I just returned from my UCLA Anderson Outdoor Adventures Pre-Orientation trip, five days with twelve of my new classmates and two student leaders in beautiful Yosemite National Park. I had been told when I spoke to Anderson students and alums prior to even being admitted that these so-called Pre-O trips were not to be missed, and in fact had signed up for mine before I even put down my deposit accepting my offer of admission to Anderson! It sounded so amazing that I was worried it would sell out before I got in, and amazing it was. (You can also read about my fellow blogger Anna Dickstein’s adventure here.)
The famed Yosemite Valley including El Cap (left) and Half Dome (background).
It was something of a trial by fire—having only met each other for a brief hour at our pre-trip meeting the previous day, we convened on campus and piled into two vans for the 8-hour trek to the famed Hetch-Hetchy reservoir in northern Yosemite. But from the first moment it became clear—there would be no shortage of things to talk about on his trip. I was immediately overwhelmed and deeply impressed by my fellow classmates’ accomplishments both personally and professionally, the places they had lived in and traveled, and the jobs and experience they had wracked up in roughly 25-31 years of life. Swapping stories and experiences would easily take up the entire 5 days!
The “before” picture when everyone still looked fresh and didn’t have dreads for hair and a Backpacker’s Tan (aka layer of dirt). Take a look—If any one of the above is in your sections, consider yourself lucky: (Back, L to R) Bill Wells, Donald Nadalin, Jack Cooney, Leo Reilly, Micha Lamed, Jon Bower (fearless trip leader & UCLA undergrad), Ahmad Nawaz, and Scott Crabtree; (Front, L to R) Remy Monteko-Sherman, Kelsey Hammond (trip leader/Mermicorn), Charlotte Baxter (me), Jennis Chou, Sarah Fixler, and Michael Malenitza.
Of course, this level of maturity did not preclude discussions of recent happy hours, or exempt us from the infamous discussion of the proper etiquette of doing your business in the woods (not too close to any water sources, etc), which was extensively addressed and expounded upon. No need to go into the so-called rating system here, but let’s just say that we were holding out for Michael and Remy to have a Texas Two-some by the last day!
I am confident one of the best parts of the trip for all of us was finding that 11 of our randomly selected classmates are, basically, awesome. This realization and the fun we had likely put any lingering nerves about attending b-school in general, selecting Anderson in particular, or anything else firmly to rest. If this trip is any indication, we are in for a fun, rewarding, creative, and adventurous two years in the most beautiful state in the country!
Which brings me to the other great part of this trip: the amazing scenery. I have been to many beautiful places in this world, and the lakes and forests surrounding the reservoir made for some of the most spectacular I have ever seen. Here is just an example of one campsite we enjoyed:
Sarah Fixler and your faithful blogger-at-large all loaded up in front of a crystal clear lake.
Here we are with our very full packs on the dam that creates Hetch Hetchy.
Big skies out west!
Finally after five fun days it was time to head home. Exhausted after our rewarding hike of 30 miles over three days and some 2,500 ft. elevation change, and a few too many meals of backpacker’s cuisine, some authentic Mexican couldn’t come a moment too soon! That and a shower. Thanks to each of you and our amazing leaders Jon and Kelsey for an awesome introduction to life at Anderson!
Jack, Scott, and Bill show that even after 5 days in the back country, their manners are still impeccable (even if their razors were absent). Too bad Bill wasn’t in his Superman costume.
Until next Tuesday, the start of Orientation!