(Public Post by Nate)

Outward Bound is to Easy as The Victorian Era is to Porn. They just don't mix. I had a good time on my course, not because it was lazy and easy to do, but because my pleasure was derived from a hot dinner after a day of hiking or recieving a helping hand from the person in our group ahead of you. Hard work is what made this trip worthwhile.

I am lazy. Being lazy and 8 mile hikes don't add up right. I was miserable the first few days, but as the course carried on I got to know my fellow 'bounders more and more... and we fell in to habits. By the end of the trip we were farting around each other, licking little spots of jam off of gravel, and we had seen all of the best and the worst in each other. Out in the backcountry you are really stripped down to all of your raw qualities, both good and bad.

I had a friend tell me that Outward Bound was a program (not meant to be, but) tailored to rich kids whose parents wanted them whipped in to shape, away from the Lexus, off coke, and out of their hair for a good chunk of the summer. When I arrived at the Fresno airport that is what I expected. When I met all of my peers I was thinking "holy shit, he was right" but it wasn't the case. Yes, most of them had parents who were making "bank", but as time carried on and their layers slowly peeled off I realized "hey, they are just like me". I forget who said this but "People who sweat together, stick together" and the more we all hiked the closer that we all got.

In Outward Bound they put us through this 3 day solo activity where we are all given our own invisible cage, cut off from human interaction completely, save a 5 second thumbs up/thumbs down to indicate how close to death we are. The point is to look inside of ourselves and some other fruity thing like that. I stayed in my sleeping bag the entire time except for those occasional water runs or bathroom breaks. It drove me to near madness. Humans are a social species and if you take away the social aspect of our surroundings we wind up creating the social aspect ourselves. "WIIILLLSSOOOONNNN!!!" exclaims a distraught Tom Hanks to his friend, a volleyball, during the movie Castaway. I was reduced to making friends with ants and offering them small crumbs of what little food I was given.

After solos we had a three day expedition where our wilderness instructors handed us the ball and let us take lead. They would hike about an hours run behind us and let us get to the end of the course. Of course we fucked up and followed a drainage insead of the trail and we landed ourselves in the middle of nowhere. BEST night of the trip.

I suppose that Outward Bound is different for everyone but for me it was not good or bad. It just was something that happened. I made friends and I am satisfied with all that I accomplished on the trip. We climbed peaks together, hiked over passes, walked all over (roughly 95 to 100 miles over the course of the trip), and at the end of it all we were just a big family. I am not telling you to go out and try a course but I am not dicouraging it either. It was hard and I pushed myself. I'm glad that I did.

(:::eta::: Nate probably won't respond to comments, but he'll read what you have to say.)


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