By Hector Poveda, SF21
The Wilderness Orientation at St. John’s College is, hands down, one of the best programs the College has to offer. After a couple of days in the Pecos, one changes, one adapts to the surroundings, one connects with nature.
In a way, it is analogous to what the Program teaches us. Instead of discussing philosophical works, we spend time looking at the clouds and what they tell us about the weather. During our time in the wilderness, we go over knots, camp setup, navigation, river crossings, lighting protocol and the basics of backpacking.
The cool thing about this program is that the guides in charge of leading the freshman group are, in fact, current Johnnies—students that have not only gone through the required training but that are undertaking the Program.
I have been lucky enough to be one of the student guides and led a fantastic group of freshmen last year. For this year, however, I was part of the professional guides in charge of providing the student guides with the skills and information required to led the freshman group this oncoming fall. It is incredible how much work and dedication goes behind the trip. We pour out parts of our life so that the experience in the Pecos is one the students will never forget. It is the best introduction to the Johnnie lifestyle in Santa Fe, and the best way to create friendships that will last years.