Wilderness TREK : F.A.Q.
The logistical questions below are some of those most commonly asked by Wilderness TREK families. The answers provided explain how to get the most out of your wilderness orientation experience. Please bring this list and your trip equipment list with you to UVM!
When are the dates for TREK?
August 17-22, 2013
When and where does registration take place? What will the move-in process look like?
You will need to register for TREK on Saturday August 17th between 7 and 8:30am. Please try to arrive at the earlier end of this time slot. Arriving early will help the whole day run smoother. We've enclosed a map to make arrival on campus a little easier. Check-in for the TREK program will be on the 3rd floor of the Dudley H. Davis Center located on Main Campus. Look for TREK leaders wearing matching T-shirts! Please do NOT arrive earlier than 7am. The building will not be accessible.
Check-in procedure requires:
- Referencing all paperwork to make certain it is on file.
- Assigning you to your group.
- Checking out your keys to your room. We will need to keep a driver's license, UVM Student ID, or credit card on file to make sure they are returned when finished!
- Gear for your trip will need to be inventoried and checked by TREK leaders.
It should take roughly 30 minutes to check in. To make this process run smoothly, we've enclosed a detailed list of the equipment you will need for your trip. You MUST HAVE everything on the list. If you have all appropriate gear when you arrive, check-in will go quickly.
Note on Move-in: While we appreciate the travel efforts your family is making to come to Vermont early, under no circumstances are students participating in the TREK program able to access their rooms before the day TREK begins.
What happens if I arrive late?
Prior to Group Departure: When contacted in advance, we are typically able to accommodate families unable to make the check-in deadline on the morning of TREK arrival. We'll happily work with TREK families to create a plan regarding: 1) issuing and returning of keys after established move-in hours 2) opportunity for TREK leaders to help late Trekkies inventory gear and receive their portion of group gear and food (Wilderness TREK only) and 3) connecting them with their other group members.
After Groups Have Departed: TREK families will assume all responsibility for transporting students late for TREK, to their program groups, in cases where departure from campus has already occurred. Accommodation will only be possible in cases where: 1) locating group is possible 2) the timeline for connecting with the group will not negatively impact experience and/or designated travel timetable and 3) significant inconvenience or endangering to TREK leaders, staff or other students is not a concern.
Parking for Drop-off & Registration
TREK families are asked to park vehicles in designated parking areas only. The Jeffords Center lot is in close proximity to the Davis Center. You will be able to park your car in that lot while you check in on Saturday. The entrance to the Davis Center that is most visible from this lot will be the entrance you want to use to get to check-in. Anyone requiring overnight parking will need to move their vehicles to the Gutterson Garage off of Spear Street and will need to make arrangements with Parking and Transportation Services to obtain a permit.
IMPORTANT PARKING NOTE: You will not be permitted to leave your car on the oval in front of the east entrance to the Davis Center. This area must be kept clear to allow space for the buses transporting TREK students to line up in front of the building.
Because of travel plans, I need to arrive early. Can I stay on campus on Friday night (August 16th)?
Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate students who need to come early for TREK. While we appreciate the travel efforts you and your family is making to come to Vermont early, under no circumstances are students participating in TREK able to access their rooms before the day TREK begins. There are many hotels in the area offering affordable accommodation. See the list of hotels on the website.
How will moving into my room work?
After you drop off your gear on Saturday, August 17th, you will receive your residence hall key. At that time, you will be able to unload belongings into your room or a secure location. (See next question in regards to your room being under construction) We know you'll be eager to unpack and fix your room the way you like it, but it is imperative that you return to the Dudley H. Davis Center by 10am for the start of the program. When you return from TREK on the 22nd, you will have that evening and the whole next day to finished getting things set up the way you like them. All other first year students will be moving in on the 23rd, so you'll actually be ahead of them!
Will I be able to drop my belongings off in my permanent room?
Due to the summer construction schedule, there is a chance that your permanent room will not be accessible on Saturday, August 17th. If that is the case for you, Res Life staff will identify a secure storage area for your belongings until you return from TREK on Thursday, August 22nd. At that point you will move into your actual room.
Should my family come back on Thursday the 22nd or Friday the 23rd to help me move in, unpack, and just generally settle in?
It all depends. They certainly do not have to; you'll be well moved in and will have plenty of time on Thursday night and all day Friday to get things set up. It can be tricky with family coming on Thursday because there is no way to know exactly when you'll be back from your trip on Thursday. Thursday night, you'll be busy at the TREK Re-entry Barbecue, though they can meet you there at 4pm.
Can my family stay longer on Saturday, August 17th and finish moving my stuff into my room/setting up my room while I go on TREK?
No. You will need to turn in your room keys before you leave for TREK. Your family is not allowed to go back to your room or stay in your room.
How can my family/friends contact me during TREK?
In case of emergency, family members can call the Student Life Office (802-656-2060) to send along a message to the TREK student.
Why do I need to submit a medical form? What if I have allergies or other conditions requiring medication or field based treatment?
To ensure your safety, we need to be aware of all medical conditions past and present, specifically those that arise between the time you submit your medical form and the beginning of TREK. If you become ill or are injured leading up to TREK, please call to let us know. Though you may be healthy enough to participate, it may make sense for us to place you on a less demanding or less remote route. We also encourage you to call with any concerns regarding, food or dietary restrictions. In order to accommodate food allergies or other dietary restrictions (vegans included here!) we need to know of them well in advance of your arrival. For Trekkies currently on medication for psychological conditions (ADD/ADHD, depression etc.), expect to receive a follow-up phone call to assess necessary field accommodations. Remember: No problem is too small to discuss. A small conversation before TREK will avoid potentially larger problems in the field. All medical information is confidential and will be shared only with your leader team.
Because I completed the TREK Registration Form (which included a thorough medical history), does that mean I don't have to complete the UVM Center for Health and Wellbeing Health History Form?
No. These are two different offices, two different forms, and two different purposes. All incoming students are required to complete the other health form, which can be downloaded from www.uvm.edu/~chwb.
Why do I have to provide my own personal equipment? Where can I find these items at greatest savings?
Shopping via discount wilderness equipment company catalogs online can save a significant amount of time and money. Particularly recommended with price, quality, selection and dependability in mind are local gear outfitters here in Vermont:
Outdoor Gear Exchange: based in Burlington is co-owned by former UVM Outing Club president Mike Donohue '97. Mike and his crew are offering all Wilderness TREK participants a 10% discount on top of their unbeatable closeout prices. In addition, they have designed a special Trek section on their web page (www.gearx.com/uvmtrek) where Trekkies can find packing lists for their specific program and recommendations with prices for each item indicated. The OGE crew can save you money on shipping by packing your order for pick-up when you arrive on the morning of TREK registration!
Other nationwide web-based catalog companies & retailers known for savings and quality include: The Sierra Trading Post, REI, Campmor, and LLBean.
How should I pack my gear?The better you pack your gear, the more space you will have to fit incidentals and the easier it will be to find things while on expedition. You will be packing differently and using a different packing list for each of the Wilderness TREK programs. Hiking and Canoeing programs require participants have a backpack with at least a 5,000 cubic inch capacity. Kayaking, Biking and Climbing programs require duffel/dry bags and/or daypacks. Here are some tips for conserving backpack space:
- If purchasing a new pack, understand the implications of proper fit given your torso dimensions. When able, shop comparatively and test drive packs (when full) in the store. Talk to sales people about the intended use of your pack and listen carefully to recommendations. A good pack is a considerable investment and will be part of your life for years to come whether used in the woods or while traveling.
- Line the stuff sack for your sleeping bag with one of your plastic bags. Now stuff your sleeping bag in the garbage bag and barrel lock the stuff sack. This will help to keep your bag dry in damp and rainy weather.
- If you have an internal frame pack, put your sleeping bag in the bottom. If you have an external frame pack, you will likely need to strap your sleeping bag outside (under the pack compartment, strapped to the metal frame). Waterproof pack covers aren't mandatory but are nice in wet weather!
- After packing your sleeping bag, line the inside of your pack with a heavy-duty garbage bag or pack liner. If you roll your clothes or simply stuff them when packing, you will be able to fit more in!
- Pack personal items, eating utensils and other necessities toward the top of your pack. If you have outside pockets, using them will help keep you organized!
- Water bottles should be packed in an easily accessible location. If you are allergic to bees or use an inhaler, please keep your medication in an easily accessible location.
Can I have a cell phone during TREK?No. The use of cell phones during TREK causes significant problems in group dynamics, the group's ability to achieve tasks and goals, and individual students' ability to focus. Phones distract from the group and prevent them from being fully present in the TREK experience. Thus, we ask that students not bring cell phones. Some family members, however, find great security in the ability to stay connected with their student while on TREK. Some want a regular update or report on the happenings of the week or want to know that they can get in contact with their student in the case of emergency. Indeed, there are many reasons for wanting to stay connected and for bringing a cell phone to TREK. However, I ask that you refrain from bringing or planning to use a cell phone during TREK. If there is an emergency, the TREK leaders will have cell phones to use to call for help. Additionally, family members can call the Student Life Office (802-656-2060) to send along a message to the TREK student. In this age of connectedness, I know it can be unusual to not stay in contact with others, but that is precisely what makes TREK unique and so powerful for students. Please do not bring your cell phone!
Will you provide us with a bike for Biking TREK?Biking TREK participants will either need to bring their own bike or they can rent them for an additional fee of $100. Bikes can be a touring bike, mountain bike, or hybrid but needs to be a minimum of 18 speeds. The form for renting a bike is on the Biking TREK Acceptance Packet Webpage.
What does the first and last day of Wilderness TREK look like for participants and family?After checking in, you will be on your own for move-in to your assigned room. TREK leaders will be at the residence halls to assist with move-in and give direction. TREK officially kicks off with a mandatory group introduction at 10:15am on the steps of the Davis Center. We will go through a quick program outline, introduce leader teams then divide into groups. If you are late for this meeting you will leave 200 other TREKKIES waiting just for you! Groups return from TREK trips in the afternoon on Thursday, August 25th. After cleaning and returning group gear, you will have time to return to your residence hall to shower and relax. Your room keys will be waiting at the front desk. If you're planning to meet your family after returning from your trip, it would be best to do so at the TREK barbecue at the Davis Center at 4pm.
How physically challenging are TREK programs and what should I do to prepare?All TREK travel itineraries are designed to be physically challenging but planned with success in mind. The better shape you are in, the more enjoyable your TREK experience will be. Here are some suggestions for arriving properly prepared.
- Take a walk, jog or bike for thirty minutes a day (starting in June or July).
- Wear your hiking boots around the house or on walks. If you have brand new boots, the chance of getting blisters on the trail is 100%. To prevent this, wear your boots periodically prior to TREK. You and your group mates will definitely appreciate your effort!
- Load your pack with clothes, books or rocks and wear it on hikes. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with your new backpack. Your pack may weigh close to fifty pounds during TREK.
What happens if students choose to leave TREK?There are typically 3 circumstances in which Trekkies leave our program: 1) evacuation due to accident, illness or injury 2) a family emergency arises or 3) students experiencing significant motivation issues and/or physical challenges ask to leave their group. While this is rarely the case, please be aware of the physical & emotional demands of the TREK program you choose. In cases of student injury or family emergency, TREK staff will work with families to arrange appropriate treatment and/or transportation home. Families are responsible for all cost incurred to transport students from Burlington or will need to make local lodging and food arrangements. Families of TREK students who leave the field for whatever reason are financially & logistically responsible for creating alternative lodging and eating options for their student. While residence hall rooms may be accessed, there is no residence hall staff supervision or food service available until the final day of TREK. There are no refunds available to students needing to leave TREK, regardless of circumstance.
How many other TREK participants will there be?There will be approximately 145 other students in the Wilderness TREK program. There will be additional 40 students in the other TREK programs (Leadership and Community Service). As a Wilderness TREKKIE, you'll travel with 8 other students in your group, 2 leaders and a guide if you are climbing, biking or sea kayaking.
What kind of weather can I expect? Do I really need to bring all of the warm clothes on the packing list?The weather can be harsh in the New England mountains...even in August! YOU REALLY DO NEED all of the gear recommended on our clothing and equipment list! You can count on a couple of wet, chilly, windy days and nights with temperatures near freezing. Although it is summer, a fleece hat and gloves are required. For those on the water sea kayaking and canoeing, cold air temperatures combined with wind and rain provides perfect hypothermia conditions. Remember: there is no such thing as bad weather, only poorly prepared people!
What kind of food will I be eating on TREK? Are there accommodations that can be made for vegetarians and vegans?Food is love while on TREK! The sample menu below will give you a good idea of what to expect...all food is vegetarian except for pepperoni provided for lunches. If you have food any allergies, are kosher or have other dietary restrictions please call us so we can discuss alternatives. The following are representative items that go out with every TREK trip: powdered milk, cocoa, salsa, cheese, tortillas, pasta, sauce, parmesan, trail mix, granola, oatmeal, 7-grain cereal, rice & veggies, chili, macaroni & cheese, bagels, dried fruit, raisins, tang & lemonade powder, hard candy, tuna, pita bread, soup mixes, brown sugar, butter, apples, oranges & pepperoni.
What is the TREK policy on cancellation and refunds?Due to the demand for available spots on Wilderness TREK trips, our cancellation policy is strict. Cancellations made before the registration deadline (July 1, 2013) will be fully refunded. Cancellations made between July 1-July 18 will be refunded 50%. No refunds will be given after July 18, 2013. After August 1st, 2013 refunds are not guaranteed and only granted at the discretion of the TREK Directors and our ability to fill vacated spaces.
Any last minute tidbits I should consider before coming?There are always a few things to keep in mind!
- Group assignments are not completed until early August. We ask that you do not phone us with specific questions about your group or travel itinerary. We are always happy, however, to answer general questions and deal with your concerns.
- Your arrival back to UVM will happen Thursday evening. Campus food service will be available Friday morning only to students with CATcard points or cash. If you have a block meal program the first available time to apply this, will be at dinner.
- If you are a financial aid recipient and reserved a sleeping bag or backpack and find you no longer need it, PLEASE call to let us know. We have far more requests for gear than we can fill. The availability of packs and bags may be a limiting factor for some participants.
- If for some reason you cannot arrive at UVM by 8:30 on Saturday morning...please call to make sure that we know (802.656.2060)! Vital information is exchanged during check-in. Failure to communicate will create a logistical challenge for everyone involved.
Last modified February 20 2013 11:34 AM