Summer Field Camp is an experience that will not soon be forgotten. For many of us, this was our first trip to the West. I think that the most outstanding mental pictures were obtained by climbing to the highest point in each map area and taking in the immense view which stretched on and on, with mountains in the background and meandering streams and tree tops in the foreground. One of the favorite stops was the Bighorn Mountains. The geomorphology is classic and the views are breathtaking. Badlands National Park was another highlight of the trip. Emerging from your tent early in the morning feels like you are suddenly on the moon. It is unlike anything one could imagine, and no amount of pictures can capture the magnitude and majesty of the area. The trip was full of firsts for many in the group: cooking on an open fire, camping, and absorbing the sights and sounds of the mystical weather patterns in the great West. More than once we ran for cover in fear of an approaching thunderhead only to discover, much to our embarrassment, that the brewing storm was some 40 miles away. Morale was aided by a collective group sense of humor and a few unsuspecting watermelons. This was critical, being so far from home.
For future field campers: go over your checklist many times, ask lots of questions, climb everything, take lots of notes, forget all prejudgments of your classmates, and finally, check your attitude at the van doors. This is truly a humbling experience because in the field all bets are off. Everyone will surprise you.
- Sandi Kandel, KSU Undergraduate Geology Major 2005 Participant, Summer Field Camp in the Black Hills, SD