Ask C-Mass

Caden Massey

“How was the Hells Canyon Institute class? Would you recommend it to a friend?” ~ Ryan H.

Great question Ryan! I am more than happy to talk about my experience in the class.

Prior to the actual trip that every[1]one hears about, you will have to do a semester worth of classes. These are typically on Fridays from 9-11:45, but on occasion you will get out early.

During this time you will likely feel like you are doing a lot of filler work, which is understandable, but most of it contributes to a greater understanding of the trip.

It seems somewhat confusing and out of place from normal like, but it will all make sense when you get there.

Before the trip, you will have a handful of outside activities to get you acclimated to what to expect. This year we went to a place downriver on the Snake and took a trip down Highway 12 up the Clearwater River.

The trip itself is worth the work you have to put into it. You will visit historical sites with different instructors that specialize in different things.

For example, we met up with Keagan Schmidt to discuss the geological significance of Hells Canyon.

I won’t spoil it for you, but it is very interesting and if you know what to look for, you will actually see the how the rocks formed.

There are a ton of other things you learn in the canyon like: art, Native American history, Chinese history, yoga, politics, ecological issues, bot[1]any, and mining history.

My experience was overall pretty good. I learned a lot and had a fair amount of free time to explore the place we were staying at.

The people in charge of where you stay are very nice people. They are old fashioned and full of life. They have semi-domesticated a turkey named Claw and he will eat crackers out of your hands.

The cooking is great, and they are more than happy to dish up seconds. The boat captains and deckhand are very kind folk and like to engage with the students as well.

While I was there, I walked about 20 miles. Most of that was voluntary, so if you aren’t big on hiking, I wouldn’t fear. Physically I have become darker.

I got a really nice tan. I also got in some better shape from all the hiking. I also got a few bumps and bruises. It was nice to get some exercise for a good reason.

I like feeling like I have a goal when I work out, and what better goal than climbing a mountain?

In terms of wildlife, be respectful of space. Some animals don’t particularly like when you get in their way, so just be diligent.

The bull snakes are plentiful, but they probably won’t bother you, and even if they do it will be alright. They are more scared of you than you are of them. There will also be owls, frogs, deer, and probably some mountain goats. Make sure to bring a camera.

Lastly, I would advise bringing a pair of flip-flops. Just trust me on that one.

So Ryan, to answer your question, I would recommend this class to a friend.

If you or any other friends have any questions for me, feel free to email me at [email protected], or slip it under my door in the SUB. Have a good summer!