“I felt like everyone was really excited to have me on board and have me go on my first trip.”
Adventure is out there!
There are many places to venture in San Luis Obispo which yield challenging treks and spectacular views, and Poly Escapes is an organization on campus which puts together group excursions for a low fee which not only students, but community members can participate in.
Where It All Began
When I first toured Cal Poly back in April of 2014, I remember being fascinated by the images on the windows of the Poly Escapes room attached to the Rec. Center. There were images of morning yoga hikes, and camping under the stars, and I knew that I wanted to be a participant on these trips as soon as I could. The first week of school in September, I signed up for two weekend trips, and applied to be a “co-leader” or leader in training. I had zero backpacking experience and minimal camping experience, but I love the outdoors and figured I would go for it.
At first, it was nerve-wracking. It was my first month at college, my first month away from home, and I was flooded with anxious emotion about how I had never backpacked before, but would soon embark on a weekend long trip. I was moderately unprepared in terms of gear, with people I had never met before in my life. This fear soon disappeared when I realized that the other participants on this trip were similar in personality to me, and shared my love of adventure.
If you have any interest in Poly Escapes, do not feel intimidated by a lack of experience, because there is no experience required to sign up for a trip. Third year Cal Poly student Dina Saba also originally had no prior wilderness knowledge but signed up for a trip, and had a completely positive experience. “I felt like everyone was really excited to have me on board and have me go on my first trip.” Dina said. Dina gives more insight into her Poly Escapes expereince, as well as students Eric Hsieh and Adam Zaccone in my podcast below, highlighting their favorite trips and memories on their adventures with the program.
Take the LEap
Poly Escapes is everything I hoped it would be when I signed up. I have met many other students who share my sense of adventure and have been able to go on trips which have broadened my horizons and given me a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that can only be achieved from hours of trekking, to finally make it to the top of that rock which overlooks a valley on top of the world.
There’s no specific rock in particular, they’re everywhere. This is why it is important to take advantage of the opportunity to go on these, to find yourself and broaden your own horizens adventures It’s easy to sign up for a Poly Escapes trip through the ASI Website and find your overlook.
“It’s not very often you get the chance to be with so many people who love to be in the outdoors and go on adventures as much as this group does.” said Adam Zaccone
education and experience
There are a wide variety of trips to try with Poly Escapes. On the trail maintenance trip for the Ventana Wilderness Alliance,, you can give back to the community through volunteer work, as you hack down bushes and trees to upkeep the trails in the Los Padres National Forest, and appreciate the hard work which goes into keeping up trails.
Another example of a trip I enjoyed was Cosmic Camping, an educational experience under the stars learning from a real Cal Poly professor about the universe and its astronomical make up, by viewing the night sky through high-powered telescopes.
Find your Passion!
There are also stand up paddle boarding trips, sunrise yoga hikes, caving, climbing, and many other ways to get involved for a price within the budget of a “broke college student.”
Poly Escapes is an ASI program through Cal Poly which does not operate to make a profit. The trip leaders do their job for the love of the adventure and are often compensated pay depending on how many people sign up, and whether or not they can make a successful food and transportation budget with the money gained on a particular trip without losing money. The participants come back from the trips more educated in the ways of the wild and bonds formed with fellow adventure seekers.
“It’s not very often you get the chance to be with so many people who love to be in the outdoors and go on adventures as much as this group does.” Said Co-leader Adam Zaccone.
This is why the best time to take advantage of these opportunities is now.