Tag Archives: long trips

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

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

North Carolina 2009

Organized by: Zach Haas, Jake Catt

The third Thanksgiving trip of Fall 2009 was to Mount Mitchell and areas around it. The trip was originally planned to be ridge hiking, however wintery weather made traversing the mount dangerous and it was decided to change plans and go to Linville Gorge. The gorge was grossly underestimated and proved very challenging at points, most notably a long climb at nearly a 200% grade. The area was plagued by thick clouds, fog, drizzle, rain, and utter dampness. Fortunately all the gear was adequate and no emergencies arose. Other than falling off a cliff in the fog, or getting lost at night, or getting lost during the day in the fog, or trying to cross a freezing river in the rain, or… it was tricky. The group rolled with the challenges and turned out a terrific trip despite setbacks.

Members in Attendance:

  • Zach Haas
  • Jake Catt
  • Tony Hemming
  • Tyler Haas
  • Dave Alleman
  • Kaitlin Pope
  • Dan Trew

Everglades 2009

Organized by: Kelly McFadden, Joe Moran

The first Thanksgiving Break trip to depart, this trip explored the wonders of the Everglades National Park. The trip had varying degrees of difficulty depending on the current. As would be expected the weather was warm (80 degrees) and sunny, however it being Florida the weather was also unpredictable at times (high winds and downpours). All the perishable food perished within the first 3 days and large dry-bags were required to keep water-sensitive equipment safe and dry. The trip went smoothly. Note: many notes to follow.

  • Long-term weather forecasts are unreliable for Florida
  • it is suggested that perishable food be purchased in Florida to minimize spoilage
  • lots of bugs
  • bare feet = cut feet
  • sun = sun burn
  • Campsites in Everglades National Park must be reserved in person at the visitor center less than 24 hours before arrival at camp

Members in Attendance:

  • Nick Clabbers
  • Adam Cota
  • Brian Kocher
  • Pamela Lin
  • Thaddeus Line
  • Kelly McFadden
  • Joe Moran
  • Ed Wilson-Ewing

Colorado 2009

Organized by: Adam Scheletsky

The second Thanksgiving break trip to depart our college campus was a trip to Colorado State Forrest State Park [sic]. The trip consisted of snowshoeing form yurt-to-yurt (Montgomery Pass >> Ruby Jewel >> North Fork Yurt). The difficulty being mainly due to snow-depth and elevation. The weather on the trip was cold with 2 ft of snow, it is 10,000 ft after-all, but the yurts were toasty. Many layers of bacon and clothes made this trip awesome. MSR lightning ascent snowshoes are super bomber, Adam is buying a pair when he gets the money. Adam also forgot the back of the report sheet. As such we have no idea if everyone got along or if there are any dangers, but with no pending lawsuits we assume everyone survived and had a good time.

Members in Attendance:

  • Adam Scheletsky
  • Brandon Scherzberg
  • Rosemarie Scherzberg
  • James Basham
  • Toma Zikatanov

Backpacking South Dakota 2010

Organized by Rosemarie Scherzberg

This wild and wacky trip to the Black Hills Nation Forest and Badlands National Park took place over the ’10 Spring Break. The first few days of the trip met awesome weather, allowing the group to follow PSOC fashion and get hopelessly lost somewhere only to find a beautiful views and have things work out in the end. The group then blew around the area hiking over ice flows, lakes, snowy fields, and through mud… lots of mud. The itinerary also included Mount Rushmore, Wall Drug, and a stay at Ann’s Motel. All of which are entirely memorable, and no doubt will make it into the strange amalgamation of hilarious misadventures that is PSOC.

Members in Attendance:

  • Rosemarie Scherzberg
  • Doug Weinhold
  • Kaitlin Pope
  • Catherine Hewlett
  • Toma Zikatanov
  • Nick Clabbers

Neusiok Trail North Carolina– Thanksgiving Break 2010

Organized by: Joe Moran

This relaxed trip to “the beach” took place over the 2010 Thanksgiving Break. The crew left a little later than expected due to a map confusion and a utter mistrust of GPS technology, however the group did eventually leave for the great Atlantic Ocean. Upon arrival the group decided to take a break and sleep for a few hours on the visitor center lawn. After the brief nap they spent the day on the beach, running around in the ocean, and playing with lacquered wood balls. The next few days were spent on the trial, or board walk, or road, or whatever the forest service calls the thing you hike on. Baring the occasional fly-over by Marine Harriers and the never-ending road, the group had an awesome time sleeping on the beach and in shelters. The super-chill nature of the trip provided adequate time for the group to bond, and friends were made all around. For more details ask one of the people who went, as the trip cannot be fully expressed in this trip report. Everyone had an awesome time and no one died, also Joe took great pictures.

Members in Attendance:

  • Joe Moran
  • Dan Trew
  • Dave Himes
  • Sean Meadows
  • Bethany Johns
  • Tom Johnston

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 2010

Organized by: Emily Riddle

This Thanksgiving Break trip to the Great Smoky Mountains was a little more “intense” than the other trip that went out. The group average was 10 miles per day, but the work was worth it. The following is a recount of the events during the trip as told by Emily [when you see these I added a comment].

The very spooky night our last night in the backcountry. Extremely large amounts of mist/ fog that limited our visibility to approximately 10[!] feet. Felt like a scene from “The Mist’… seriously. We were all ready for a foreign animal [watch out for those immigrant bears] or zombie attack at any moment. Along with the mist, the extremely high winds blowing our tarps around all night made for about 10 hours with very little sleep.

Aside from the spooky night at Icewater shelter the trip was FABULOUS! Many great expansive vistas – Charlie’s Bunion is just one. The 3rd day on the trail we hiked along the AT along the state line between TN and NC. We could see for miles and miles over the mountain ranges of both states – pretty awesome. Also, along the AT shelters, bear bag ropes, and outhouses are established in the backcountry.. yes it is very luxurious. [You needed Sherpas]

Oh.. and many many pudding packs were eaten during our short stint in the backcountry (8 by me alone… )[funny, considering you don’t even eat cookies.].. delicious to say the least. [cookies everywhere are crying]

Use the bear bag ropes provided – bears are a known problem. [especially the foreign ones…]

Be prepared to hike with lots of elevation change – we were only hiking 8-11 mile days and were sufficiently tuckered out. One could easily hike for 3 to 8 hours.. uphill the entire time. However, the views and vistas are well well worth it.

Also, make sure you at least take a drive to the top of Clingman’s Dome (6,643 ft). It is the 3rd highest peak east of the Mississippi River just short of Mount Mitchell (6,684 ft) and Mount Craig (6,647 ft).

One last thing.. Gatlinburg, TN is a crazy tourist town.. [I’ve been there] if anyone else does a similar trip, time budget for at least a bit of time to walk around the town.. it is filled with an upside-down house, a titanic replica thing [it’s just as random as you’d think, considering TN is landlocked], castles, go carts, ski lifts over the town, Ripley’s believe-it-or-not, hard rock cafe, and many more ridiculous attractions.

Get outside and explore!

Members in Attendance:

  • Greg Smith
  • Mike Collins
  • Catherine Hewlett
  • Emily Riddle