Geology students trucking into the wilds

Kristen Gardner, Staff Writer

With visions of rocks dancing in their heads, the geology department is off again on their annual five-day trip to Eastern Sierra Nevada.

Every fall, the earth and planetary science classes get together for a trip to study the unique geological features of the region. The program takes up to 210 students to different sites each year, to camp out and get hands-on experience while earning school credit.

This year the destination is the Eastern Sierra Nevada, but in past years they have also gone to the Western Sierra Nevada. The trip is planned for Oct. 13-17.

The group will set their main camp far off the beaten path, so students will not have access to power, running water or bathrooms.

“We don’t see campgrounds, we don’t see civilization, we don’t even stop at stores on the trip,” said Eiko Kitao, lab technician and current volunteer for the trip. She also went on a previous trip as a student.

The two-unit course isn’t all fun and exploration. While in the Sierras, students are required to attend class outdoors in the elements.

“We would have five lecture stops each day out in the sun,” said Camille Permar, who went on the trip in a previous year. “It was kind of hot sometimes, but it’s really nice.”

The students are required to fill out journals and take quizzes while in camp, and when they get back they are required to take a final exam to wrap it all up.

“This field trip gave the direction I needed in life,” Kitao said. “It’s amazing how dynamic this earth is.”

The department has multiple trips throughout the year similar to this one, including a Death Valley trip and a Colorado trip in the spring.