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NMJC Class Braves the Wilderness

NMJC Class Braves the Wilderness photo 5/20/2009 12:38:21 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. For four days in mid-April, the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico became the ultimate classroom for a group of New Mexico Junior College instructors and students.

On Thursday, April 16, NMJC Physical Education professor John Baldwin, along with co-instructor Bryant Bullard and 13 students, traveled to the Gila Wilderness near Silver City as part of a Backpacking/Camping class taught by Baldwin.

According to Baldwin, the trip is the culmination of a one-credit-hour course that teaches how to survive in the outdoors. Specifically, students learn how to prepare for a trip, select and use equipment, treat injuries, and choose appropriate foods. Students also learn map reading and how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS). After a number of instructional classes, students then enjoy an actual backpacking / camping experience. Students 16-18 years of age may also participate if accompanied by an adult.

Brad Neely, one of the NMJC students who went on the Gila Wilderness trip, describes it as "a very good class" for amateur backpackers and encourages others to sign up for future trips. "These are cool trips that teach you the basics of surviving in the wilderness. The instructors are both really knowledgeable, and even if you've backpacked before, you can probably learn something new," he said. "It's actually good to learn everything you can from different instructors, because you can't be too prepared in the wilderness. Things can go bad pretty quickly. While the class is pretty tame as a real adventure, it's still a great bonding experience, not to mention the fact that you get to see beautiful places."

NMJC's next Backpacking/Camping class will be held July 23-26, during NMJC's Summer Session II. According to Baldwin, the site tentatively selected for that trip is Elbert's Peak, the highest peak in Colorado. For more information, please contact John Baldwin at or 575.492.2742.

Gila Wilderness Trip Photo Gallery (160 Images)

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