Now Voyager Four Corners

Expeditions to Utah’s Grand Staircase and Bears Ears National Monuments

Next spring, explore an American wilderness that might vanish before our eyes—

the Grand Staircase and Bears Ears National Monuments, both set to be privatised by the Trump administration.

Two field environmental philosophy expeditions are setting out from Salt Lake City the weeks of Sun.-Sun. March 11-18 and Sun.-Sun. March 18-25.

This publicly-owned land is yours, and Biocitizen is freewalking its mesas and canyons to learn its biocultural history before its gone.

This land is your family’s and your friends’. Hopefully, your grandchildren’s.

Witness it. Bring back to them what you have witnessed, spread the news, and help save it.

Tuition and Registration

Our “outdoor classrooms” are slickrock canyons, Anasazi ruins, hidden labyrinths, pinyon juniper forests, narrow steams, big rivers, potholes, and skies wider than…

explore the unknown, touch the earth, move and climb, gather water from pure cold springs, share worldviews around campfires and cliff edges, feel the joy and challenge of being alive on a mysterious planet.

From Sunday, March 11 to Sunday, March 18 we’ll explore the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Depending on weather conditions, our hikes might include Coyote Gulch, Peek-a-Boo/Spooky/Brimstone Gulches and Egypt Slot Canyon. And, we’ll make time for a Bryce Canyon visit.

From Sunday March 18 to Sunday March 25 we’ll explore the Bears Ears National Monument. Depending on weather conditions, our hikes might include Grand Gulch, Slickhorn Canyon and some time above it all in the Bears Ears mountains. We’ll stop for a dash around Bryce Canyon too.

Field Environmental Philosophy Curricula

Our 4 subject areas will be learned conceptually through the reading of texts and 3 class discussions via internet-conferencing. Then we will take our themes and ideas into the field, and learn them experientially via field environmental philosophy. We will keep journals—and after breakfast and dinner respond to prompts to inspire philosophical reflection and prepare group discussions.

Subject areas:

  1. The biocultural histories of the high desert biomes we enter. We’ll verse ourselves in geologies, hydrologies and living systems, and in the Native American, and Colonial and Contemporary American stories of inhabiting these inhospitable places.
  2. The principles of Deep Ecology. We’ll reckon with the abyss that separates our sense of ourselves as we are socially constructed, and our sense of ourselves as members of a mammalian species.
  3. The definition of “national monument” in legal, political and regulatory terms. The places we are going are sites of intense cultural controversy, and we’ll have wide-ranging discussions about what is happening at, and to, them.
  4. The skills of wilderness canyoneering including orienteering, low impact camping, micro-climatology, and proper self-care.

Itinerary

Our purpose is to be keen witnesses and grateful adventurers within the bounds of the National Monuments. The Grand Staircase and Bears Ears regions are diverse in geomorphic and climatic character; and the best routes are determined by the weather. When we leave SLC airport, we’ll know—based on the latest weather report—whether we are going high into the wet mountains or low into dry canyons. Because the regions are stepped, we can always find the warmest or coldest posts—and defining and choosing together the particular route will be part of our learning adventure and wilderness-bonding experience.

Logistics

Students:

—Students must be 18 years or older, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

—College students have received credits for service and research in Now Voyager classes, and Biocitizen directors are prepared to assist students who want to do this.

Transportation:

—We’ll start and end at Salt Lake City International Airport. Students will get their own round trip tickets, and arrive no later than 3 pm and depart no earlier than 3pm. Staff will greet students in the arrivals lobby. Students will be dropped off at the airport and make their own way to their departing flights.

—To get to and from the Four Corners, we’ll use our 15-seat Econoline passenger van, with roof rack for gear.

Trekking:

—Our treks will be moderately difficult, with occasional difficult stretches. Everyday we’ll reach and sustain our edge. After our week, we’ll be in better shape, in many ways.

—Students will be fit enough to walk 6-10 miles a day, carrying a pack that contains bedding, clothes, toiletries, journal, and portions of the group’s tents and food. We’ll hike areas with water sources, and carry a liter of water at all times.

—Students will share group burdens, but Biocitizen staff is responsible for guiding, ensuring safety, and making conditions as comfortable, fun and stimulating as possible.

Food and Shelter:

—We will eat a high carb, high protein, high fiber diet with plenty of salt and sugar, comprised mostly of dry foods (to reduce backpack weight) that we’ll consume as is (dried fruit and meat) and/or rehydrate at camp. We will eat to satisfaction, but that’s it; the lighter we travel the farther and deeper we can go into the wilderness—and that is our goal.

—Staff will be in charge of preparing food with a rotating crew of student assistants. We are going to take care of each other.

—We, 12-15 people, will sleep in 2 or 3, 8-person tents; we will use 3 if we are near the van, 2 when we are far from it. The tent parts will be distributed equitably amongst the group.

—Students are required to provide a cup, bowl and cutlery and a sleeping bag (rated 20 degrees or lower) and a sleeping pad. Please see the Student Supply List for other required or suggested items.

Tuition

Now Voyager Four Corners costs $700.00, and does not include airfare.

It includes 2 travel days (Sunday of arrival and Sunday of departure) and 6 days of guided wilderness Field Environmental Philosophy adventure learning (Monday-Saturday). The tuition covers food and shelter, as described above, from the Sunday evening of arrival until the Sunday morning of departure.

—Biocitizen serves students from diverse economic, cultural and geographic backgrounds. If you would like to join us, but need assistance, it is possible for Biocitizen to reduce the tuition cost in exchange for service.

Questions?

For more details please email Kurt Heidinger, executive director, at info@biocitizen.org or call him at 413.320.0522

Teachers

Kurt Heidinger

Program Director

Jesse Carmichael

Ass't Program Director

Ursa Heidinger

Co-Leader Grand Staircase Expedition

Phoebe Gelbard

Co-Leader Grand Staircase Expedition

Nell Heidinger

Co-Leader Bears Ears Expedition

Taylor Potasky

Co-Leader Bears Ears Expedition