You are all signed up for Adventure Treks this summer—WOOHOO!!!
You picked your destination, you’ve started packing, you’ve booked flights, and you can’t wait for the adventure to begin! Even so, you may be feeling some butterflies in your stomach about arriving to Adventure Treks, especially if this is your first trip. Perhaps you’ve never traveled alone, or maybe this is your first time in the outdoors. Nervousness from not knowing what to expect is completely normal—even our returning students and instructors get a little nervous on opening day. To help make your first day at Adventure Treks more exciting (and less nerve-wracking), we’d like to share what you can expect upon arrival to your big outdoor adventure this summer!
Landing at the airport
We know this is many of our students’ first time flying solo—and that in itself is something to be proud of. Upon landing, an AT instructor will likely be waiting at the gate to say hello and walk you to the group. We have every student’s phone number, so we also call and/or text students when they land so they know how to identify and find us. From there, we’ll help you find your luggage in baggage claim, and then you’ll meet the other students who have already arrived. There will be plenty of snacks waiting for you, and we’ll play games as we wait for everyone.
And remember—this is everyone’s first time in this specific group, so everyone is in the same boat in terms of not knowing everyone else.
Pizza lunch and games
Once everyone has arrived, your group will depart the airport for a nearby park for a pizza lunch! We’ll play some games to learn everyone’s names and get to know each other a little better. While eating together in a circle, a director will give a quick orientation, including introducing everyone and what to expect in the next few days. We want everyone to feel comfortable in the group and excited for our jam-packed itinerary. After lunch, we’ll pack up and head toward our first campsite, where dinner will be waiting. Some students will have been up since 2 or 3 a.m., so a quick nap on the ride is not out of the question; however, you also might find yourself in the middle of a singalong, as your instructors will have made fantastic playlists for the drive.
Arrive at camp
Before you know it, you’ll be pulling in to our first campsite for the night. One of your instructors will have stayed back from the airport to get everything set up: tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, even dinner! We’ll do our first “duffel shuffle” (an “assembly line” of transporting duffels from the U-Haul to a covered tarp area—we’ll do this a lot), and you’ll be shown to your tent with your tentmates for that evening. When everyone gets settled in, we’ll sit down for our traditional Yahoo! feast (named so because we are that excited that everyone has finally arrived). We like to welcome students with Yahoo dinner, as it’s a fantastic way to show everyone that not only will we eat real, high-quality food (not just granola bars or freeze-dried packaged meals), but we will always have enough food to keep everyone well-fed.
Tonight, we’ll make sure everyone knows where the bathrooms and hand-washing stations are, and we’ll talk through how to stay hygienic while in the outdoors.
First evening meeting
Evening meeting is one of the most fun, meaningful, and special traditions at Adventure Treks. It’s a fundamental component of an AT trip—something we do every night as a group that brings us closer together as a community. We sit in a circle and share the highlights of our day, give shout-outs to people for the kind and helpful things they did that day, and offer suggestions for ways the community can become even better. There are a ton of laughs as well. By the end of the first week, students have often begun taking over leading evening meeting. We won’t give everything away here, but during evening meeting, we’ll also go over the plan for the rest of the night and the plan for tomorrow so everyone knows what’s on the schedule and what to expect. For most trips, we go for a fun hike on the second day to continue getting to know each other and to jump right into the beautiful outdoors.
Because most students woke up early to travel (many cross-country) and many are adjusting to a new time zone, we’ll head to bed a little early tonight. After evening meeting, we’ll usually “wind down” with a toothbrush dance party and contact lens clinic. Then it’s off to our cozy sleeping bags for a restful night!
We know the first day can be a little overwhelming with meeting so many people and taking in so much new information, but it’s also a ton of fun as we embark on this great new adventure together. After the first few days, you’ll begin to form strong bonds with your peers, which often leads to lifelong friendships. And after the first week, everyone will be grooving in the same new routine.
We hope you’re as excited for this summer as we are!