Utah Cohort

WALI Utah Cohort

High Trails Adventure - 18 yrs+

WALI was designed to expand upon an already solid foundation of outdoor knowledge and provide opportunities to test your skills. During your time with WALI, you and your cohort will earn a wilderness certifications that is considered standards in the industry, Wilderness First Responder. You will also be educated in Swift Water Rescue techniques for river and water activities. You will receive impactful leadership instruction as you build towards your capstone experience of working with youth in the field. With an outdoor classroom unlike any other, this is the adventure of a lifetime and also a must for any future outdoor educator or trip leader who is looking to make the transition from student to leader.

Click here for application instructions for this program.

42 Days

$6,595

  • June 8th - July 19th
  • Salt Lake City, UT

Day 1

Arrive in Salt Lake City, Utah and participate in a welcome orientation. As soon as everyone is gathered, you’ll make your way to your first night’s campsite in the neighboring ski town of Park City. The snow-capped mountains reflected on the reservoir waters of Jordanelle State Park will set the stage as you and your group set up your tents, enjoy your first group meal together, play games, and go over the itinerary for the next 42 days. 

Days 2-6

On the second day of your trip, you’ll travel south to the Moab area. You’ll spend the day preparing for your first backcountry section: overnight river rafting through Desolation Canyon of the Green River.

You’ll learn how to truly prep for a river trip, from the perspective of a leader.  You’ll test stoves and gear, plan meals, go grocery shopping, and teach each other as you would your students to pack their supplies efficiently and effectively.

The next morning, you’ll meet your professional river guides and put on the Green River. For the next four days and three nights, you’ll settle into life on the river. Desolation Canyon of the Green River is considered to be one of the most remote areas in the contiguous United States. Your days on the river will be spent going through the designed curriculum for rafting with students. You’ll learn about the petroglyphs in the canyon and visit the historic Rock Creek Ranch and Turtle Rock.  You’ll learn how engage students in learning about the history of an area. You’ll focus in on ways and techniques that empower students to do their part with river chores and duties, and  there will be other important leadership curriculum items that are vital for making students feel comfortable with the challenge level of the trip.

Day 7-8

After your river expedition, you and your group will hit land for the next three weeks, until the river re-emerges as the focus once more during whitewater kayaking on Day 34. No trip to Utah would be complete without a visit to Arches National Park. You will spend a couple of days here exploring the red rocks and unique landscape of contrasting colors and it’s natural stone arches. Among the scenery, you will focus on the important skills needed to guide students through public wilderness areas. As a budding outdoor instructor, it’s important to learn how to lead a hike with students, review safety basics and self care, and teach trail etiquette.

Days 9-15

Following day of hiking and learning in Arches National Park, you will begin the week-long Wilderness First Responder course. Wilderness First Responder (also known as WFR) is the outdoor industry standard for professional guides, trip leaders, search and rescue team members, outdoor recreationists, and international travelers. Every single Wilderness Adventures trip leader has obtained this certification before working with youth in the field. Through this intensive week-long course, you will learn to conduct physical exams, obtain patient history, assess vital signs, provide emergency care in the wilderness, and make crucial evacuation decisions. You’ll learn in both the classroom and in an outdoor setting.

Days 16-20

Once you are Wilderness First Responder certified, it will be time to head north from the Moab area to Park City, Utah and from there, you’ll cross into the great state of Wyoming! For the next two days, you’ll focus on how to travel with a group of students. Wilderness Adventures groups are always on the move, and the importance of prepping for travel days with van maintenance, maps and navigation of routes, etc. are vital lessons for executing a successful trip.

Once in Jackson Hole, you and your cohort will spend the next day preparing for your next backcountry section: backpacking through the pristine wilderness areas of Wyoming! As you did before, you’ll meal plan, grocery shop, assess gear and equipment, and work together with your group to divy up weight and supplies. Packing a backpack effectively and efficiently is incredibly important for students to learn. Weight distribution in a pack can make all the difference.

You will backpack for the next four days and three nights in the backcountry of Wyoming’s remote wilderness areas. Backcountry cooking with whisper lite stoves, map and compass navigation, walking pace, blister care, water filtration, bear safety and other valuable lessons on backpacking students will be your top priority during this section. You’ll learn a number of backcountry games and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife including moose, elk, and bald eagles.

Days 21-26

Following your backpacking expedition, you’ll de-prep with showers, laundry, and an afternoon to prepare for your first section of working with youth in the field. Over the next five days, you’ll be working at Wilderness Adventures’ day camp, Base Camp,  located right in the heart of Jackson at Snow King Mountain.

During this five day period, you will be working with kindergarten-8th graders. Specific curriculum will include behavior management, parent communication, games and skits, free time fillers, and activity preparation and planning. You’ll play more games than you could ever know what to do with, and have a ton of fun. This section of WALI will give you the unique opportunity to work with some of our youngest students, deepening your experience with a wide variety of ages.

Days 27-32

Following your time at Base Camp, you will debrief the experience of working with that age group and gear up for your next section – interning with a local Wilderness Adventures trip in the field. Your group will split up over the next five days and head out to different trips. Jackson Hole Fly Fishing, Yellowstone Explorer, and various others are your potential settings. You will work with 7th-9th grade students in a “Leader in Training” role. You will work alongside the trip’s Wilderness Adventures trip leaders and learn from their example. And of course, you’ll get to partake in the fun of the trip’s itinerary! Hiking, backpacking, rafting, fly fishing – there are a lot of options! Placement of each trip will be decided by your trip leaders.

 

Day 33-37

Following your time interning with a Wilderness Adventures group, you’ll group back up together for a debrief session of your experience in the field. From there, it will be time to hit the river once more during the next four days of whitewater kayaking.

You will begin your whitewater kayaking section with an introduction to the sport for the first two days. You’ll learn how to read the river and proper paddle techniques. Days 3 and 4 will be devoted to your Swift Water Rescue education.

Swift Water Rescue is a form of technical rescue in whitewater river conditions. Due to added pressure of moving water, swift water rescue involves the use of speciality trained techniques, rope work, and mechanical advantage systems. You’ll learn to not only navigate whitewater, but how to mitigate its risks effectively as outdoor professionals.

Days 38-39

Following your whitewater kayaking and Swift Water Rescue education, you’ll debrief as a group and begin the process of  reflection as your trip winds down. Learning how to conduct evening circles and final circle ceremonies is a very important part of a Wilderness Adventures trip. Encouraging students to step up to challenges and to face their fears, whether those fears stem from the river or heights while climbing or being in bear country, is one of the most important jobs as a leader and a role model. Your debrief after the river will address these topics.

The next day, you will spend the day alongside a group of welcoming national forest rangers and give back to our incredible trail systems with a day of community service. The area of focus will depend on the needs of the Forest Service, but your project will be trail work – maintaining trails, building levees for proper water flow, constructing berms and embankments, improving signage, and other projects.

 

Days 40-42

Following your service work, your group will head into the Gros Ventre Range, and hike to the summit of Jackson Peak, one of the most prominent peaks east of town that rises above the National Elk Refuge. Jackson Peak’s pyramidal form is visible from almost anywhere in the valley, and it will be an incredibly summit experience for you and your group. The trail up is gorgeous with amazing views of the Teton range across the valley. A summit experience is a fantastic culmination to any Wilderness Adventures trip, and to have that experience on Day 40 of your WALI adventure will be just as special.

On the last full day of your trip, you and your group will spend the day in Jackson for some sight seeing and souvenir shopping. That evening, you will have your final circle as a group and your traditional end-of-summer banquet. The next day, you will get up early and head back to Salt Lake City for the group’s afternoon flights.

 

Day 1

Arrive in Salt Lake City, Utah and participate in a welcome orientation. As soon as everyone is gathered, you’ll make your way to your first night’s campsite in the neighboring ski town of Park City. The snow-capped mountains reflected on the reservoir waters of Jordanelle State Park will set the stage as you and your group set up your tents, enjoy your first group meal together, play games, and go over the itinerary for the next 42 days. 

Days 2-6

On the second day of your trip, you’ll travel south to the Moab area. You’ll spend the day preparing for your first backcountry section: overnight river rafting through Desolation Canyon of the Green River.

You’ll learn how to truly prep for a river trip, from the perspective of a leader.  You’ll test stoves and gear, plan meals, go grocery shopping, and teach each other as you would your students to pack their supplies efficiently and effectively.

The next morning, you’ll meet your professional river guides and put on the Green River. For the next four days and three nights, you’ll settle into life on the river. Desolation Canyon of the Green River is considered to be one of the most remote areas in the contiguous United States. Your days on the river will be spent going through the designed curriculum for rafting with students. You’ll learn about the petroglyphs in the canyon and visit the historic Rock Creek Ranch and Turtle Rock.  You’ll learn how engage students in learning about the history of an area. You’ll focus in on ways and techniques that empower students to do their part with river chores and duties, and  there will be other important leadership curriculum items that are vital for making students feel comfortable with the challenge level of the trip.

Day 7-8

After your river expedition, you and your group will hit land for the next three weeks, until the river re-emerges as the focus once more during whitewater kayaking on Day 34. No trip to Utah would be complete without a visit to Arches National Park. You will spend a couple of days here exploring the red rocks and unique landscape of contrasting colors and it’s natural stone arches. Among the scenery, you will focus on the important skills needed to guide students through public wilderness areas. As a budding outdoor instructor, it’s important to learn how to lead a hike with students, review safety basics and self care, and teach trail etiquette.

Days 9-15

Following day of hiking and learning in Arches National Park, you will begin the week-long Wilderness First Responder course. Wilderness First Responder (also known as WFR) is the outdoor industry standard for professional guides, trip leaders, search and rescue team members, outdoor recreationists, and international travelers. Every single Wilderness Adventures trip leader has obtained this certification before working with youth in the field. Through this intensive week-long course, you will learn to conduct physical exams, obtain patient history, assess vital signs, provide emergency care in the wilderness, and make crucial evacuation decisions. You’ll learn in both the classroom and in an outdoor setting.

Days 16-20

Once you are Wilderness First Responder certified, it will be time to head north from the Moab area to Park City, Utah and from there, you’ll cross into the great state of Wyoming! For the next two days, you’ll focus on how to travel with a group of students. Wilderness Adventures groups are always on the move, and the importance of prepping for travel days with van maintenance, maps and navigation of routes, etc. are vital lessons for executing a successful trip.

Once in Jackson Hole, you and your cohort will spend the next day preparing for your next backcountry section: backpacking through the pristine wilderness areas of Wyoming! As you did before, you’ll meal plan, grocery shop, assess gear and equipment, and work together with your group to divy up weight and supplies. Packing a backpack effectively and efficiently is incredibly important for students to learn. Weight distribution in a pack can make all the difference.

You will backpack for the next four days and three nights in the backcountry of Wyoming’s remote wilderness areas. Backcountry cooking with whisper lite stoves, map and compass navigation, walking pace, blister care, water filtration, bear safety and other valuable lessons on backpacking students will be your top priority during this section. You’ll learn a number of backcountry games and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife including moose, elk, and bald eagles.

Days 21-26

Following your backpacking expedition, you’ll de-prep with showers, laundry, and an afternoon to prepare for your first section of working with youth in the field. Over the next five days, you’ll be working at Wilderness Adventures’ day camp, Base Camp,  located right in the heart of Jackson at Snow King Mountain.

During this five day period, you will be working with kindergarten-8th graders. Specific curriculum will include behavior management, parent communication, games and skits, free time fillers, and activity preparation and planning. You’ll play more games than you could ever know what to do with, and have a ton of fun. This section of WALI will give you the unique opportunity to work with some of our youngest students, deepening your experience with a wide variety of ages.

Days 27-32

Following your time at Base Camp, you will debrief the experience of working with that age group and gear up for your next section – interning with a local Wilderness Adventures trip in the field. Your group will split up over the next five days and head out to different trips. Jackson Hole Fly Fishing, Yellowstone Explorer, and various others are your potential settings. You will work with 7th-9th grade students in a “Leader in Training” role. You will work alongside the trip’s Wilderness Adventures trip leaders and learn from their example. And of course, you’ll get to partake in the fun of the trip’s itinerary! Hiking, backpacking, rafting, fly fishing – there are a lot of options! Placement of each trip will be decided by your trip leaders.

 

Day 33-37

Following your time interning with a Wilderness Adventures group, you’ll group back up together for a debrief session of your experience in the field. From there, it will be time to hit the river once more during the next four days of whitewater kayaking.

You will begin your whitewater kayaking section with an introduction to the sport for the first two days. You’ll learn how to read the river and proper paddle techniques. Days 3 and 4 will be devoted to your Swift Water Rescue education.

Swift Water Rescue is a form of technical rescue in whitewater river conditions. Due to added pressure of moving water, swift water rescue involves the use of speciality trained techniques, rope work, and mechanical advantage systems. You’ll learn to not only navigate whitewater, but how to mitigate its risks effectively as outdoor professionals.

Days 38-39

Following your whitewater kayaking and Swift Water Rescue education, you’ll debrief as a group and begin the process of  reflection as your trip winds down. Learning how to conduct evening circles and final circle ceremonies is a very important part of a Wilderness Adventures trip. Encouraging students to step up to challenges and to face their fears, whether those fears stem from the river or heights while climbing or being in bear country, is one of the most important jobs as a leader and a role model. Your debrief after the river will address these topics.

The next day, you will spend the day alongside a group of welcoming national forest rangers and give back to our incredible trail systems with a day of community service. The area of focus will depend on the needs of the Forest Service, but your project will be trail work – maintaining trails, building levees for proper water flow, constructing berms and embankments, improving signage, and other projects.

 

Days 40-42

Following your service work, your group will head into the Gros Ventre Range, and hike to the summit of Jackson Peak, one of the most prominent peaks east of town that rises above the National Elk Refuge. Jackson Peak’s pyramidal form is visible from almost anywhere in the valley, and it will be an incredibly summit experience for you and your group. The trail up is gorgeous with amazing views of the Teton range across the valley. A summit experience is a fantastic culmination to any Wilderness Adventures trip, and to have that experience on Day 40 of your WALI adventure will be just as special.

On the last full day of your trip, you and your group will spend the day in Jackson for some sight seeing and souvenir shopping. That evening, you will have your final circle as a group and your traditional end-of-summer banquet. The next day, you will get up early and head back to Salt Lake City for the group’s afternoon flights.