By Aya Burton ‘22
Situated at the foot of the San Gabriels, Scripps neighbors countless breathtaking natural splendors like the Angeles National Forest, Big Bear Lake, and stretches of iconic beaches. However, it can be difficult for students to access these landmarks if they do not own a car or the appropriate equipment. Scripps’ Outdoor Wilderness Leaders (OWL) helps connect students interested in taking advantage of these outdoor opportunities by renting out gear and organizing student-led camping and hiking trips in Southern California and beyond. Over fall break this past week, four groups of students enjoyed beach camping at Crystal Cove as well as trips to Death Valley, the Valley of Fire, and Kelso Dunes. Later this week on Oct. 26 OWL is leading a 10-mile hike to the Bridge to Nowhere.
OWL stands out because it provides trips free of charge, covering gas and other expenses, to ensure that these opportunities are inclusive and accessible to all. “Everyone should have access to the beauty of the outdoors,” OWL student-leader Eva Gruszynski ’22 said, “and OWL makes it easy by offering all levels of hiking to 5C students as well as outdoorsy on-campus events.” On Oct. 26, for instance, they will be hosting a s’mores event at the grills in the Rose Garden, emphasizing OWL’s ongoing mission of inclusivity.
“People who don’t have access to the outdoors or who have never hiked before enjoy their first times camping or backpacking and make it a comfortable, fun experience,” Gruszynski said.
As an outdoors club at a historically all-women’s college, OWL is a unique space where womxn can pursue leadership positions in a realm often dominated by men.
According to Gruszynski, in her past two years working with OWL, she has felt the club to be far “less bro-y and not competitive or intimidating in the way outdoor activities can sometimes feel. There’s none of that hypermasculinity present and people just want to have fun.”
Ultimately, OWL aims to create a supportive environment where students can meet other peers interested in the outdoors while exploring the surrounding wilderness. Scripps students qualified for work-study can also apply to become trip-leaders.
In just the past month and a half, students have trekked up Mount Baldy, hiked and swam in the Aztec Falls, and enjoyed a number of beach trips. Craving some jaw-dropping mountain vistas or a star-gazing session at Joshua Tree? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow their Facebook page to learn more about future OWL trips and opportunities. Adventure awaits!
Photo Credit: Scripps OWL
10/30, Volume XXIX, Issue 3