy DVDs from a pawn shop
- We theorized that male Jack-O-Lopes have big antlers for mating. They want to intimidate male jackrabbits. It’s an inadequacy thing. Kind of like big SUVs and trucks.
- Do not disregard a bed after 12+ hours in a passenger van, even if you question the cleanliness.
- In the desert, a horse has no name.
- Nobody in Terlingua showers or shaves on a regular basis.
- A heavily loaded canoe will not turn at the last minute … no matter how good you think your canoeing skills might be.
- When trying to teach fundamental paddling, make sure everyone knows the difference between right/left and front/back before you use the canoeing terms.
- Dancers are tough!
- Is it just me, or are people from Pittsburgh loud?
- Bathing, washing hair, or even wearing deodorant in the backcountry does nothing to cover up the smell.
- Whether making things or cooking things, it is truly amazing to see creativity.
- From a distance and in an arroyo (canyon for you that don’t know), donkeys sound like people laughing.
- Don’t drink water from the Rio Grande.
- Do not eat the last can of Mandarin Oranges before checking with EVERYBODY.
- The Marfa Lights do exist, but not on this trip.
- At 5:30 in the morning and in large groups (+ or – 8), the border patrol does not have a sense of humor.
- It’s amazing what a little adversity, remoteness, good people and a common goal will do to bring a group of strangers together as a team.

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