Category Archives: Past Trips

WILD (Sorta) Fall 2006

This sorta WILD event was held in late October, at Sand Springs. Sand springs is a nice campsite. It is a great place for a group of any size, you have to get creative with tents and tarps, there a lots of widow makers (aka dead trees) nowadays but you can fit lots of people in the area. The bear bagging trees (there are two viable options in close proximity) are quite high, so give yourself a good hour just to throw the rope. The trail also connects with the MST which is a great option for a day hike, so this is a good place to ‘base camp’.  Ii is recommended for overnight trips to park on the access road and not to park at Shingletown Gap. There is an old pair of cross country skis that have been burned in the fire over the last half decade or so, this has nothing to do with the weather but whatever, the weather was ok.

When shopping for the group meal, they didn’t know what to get and were feeling kinda lazy.  So they bought two rotisserie chickens, quintuple bagged them, and hiked them into camp. Lets just say that people enjoyed the WEIS quality meat that was offered. However, if you pack in 10 pounds of slow roasted chicken, you’ll get several double takes.  Just make sure and bear bag EVERYTHING that the birds made contact with.   Believe me, the smell gets EVERYWHERE.

Members in Attendance:

  • Dennis Something
  • Tom Mrotek
  • Samuel Carpenter
  • Daniel McIntosh
  • Jennifer ??
  • Travis ??
  • 20 people in all went.
  • Kathryn Hegarty

Horse Pens 40, Bouldering 2007

It was 50-60 during the days, but dropped to 40’s at night.  It was perfect weather for bouldering.  There was one rainy day this week, and it just happened to hit mid trip which is perfect for a rest day. The bathrooms in the theater in Birmingham were the best bathrooms in the world, as agreed upon by the entire group. It was quite an experience. Don’t go here when its warm up north, save for a longer break and a colder period where the weather will be worth the trip down south.  Also, plan for rest days, bouldering takes a toll on your body and plan for 1 rest day ever 4 days at the absolute minimum.

High Peaks Region, Adirondacks, NY 2007

Organized by: Julie Sutsko

This frigid trip to the Adirondacks took place during the 2007 Thanksgiving break. The Adirondacks were covered with snow during the group’s adventure and while was mostly sunny the temperatures were not above freezing. The first night the group spent in the wild the temperature plummeted to below zero causing various butts to be frozen. Other misadventures included: frozen boots, salami water, eating snow, wild snow leopards loose from the Adirondack zoo, sketchy lake crossings, the Loj, too many Clif Bars, frozen food (all of it), crossing Marcy Dam, one group climbing Mt. Algonquin, and of course the penis cards(?). Despite the seemingly horrible conditions the group had a blast of a trip. If any groups are wanting to revisit the area they should plan to avoid the cold season but if you do go in the cold seasons, be prepared. Gaiters, insulated waterproof boots, and adequate sleeping gear are all MUSTS. Fun was had by all, and no one died.

Members in Attendance:

  • Julie Sutsko
  • Lauren Reed
  • Johnson Martin
  • Kaitlin Pope
  • Nick Clabbers
  • Zack Haas
  • Brian Sabri
  • Amanda Morrow
  • Brian Newman
  • Brooke Osborne
  • James Basham

Puerto Rico 2007

This legendary trip to Puerto Rico is one of the most amazing trips PSOC has done in the past ten years. HOLY AMAZING WEATHER BATMAN!!!  The trip had some occaisonal bouts of rain, like 4 people cuddling under a two person tarp kind of nights,  but this is normal for peurto rico.  It was amazing!!  just plan for wet and warm but bring some changes of things. A sample of the things that make this just trip legendary:


  • Making reservations at a Hostel for ‘David’ completely in spanish, having never taking a single spanish lesson and actually having the rooms be there when you arrive!!!!!
  • Franz climbing a tree (very safely, obviously) to shake the branches in order to drop oranges to eat.
  • Getting to the top of El Yunce.
  • Meeting the North Carolina basketball team on tour.
  • The boat that almost exploded on its way to the island Culebra.
  • The crazy pseudo expatriates that rented out stolen bicycles.
  • Some of the best snorkeling.
  • Sleeping on one of the worlds top 50 beaches.


Even when it is winter in the states it’s very warm in Peurto Rico. So plan to either stash your winter clothes in the states or carry everything with you.  You also have to prepare EVERY leg of transportation before you go as Buses, Faries and cabs don’t always arrive on time, at all, or even work to begin with. Oh! oh! oh! and get the ‘pan de le something’ its bassicaly fried bread with butter, very good! and very good for hiking.


(lucky) Members in Attendance:

  • Adam “my stomach is gonna digest itself” Sheletsky
  • Brynn “haha” Biddle
  • Kathryn “safety officer” Hegarty
  • Daniel “speak spanish” McIntosh
  • Franz “yeah right” Lichtner
  • Sam “entiendamendaoamoes” Carpenter

Laurel Highlands Trail May 16-18, 2008

Organized by: Zach Haas

This backpacking adventure took place in the Laurel Highlands in mid-May, a season notorious for mixed weather. The group was fortunate in this regard, only receiving rain once and not for the whole trip. Mid-May is also the time that rhododendrons begin to bloom, as the group can attest. The trail itself proved easy for the group despite the treacherous looking elevation profile. A word to any group that chooses to do this hike in the future: reserve the shelters.

Members in Attendance:

  • Zack Haas
  • Kaitlin Pope
  • Weina Ge
  • Prabhasa Ravikirthi
  • Roozbeh Foroozan
  • Mike Szedlmayer

Laurel Highlands Trail November 7-9, 2008

Organized by:

Zack Haas Nick Clabbers

This late season backpacking trip to the Laurel Highlands was overwhelmed by a large group of Boy Scouts. The scouts consumed most of the shelters forcing the group to make due outside with interesting results. The weather for the trip was cool, but overnight showers moved in on the shelterless group making things… interesting. Advice to future trips: make reservations for shelters in advance, watch out for goats, and don’t lose the hummus.

Members in attendance:

  • Zack Haas
  • Nick Clabbers
  • Kaitlin Pope
  • Jesse Hein
  • Tony Hemming
  • Rob Justice
  • Sarah Gettel
  • Noah Johnson
  • Andrew Kinsey
  • Natalie Kovac
  • Pam Lin
  • Joe Moran
  • Zach Orban
  • Diana Zahuranec
  • Anne Sheldrake
  • Amber Slike
  • Sam Roesemann

Allegheny Front Trail December 6-7, 2008

Organized by: Ryan Mullins

This multi-day winter hike was intended for the Allegheny Front Trail, but due to many cancelations the day of the trip was shortened to a single overnight near wolf rocks. The trail was covered with a few inches of snow with deeper sections around a foot. The AFT, as always, was a pleasant hike. A miscommunication resulted in one member not having a sleeping bag for the 5 degree weather. All the extra gear was given to this participant, however the night proved too cold and two members were forced to share a sleeping bag. The AFT still stands as one of the best trails around, even in the dead of winter.

Members in Attendance:

  • Ryan Mullins
  • Dan Trew
  • Ben Hardwick
  • Scott Teal

Oil Creek State Park January 23-25, 2009

Organized by: Joe Moran

This expedition in late January to Oil Creek State Park met with biblical weather, namely 2-3 feet of snow and near-zero temperatures. The following is a detailed description of the trip as related by Joe Moran, the master story teller.


The most memorable portions of the trip were pretty much the entire ordeal.From start to finish it was some of the coldest/most difficult camping I’ve ever done

Initially, the first friday night, we drove into the Wolfkiel Run shelter parking area and just had to make a short quarter-mile walk down from the parking to the shelter area map link:

We had rented Two shelters, but decided upon everybody cramming into one, we were joined that night by a group of Boy Scouts who had taken up the rest of the 6 or 7 shelters.

We woke up that Saturday morning in good spirits ready to take on the Day, (The Boy scout group was also heading to the same Cow run campsite, except they were taking a direct route )

It was about 10:30 and we had to make a choice as to what were were going to do, we could have followed the boy scouts and done the 5 mile route, OR if we were feeling up to it then we could try out the 11 Mile route. We (being all the optimists) voted to do the 11 mile route that took us North along the river to a Suspension Bridge Crossing near Boughton run, and back South to the Cow Run shelters on the other side of the Oil Creek river

So we made our way along the absolutely stunning and snow drenched terrain. The Snow was about 3 feet deep and I was ahead breaking through it. After about thirty minutes to an hour of trudging through the snow, we came to a sort of marker sign and I incorrectly judged that we had gone about 2 Miles already…

In actuality we had probably gone a half a mile at most. From then on it was just snow and exhaustion. We finally reached the suspension bridge and had an extremely cold lunch as we were not hiking anymore and our body temperatures went down. The oranges though, I will say and everyone will attest to, those oranges were the best oranges I have ever eaten.

After we crossed the suspension bridge we still had more than half to go. Instead of following the Trail we decided to go along the train tracks that ran parallel to Oil Creek. It was still absolute brutality. At this point everyone was on their last leg of energy just giving everything they had trudging through the snow, trying to follow the footprints that Ed was making.

Walking along those train tracks seemed to take FOREVER, we might have been going 1 mile an hour tops. We took ALOT of breaks, I once heroicly gave everyone a pep talk to just keep pushing and we’ll make it to some picnic area in two miles and like “we’re not going to stop until we get there, we’re going to make it. No breaks. We can do it.” Not more then ten minutes after we set off from my pep talk, I was like “Oh shit I need a break” and we stopped and took a rest. (LOL)

Those train tracks were pure hell and we hadn’t even gotten to the hills.

Along the tracks, Rich’s shoe had a hole in it and his feet were on the verge of freezing, and he switched socks during one of our rests, that was a bit scary.

After what seemed like forever, we finally got to the Miller Farm bridge where the boy scouts had crossed earlier in the day. From then on it was basically following the Tracks that the boy scouts had made.

Problems from then on. Our Water bottles kept freezing and we all were running out of water

it then got dark and right about the time it got dark we started to climb upwards.

We must have been climbing steadly upwards on long switchbacks

Rich was dehydrating and Ed pretty much saved his life, since I was in the front with my headlamp down just basically in a ZONE following the tracks that the boy scouts made. If I didn’t have those tracks to follow it would have taken us alot longer to find our way not to mention not having to break snow.

We were already beyond tired even before it got dark and we started to make our way up the terrain. That last climb up the hill, I remember stopping and waiting a while for Thad and Michele to catch up and then we waited literally 20 minutes for Rich and Ed to catch up.

It was just insane. Without a doubt the most exhausted I had ever been in my life, my feet and hands were freezing, everyone was just BEAT DOWN. We finally made it to the campsite about 3 hours after dark and got a roaring fire going in the shelter. The next day we hiked the short 4 mile route back to the cars. This way was pretty tiring as well. we, myself at least, were able to enjoy the snow covered pines and the scenic beauty of the trail a little more knowing that we weren’t going to DIE.

it was pretty EPIC looking back on the trip one year later. Something that I’ll never forget.


For those wanting to replicate this experience it is highly recommended that you reserve the shelters in advance, either on line or by phone, because they fill very quickly. Also, tarps to cut the wind coming into the shelters would be a good idea.

Members in Attendance:

  • Joe Moran
  • Michele Gebhart
  • Cat Leece
  • Thaddeus Line
  • Ed Wilson-Ewing
  • Emily Riddle
  • Rich Schatz

Catskills Region, NY 2009

Organized by: James Basham

This frosty group of adventurers visited the Catskills region in New York during the deep winter. The weather for the trip was mild, considering it was February. The nights were a little chilly, but the snow makes for great insulation. Hiking in the area was beautiful, involving snowshoeing and a negotiable snow-pack. The highlight of the trip however was calling the New York State Police to look for the “lost” group. This involved making good friends with a local resident, driving back and forth between two trail heads several times, worrying, hearing the sound of the impending infrared helicopters, and finally watching our very confused friends come down from the mountain all on their own. The reasoning for the debauchery was a simple misreading of the map and a gross underestimate of the distances needing to be traveled. The lesson: get good, accurate maps. All in all fun was had by all and no one died.

Members in Attendance:

  • James Basham
  • Sam Carpenter
  • Nick Clabbers
  • Frannie Root
  • Brooke Osborne
  • Brian Sabri
  • Mikana Maeda
  • Rich Schatz
  • John Blasius
  • Brian Brosius
  • Kelly McFadden
  • Matt Stanton
  • Katelyn Nixon
  • Sarah Luchner

Gila National Wilderness Area 2009

Organized by: Nick Clabbers

This Spring Break ’09 trip was to the Gila National Wilderness Area, New Mexico. The long-term backpacking trip required much preparation and planing (from dehydrating whole meals, to organizing transportation, and a whole lot more). The area was beautiful, however weather was widely unpredictable and many portions of the trail were challenging. Some equipment brought was not up to par with what the weather threw at it, resulting in some less-than-happy outcomes. No one died however, and the group united against a common foe late in the trip and much laughter was had. There may have been a federal crime committed, but that is the stuff of legend and myth.

Members in Attendance:

  • Nick Clabbers
  • Franz Lichtner
  • Kaitlin Pope
  • Toma Zikatanov
  • Kelly McFadden
  • Gretchen Wall
  • Dan Trew