Outdoor Adventures Trip Calls Colorado River ‘Home’ for Thanksgiving

Outdoor Adventures Trip Calls Colorado River ‘Home’ for Thanksgiving

Torero students far from home for the November holiday break can always look forward to the annual Outdoor Adventures (OA) Thanksgiving trip. This year’s trek took 12 students and three veteran guides to the stunning landscapes along the Colorado River.

The ambitious group set out for the Nevada-Arizona border last Tuesday, equipped with canoes, camping gear, and everyone’s favorite holiday staples. For five days, participants bonded with peers while indulging in the natural beauty of the American Southwest.


Highlights of the trip included a seven-mile paddle to Arizona Hot Springs, a stunning view of the towering Hoover Dam, and ample time to explore the grandeur of the nation’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead. Students were treated to a dazzling sequence of slot canyons, hot springs, and sandy beaches. They also met 1989 alumnus, Rich Schrader, who was on a separate family trip to the area. He spoke to the group briefly, noting his first-ever river trip was to the same places with Outdoor Adventures. He also spoke about River Source, a nonprofit consultant group he founded that’s based in New Mexico and works with communities to be good stewards of watersheds with science and policy education, planning, monitoring and ecological restoration services.

Three international students also joined the trip as they were excited about the opportunity to explore sights beyond San Diego. Xavier Valles Rebollo, a fourth-year student on an exchange semester from the Chemical Institute of Sarriá (IQS) in Barcelona, encouraged his peers to sign up for the trip. Balking at the hefty price tag to go back to Spain during the short break from classes, Valles Rebollo said, “I wanted us to have an experience that we would not be able to have in Europe.” He was impressed by the grandeur of the Colorado River.

No Thanksgiving trip would be complete without the food. On Thursday night, under a dazzling display of stars, students dined on a decadent feast: a roasted turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, and an apple crumble. Dinner preparation required all hands and the heat of a campfire.

The trip was led by student guide, Caroline Grothues ’20. Grothues, who studies business administration, has been involved with OA since first participating in the group’s pre-orientation trip before her first year at USD. Like many others, she has found a home at OA.

“Being away from home for Thanksgiving can be nerve-wracking, but having an amazing group of students from different backgrounds come together to create such a loving environment is what makes OA special to me,” reflected Grothues.

The students settled back into campus on Sunday before classes resumed. They return refreshed, renewed, full from leftovers, and motivated to finish the closing weeks of the fall semester.

— Michael Bennett ‘19

All photos provided by Outdoor Adventures

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