Lander, WY – Freshmen of the Wyoming Catholic College Class of 2024 departed this morning for the Wind River and Absaroka mountains for the beginning of their twenty-one day freshmen expedition. Although the expedition is near-perfectly safe, some additional safety measures due to some people, for preexisting injuries, having had to be evacuated from the expedition, there will be additional safety measures enacted this year.
“We’re trying to make the Freshman Expedition perfectly, absolutely safe,” says director of the school’s Outdoor Leadership Program Dr. Matt Remmiz. “By eliminating every possible danger of injury from the experience we can only make it better and allow better reflection and processing through the Kolb’s-Mckinley-Yangtze Cycle on the expedition.”
This year then, in addition to the carriage of three backup Spot devices for each group and the provisioning of an extra gallon of bear spray in case a group for some reason uses up their supply, “the extremely simple and yet far more noticeable change of requiring all participants to be wrapped entirely in bubble-wrap” will be enacted according to Dr. Remmiz. “That it helps with insulation and protects a little bit against insects are only small-side benefits to the amazing job six inches of bubble wrap will do to protect you from almost any possible injury.”
Although there is a danger of bubble wrap quickly popping and becoming useless to its intended role with the number of “sharp pointy objects” out there in the backcountry, that problem is quickly solved if “each person carries a backup supply with them and rewraps at the slightest sign of puncture.”
“It will even help build character and instill the principle of Leave-No-Trace more deeply,” comments Zecahriah Eby, a 2017 graduate of WCC who also works for the school’s Outdoor Leadership Program. “Due to its added weight, students will always be wanting to dump the used bubble-wrap somewhere. Since they can’t, and we’ll make sure they won’t, it will be obvious extra practice in character and ethics.”
Everyone on the freshman expedition will also be required to follow some additional protocols this year as precautions due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. All students will sleep in separate tents, six feet away from their closest neighbor, wear two masks at all times, “even while hiking”, purify their hands over running hand sanitizer with soap for five minutes before touching everything, and purify their water in a 50-50 betadine-water ratio rather than merely eight drops or so per nalgene. These deep-cutting, and yet extremely effective coronavirus safety protocols, and according to Dr. Remmiz, “are a nice balance between industry standard responses and allowing the program to go on relatively unchanged from a student learning and experience perspective.”