ADVENTURE: Take an armchair adventure to South America with local CMU students
Special to the Free Press
WHAT: Wednesday Night Wandering presentation “Explore Colombia, Ecuador and Panama” with Dr. Chad Thatcher
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wed., Oct. 9
WHERE: Univ. Center Ballroom at CMU
COST: Free, open to the public
On the Outdoor Program’s 22nd international expedition, a group of Colorado Mesa University students headed to South America to explore the cultural and physical diversity of Colombia, Ecuador and Panama. From the high Andean peaks surrounding Quito to the azure waters of the Caribbean, we mingled with indigenous tribes, hiked, biked, rafted, kayaked, paraglided, mountain biked, surfed, sailed and at times, simply sat in quaint plazas watching the locals walk by.
During our adventure, we collaborated with colleges in the cloud forest looking for caterpillars. We volunteered with 10-year old Sustainable Roots, an organization started by CMU graduate Toni Walters and friends, to help teach English and build green houses. We traveled overland the entire way from Quito to Cartagena and then sailed to North America via the San Blas Islands of Panama and finally landed in Panama City.
Each country delighted in their own unique way, from the Ecuadorian Andean life and the laid back Caribbean culture to the dynamic pulse of Panama City and the colonial charm of Cartagena. Come see what it’s like to strap on a backpack and spend nine weeks tramping from South America to North America. This was not a vacation, rather an amazing cultural learning experience that will pay dividends for years. We will explore the idea of how travel not only broadens your horizons but also reinvigorates the natural explorer in all of us.
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Courtney Hassell says she could have been completely disillusioned with schools and education, and in many ways she was, after an experience three years ago at Glenwood Springs High School.